I’m grateful for the new pub, and on a Sunday afternoon my wife, two sons and I will while away a few hours watching soccer on the at-screen TV, drinking a pint or two of the Guinness (not the kids), and maybe eating a lamb roast dinner, or whatever they call it, with those great potatoes and that tasty mint sauce. Lenny, the nine-year-old, is a big fan of Arsenal. Darby, the six-year-old, roots for Manchester United. When a goal is scored the ‘yeahhhh!’ they shout sounds more English than American. Are my wife and I concerned? A little.
See, we don’t get a lot of lamb and ‘football’ here in sunny Malibu. Or rather, we didn’t. But in the past year or two, since 2018, there’s been a whole mess of Britishness. SunLife Organics added shepherd’s pie to their mostly vegan menu. The ‘Union Jack’ section at Vintage Grocers seems to get bigger every time I pass it. The new boutique hotel across from Nobu now does an afternoon tea with scones and clotted cream and strawberry jam. Last week’s edition of the Malibu Times reported an accident on the Pacific Coast Highway in which the driver-at-fault, ‘a London transplant’, was ‘speeding, texting, smoking, and driving on the wrong side of the road.’
I can handle most of it, but the place where I draw the line is in the surf. Point Dume is one of the most sought-after neighbourhoods in the entire USA, and a big part of its allure is the beach key, which grants you access to your own private surf break.You don’t buy a three-bedroom ranch house for $5.5 million only to have your waves stolen by this massive influx of Brits. Last weekend I got dropped in on by an over-friendly guy named Oliver from Cornwall. Just yesterday a whole pack of ’em showed up with rented soft tops from Zuma Jay.
‘Where you from?’ I asked.
‘Shoreditch,’ answered the pinkest of the bunch, cigarette glued to lower lip. ‘Renting a little guest house on high street for the summer. Sure is lovely round here.’
This does not bode well. My neighbours (actors, movie producers, real estate moguls, entertainment lawyers, rock stars, one of whom is in fact British) share my concerns.We’ve started a petition. Officially, it’s titled the ‘Petition for the Regulation of Beach Keyes’. Unofficially, we call it the ‘Let Them Drink Pints and Watch Football, Just Keep ’Em Off Our Waves Mandate’. The plan is to issue beach keys only to US citizens. If that’s too stringent, then make it so you have to have resided in Malibu for at least five years. Point Dume HOA meeting is July 1. Should be a big turnout.