I experienced a Spinal Tap moment today at the Coffee Bean on Wilshire and 9th Street in Santa Monica. The guy behind me on line looked exactly like Spinal Tap guitarist Nigel Tufnel. He was fortyish, with Nigel’s exact haircut (nicked from Jeff Beck), yellow ostrich boots, black jeans, dark blazer, and Celtic pendant. He also looked to be wearing make-up. It was an only-in-L.A. aging rock musician look left over from the 80’s. But the funny part wasn’t that he looked like Nigel Tufnel, because, y’know, respect for that. The funny part was that he acted like Nigel Tufnel.
He shuffled over to the barista with Ozzie Osborne’s steadiness. His obvious neurological damage could have been naturally caused, but it seemed to me that he had spent his 80’s partaking in a bit too much partay-ing on the Sunset Strip, maybe as a musician at The Whisky. Then he gave his order:
Nigel: I would like an iced soy latte, with crushed ice. The ice has to be crushed.
Barista: Sorry, all we have is regular ice cubes.
Nigel: (long pause) (blank stare) Can’t you crush them?
Or perhaps he was another type of L.A. icon, the actor in character and costume, deep in method. If that’s the case, quick, get an agent and sign this guy up, because he was gooooood.