So if you’d have read part 1 of this 2 part page turning thriller (and if you haven’t why not? You can make up by reading it here) I’m sure the first question that enters your mind is ‘why the feck did he go back to LA ’. And that answer my friend I’m hoping to flesh out a little here coz as a mate of mine always says ‘bloody hell Matt Ryan why are things with you never that straight forward?’
Once the decision to move back to UK from LA in 2016 was made (new baby on the way being the main reason among others) my wife was keen to live in London (this is another long story which I won’t bore you with now). We stuck a pin in a map and found a place in Walthamstow. The longer term plan was to sell our house in Manchester to buy in London but after viewing a shoe box in the arse end of shitsville with an E17 postcode that was up for sale for FOUR HUNDRED GRAND we decided that Manchester and its 360 days of rain per annum was a better option. So we went from Manchester to LA, then LA to London and finally London back to Manchester. All in the space of 2 years. Now with 2 small kids. Yes we must be mad. But life is short etc. I digress.
Once back in sunny Manc Land I got an email asking if I could run a Mysore Programme the traditional method of teaching Ashtanga Yoga, back in LA for a month as the teacher wanted to take some time off. A small interjection here, I don’t really consider myself a yoga teacher to be honest – I’ve been teaching and practicing for over 20 odd years and it still feels a bit weird to call myself a yoga teacher. But contorting people’s bodies into pretzel yoga postures was something I felt I was ok at – there was enough noise from yoga students who agreed. So that was that. Well not quite that. Initially we were just going for a month , but then this snowballed into 3 months, then 6, then fuck it lets just move back full time. We still had our visas which were good to go for another 12 months. My wife asked her bosses who had originally agreed for us to move to LA from Manchester , then agreed for us to move from LA to London then agreed for us to move back to Manchester and finally back to LA again – she’s well thought of –let’s leave it at that. And boom just like that we were back in LA baby! Well not quite…
So as I mentioned in the opening paragraph everything with me is never straight forward – and moving back to LA turned into a long winded well more of a full on gale fecking nightmare- it actually deserves its own blog. So once we’d made the decision to go back (to LA) my wife’s work insisted we get new visas even though the ones we had were still valid. This involved going through the pain in the ass process of going to the US embassy in London (with both small kids) getting a drilling from the immigration nazis and getting our passports stamped and visas issued, for a second time. Actually apart from the schlep from Manchester to London it was all rather painless – we had our new visas green lighted, gave our passports to the Embassy so they could organise sticking the visas in and booked our flights. Also with the new visas in the bag we signed off on our house in Manchester being rented out. 5 days later the nightmare started to unroll. My wife had an email from the Embassy which said her and the kids passports now had the visas inserted and were being posted back by special delivery. I didn’t get an email – which was a bit weird but I thought nothing of it – well not until 24 hours later when I got an email from the Embassy saying even though I’d had my visa ‘issued’ the application was now in fact subject to their new ‘administrative processing’. Eh WTF? We called the immigration lawyer who had handled all the paperwork – ‘don’t worry about it’ he said ‘I’ll have it sorted in a few days’ he said and of course he didn’t. He sent an email to the Embassy..
My clients were issued American Visas via your US Embassy in London 5 days ago – upon being issued their visas my clients signed a legal contract to rent out their house and bought non-refundable flight tickets to USA. You have now put Mr Ryan’s visa into your Administrative Processing scheme which means the family can no longer travel to the US. Mr & Mrs Ryan and their 2 small children now have nowhere to live given their property is now contractually leased out and will not be able to change or get their flights refunded. They have also paid an extortionate amount of money for a deposit on an apartment in Los Angeles that they will also have to pay monthly rent for whilst neither of them are working. I know the US is being run by an orange almighty cretinous excuse for a human being but surely you can do better than this …
-ok these are not the exact words of his email – but you get the gist as to the shit show we were now in..
And here is the email back from the Embassy –
Your clients might be experiencing some inconvenience at this time ….(this is the exact first line of their email)
Yep on the money there with my family not having anywhere to live being ‘inconvenient’- heartless bar stewards. I wanted to go protest and sleep (with the kids) on the Embassy steps but the wife wouldn’t let me.
The immigration lawyer said he’d sort it within a few weeks so we decided that Lina and Easy (my son who was one at the time) would fly to LA whilst Boo (daughter who had just turned four) would go live out of a suitcase at my sister’s place in Stockport – after all it would only be for a few weeks right? 3 months later I kid you not, and during this time Lina had flew back from LA and we’d all gone to live with a friend in Huddersfield (big house more room for us all)my visa was finally issued. I wasn’t best pleased as you could imagine in fact a few times I lost my shit and wanted to sack the whole thing, but my wife insisted we go so we did.
So at this point I could go on and on about the various minutiae (read inane drivel) of a second rate Yoga teacher’s life in Los Angeles but I’ll spare you that and hit you with a few highlights..
