My husband and I took a trip to LA in order to visit our friends Ben and Sarah. We went camping. One of our excursions was to Pioneertown – an old Western town motion picture set, which was built in the 1940s. It was very odd strolling down a deserted Mane Street (their spelling, not mine). Somehow it was a rare amalgamation of history and history-making. It felt more like a 1940s idealisation of the Wild West than the Wild West itself.

The town also reminded me of the German writer Karl May, who was very successful writing about the adventures of Winnetou and Old Shatterhand in the Old Wild West. Though he did travel to the United States in 1908 he never made it beyond Niagara Falls. I think he would have appreciated the make-believe of Pioneertown.