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Questions With A Visitor: Hamish Robertson

Questions with a Visitor: Hamish Robertson

Hamish Robertson is a busy, busy man. He’s an editor at Vanity Fair, runs Brown Griffin, a zine/print publishing company, designs and builds websites, and anything and everything in between. He was in Los Angeles not too long ago for work, which is when we met up with him to speak about what brings him to town and what his relationship with the city is–all over drinks and food at The Lazy Ox Canteen.

What brings you to Los Angeles?

I was in town to speak in the keynote for Adobe’s MAX Expo.

How long were you in town?

Four days. With no car.

What neighborhood did you stay in? What were your thoughts on that part of town?

I stayed Downtown, in a complex called “L.A. Live!”, where the expo was being held. I knew the area a little since my friends run the BabyCakes NYC bakery on 6th and Los Angeles, but I hadn’t explored it too much on foot until this trip. I got to lunch at Wurstküche on E.3rd which was excellent, and I explored the Little Tokyo shopping center which was fun, and my friend Liz works at The Last Bookstore on S. Spring St which is a great space with a beautifully curated collection.

How many times have you visited Los Angeles? What do you think of the city?

I’ve lost count. Maybe 10 times over the last decade, but most of those in the recent years since my day job at Vanity Fair has me out west at least once a year for our Oscar party. As for what I think of the city, I go back and forth rather dramatically on that one. Sometimes I love it but can’t always define why and other times I can’t stand it and long to get back to New York.

What was the best part of your trip?

Other than drinking and conversing with the two of you? Checking out The Last Bookstore was a highlight. This was the third or fourth trip to LA I’ve taken this year and I hadn’t bought a single thing on those trips until The Last Bookstore. Their stock is mostly used books, records, and a really well chosen periodical wall. It’s a good size space but they’ve also edited the books really nicely. I bought a collection of WWII poetry published in Britain in the early 1980s under the Folio edition imprint. It’s printed on a mixture of British khaki and army green stock with a cloth hardcover.

Could you see yourself living here?

I wouldn’t rule anything out but I don’t have plans to move any time soon. I feel I see and do more in one day in New York than I do on whole trips to Los Angeles .. though that’s not always necessarily a good or bad thing. I’m not drawn to Southern California weather, either, and beaches don’t appeal to me, but I would really like to do more hiking next time I visit. LA’s proximity to nature is appealing, and there’s lots to see and do in the surrounding towns and state at large. New York doesn’t have that. I don’t want to see or do anything within hundreds of miles of New York City, or not that isn’t five hours drive away. I’d rather just get on a plane for five hours and go to Reykjavik or Toronto or Montreal … or Europe. That said (see, I’m back and forth!) my absolute favorite place in the world is Japan and California would make that long haul just a shade shorter! So my answer is … TBD!

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