The time I nearly taught Ozzy Osbourne Yoga.
When I got the call from Ozzy’s PA* (personal assistant) that he wanted to book some private yoga lessons I thought YES Matt Ryan Yoga has finally arrived in La La Land. Well that’s not actually what I thought, to be honest I knew I’d be teaching him for one maybe two lessons and that would be that but still I could ‘dine out’ on the fact that I’d taught the King of Darkness yoga for the rest of my life. You see I’ve taught A listing celebrities before and usually this plays out something like this –first they see other A listers in the press waxing lyrical about their new health / fitness regime so they think I’ll have a bit of that – they then do the ‘all the gear no idea’ trip and buy all the top of the range kit do it once then sack it all off and move onto something else, rinse and repeat. So according to Ozzy’s PA- Mr.O had recently experienced goat yoga (lord shoot me down, insert eyes rolling emoji) and now wanted to try it without the twinkle toed balancing bovids. A date was put in the diary and I set about googling ‘Goats for Hire’ just as a contingency in case he didn’t like my yoga teaching patter- I just hoped he had a better relationship with goats then he did with bats. The day before I was due to teach the lesson I got a text from the PA ..’ so sorry Ozzy has got a bit of a cold can we move the session to next week’ hhhmm I thought that’s a bit disappointing but still next week will be ok. Then the next week another text ‘ so sorry Ozzy has got an urgent meeting with Sharon can we move the session to next week’ then the week after that ‘so sorry Ozzy has got an ingrowing toe nail can we move the session to next week’ this went on for a few more weeks and any hopes of ‘private yoga instructor to Ozzy Osbourne’ being added to my CV were becoming non-existent. So now I’m dining out, well maybe sharing a packet of crisps with ‘the guy who nearly taught Ozzy Osbourne Yoga’ gig.
Mr.Marichy D and Madame Backbender
Being a Mysore teacher is pretty cool and pretty weird at the same time – it’s quite an intimate way of teaching where every day you’d get up close and personal with students as you pretzel them into various yoga postures, getting to know their bodies and which specific adjustments they need more so than getting to know the actual person. Mr.Marichy D AKA Kenny was a super cool dude – he’d rock up to the studio on his vintage racer bike every day and then bust through the primary series stopping at Marichyasana D so that I could use literally both my hands and feet to get him binding into the posture. The whole process was a daily beautiful mess work of art- which was pretty ironic when I found out a little more about just who Kenny was (famous street artist bezzie mates with Keith Haring & Jean-Michel Basquiat).
Madame Backbender AKA Nina was probably one of the most intense students at the studio- not one for suffering fools – or for crap adjustments either. Every day I had to have my adjustment wits about me when helping her out. She’d been trying for ages to drop back / lift up in the backbending sequence with not much joy. Enter Matt Ryan and his unique non-traditional** backbending skills born on the rainy streets of Manchester. Within a few short weeks I had Madame BB dropping back and coming back up – the first time she lifted up on her own was met with cheers from the studio crowd, a beaming smile from Nina and a high five with the teacher (moi!) I have to say these moments as a teacher make all the sweat blood and tears you put into helping students all worth it. Nina and I can became great friends during my stay in LA – an amazing person and an incredible film maker – watch out for her documentary film Brainwashed coming out next year.
MC Matt Ryan
I’d met Shaun in a play area in Culver City – we were both there with our kids (#obvs.). His daughter Sariah became best friends with my daughter Boo and we’d meet each week to hang out, chat and let the kids tire themselves out in the hope they’d go to sleep that night without having to add whisky to their bedtime milk (ok that’s an obvious joke). I’d hit Shaun with (what I thought was) my encyclopedic knowledge of US Hip Hop and what was good and what wasn’t. It took until about 6 months in to our regular hang outs before he had to stop me to let me know he was actually an MC with four albums to his name and I didn’t know ‘shiiit’ about Hip Hop ( in a nice mates poking fun kinda way). I turned my attention to New Order and The Smiths.
Unfortunately my last few months in LA were spent locked in a shoe box apartment with parks and beaches all closed due to the pandemic. I wrote more about that here if you want the gory details. On May 28th of this year we all flew back to UK to conclude our Californian adventure – and at this moment there are no plans to go back, but you never know with me as things are never quite that straight forward.
*So I’d known Paul Ozzy’s PA from when he booked me to teach Russell Brand who he’d previously worked for and despite what I said above about celebs and yoga, Mr. Brand was proper into it and had a fairly decent Ashtanga practice. I’d like to say that Russell was full of top bantz and stuff but t.b.h. I used to rock up put him through his yoga paces then naff without too much chat.
** Not one for blowing my own trumpet but I have to say what I think sets me apart from other Mysore teachers is that I am not confined to the rather ridiculous notion of ‘traditional adjustments’ ie adjustments created in Mysore or the silly insistence on a militaristic mythological ‘correct method’.