Written by Christopher Isherwood
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The Sixties, 1969
I took him to see the Towers of Watts. They seemed more wonderful than ever—both as spires in the distance and as structures seen from below. They are an absolutely no-shit statement of individualism. You feel, everybody might do something like this in his backyard—and why the hell don’t we all? But the purity of the whole thing consists in the fact that there wasn’t anything else like it anywhere around; it has the purity of a monomaniac’s hobby. (Actually, Simon Rodia did dream of being famous—"I had in mind to do something big, and I did"—but his way of going about it was so fantastic (although, actually, it succeeded) that it still seems like a hobby.)
It was a beautiful afternoon and Watts itself looked anything but a sinister ghetto—so spacious and airy, with its little houses and wide roads; calm and rural, almost, after the teeming freeway.
© 2010 Christopher Isherwood, Don Bachardy; London: Chatto & Windus