Many people perceive the job of a chauffeur in L.A. as glamorous and exciting. As, Max, the jaded, somewhat misanthropic young man in these stories set in 1978 says, "They don't know s**t. ... Maybe it's different now, but I doubt it. When I did it, it was airport pick-ups and drop-offs, catnapping in LAX terminals or the front seat, hanging around the car-barn waiting for a ride, idling in underground garage gas-chambers at some awards show, enduring the boring old Gomers who want to tell you what it was like to drive Jack Dempsey or Betty Grable or some other corpse nobody remembers, and long nights in parking lots behind some restaurant, arena, or concert hall. Very glamorous." If you're looking for beginnings, middles, and ends, don't bother. A driver lives a life of starts and stops, episodes and vignettes, with very few happy endings. Take a ride through Los Angeles with Max in the days of posers, power-brokers, Peruvian "pep rallies," and big-hair bands. (Adult language)
Cricklade, the Anglo-Saxon borough fortified by Alfred against the Danes, is the market town at the heart of this volume. As a notorious rotten borough, its corruption influenced the passing of the 1832 Parliamentary Reform Act. The town and the surrounding parishes described here are bordered by Gloucestershire to the north and Swindon to the East. They extend along the upper Thames valley and over the Wiltshire claylands to the limestone ridge in the south. The royal forest of Braydon covered much of the area in the middle ages and provided extensive grazing for livestock. Although disafforestation took place under Charles I, agricultural exploitation was limited by poor soils and parts were later returned to woodland or nature reserve. The settlements of traditional limestone buildings were remote until canal and rail transport increased trade in dairy products and the expansion of employment opportunities in Swindon resulted in their residential development, and an annexation of a small part of the area by the growing town.
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