In Which We Stand In The Place Where We Live, Now Face Death

Suicide Colony

by Tess Lynch

Archstone Studio City, aka “Suicide Colony.” I did not know this when I moved there.

“Losing My Edge” — LCD Soundsystem (mp3)

“The New” — Interpol (mp3)

Part One

Let me take you back in time to 2005. I was at Brown, in the miserable never-ending cold, with no good produce to eat and a thesis to write.

All I could think about was moving to Los Angeles, which I’d left with my parents shortly after my high school graduation (leaving fingernail marks on every graspable object on the way to the car); they’d moved to Connecticut, so my visits to L.A. to see my friends were always weird and brief, with lots of sleepovers at any acquaintance’s house so I didn’t outstay my welcome anywhere. I missed it BAD. My friend Allan, who had graduated the year before me, was my accomplice in spending all available time (time that was supposed to be spent doing papers, straight chillin’, or being nostalgic for college, I suppose) apartment-hunting for the cross-country move in June.

Living here would have been a way better call.

I lived off-campus for a year in a really cute but intrinsically dumpy apartment in Providence — I once heard a friend refer to our shared landlord as a “slumlord” because she, if I remember correctly, advised my friend that rats and roaches were “a part of life” — but I loved it.

The bathroom was in the hall, which provided a lot of fodder for locked-out-in-a-towel hilarity; the kitchen was falling apart; bits of plaster ended up in bed with you after falling, like snow, during the night. This is just how your first apartment should be. You love it anyway. It’s like your first child who always winds up in jail but never forgets Mother’s Day.

Personification of first apartment (left)

Personification of Archstone Studio City apartment. ‘Cept he’d drive a really nice car.

“Country Mile” — Camera Obscura (mp3)

“Telephone Line” — ELO (mp3)

So, anyway, I’m not above falling in love with a dumpy apartment.

L.A. has a different thing going on, though, than New England’s dumpdom: everything’s new, so the dilapidated one-bedroom you can find and totally crush on is charmless. Allan’s reporting, with pictures and summaries of his findings, was not encouraging. Every economical one-person pad was really icky. Carpets with lingering stains, missing holes where dishwashers once were. We started to become connoisseurs of apartments, and it was at that point that Allan found Archstone.

I can’t let this vague metaphor go.

When I went to see it with my folks after graduation, we walked into the snazzy lobby and saw this phenomenal model apartment. You could walk to Ralph’s, you could walk to Starbucks, you were in the valley but it was okay because there was a POOL and CENTRAL AIR and you could wash the valley smog off your clothes in your very own in-unit washer-dryer.

It didn’t seem like Hannibal Lecter, it seemed like a mammoth wet dream involving Jude Law covered in diamonds and offering to launder your towels while you sat in pajamas on your sweet-ass balcony sipping mojitos made in your giant kitchen.

My mom and dad loved the 24-hour security (creepy music starts to play so you know that I am foreshadowing here) and the covered garage (dun-dun-dun-DUNNNNN), and we all played the fun “What will life be like when you are living above your means in this giant complex?” game for awhile, before they flew home and I began my lease.

Tess Lynch is the contributing editor to This Recording. She is a writer living in Los Angeles.


to be continued after I take a deep breath, binge, purge, compose myself and post part 2.


Molly teaches you the new slang.

Alex’s post is one of my favorites.

Our Danish-American gangster.

2 thoughts on “In Which We Stand In The Place Where We Live, Now Face Death

  1. this is sam pink, the generator of impersonal electronic communications. thank you for listing my blog on your blog list. i am happy to see it. as happy as when i ate a flower yesterday.

    sam pink

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