Drifting and striding, in Hollywood and elsewhere, with Geoff Nicholson - author of The Lost Art of Walking, and Walking in Ruins withcholson, author of Toff Nidrifting and stomping withcholson, author of The Lost Art of Walking, considers the narrower and wider shores of obsessive pedestrianism.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

THE THINGS YOU SEE ...

And speaking of Bronson Canyon (as I was when discussing walking to the Batcave a couple of posts back), yesterday afternoon a severed head was found there.


Of course we all occasionally find strange things when we’re out walking.  I once found a large knife by the side of the road, big ugly blade, handle wrapped in duct tape.  It looked a lot like a murder weapon.  I still have it: comes in handy once in a while. 

There’s a Will Self column where he talks about finding a red plastic dildo while on one of his walks, and my friend Joanna Moriarty claims to have found a finely carved wooden dildo while out walking, on vacation in Germany.  She didn’t bring it home with her, which strikes me as a mistake.  Certainly it used to be pretty common to find dirty magazines while out walking, stashed in hedges or behind walls, presumably by people who for one reason or another were unwilling to have them in the house.  That seems to happen a lot less these days: I blame the internet.


And of course you see dead animals all the time.  I was out for a walk one morning in Yucca Valley and I came across this row of dead raccoons.  I don’t know how they were killed: they didn’t seem to have a mark on them, and although I know raccoons can be pests, I’m not sure I could easy kill one.

And of course when you’re out walking in the city you regularly see guys lying around in the street unconscious, and you assume they’re drunk or drugged, but you do sometimes wonder if they might be dead.

This afternoon they found a couple of severed hands and feet to go along with the head in Bronson Canyon, and the current thinking is that the person wasn’t killed and dismembered in the park: the deed was done elsewhere, the park used as a convenient dumping ground.  This is somehow reassuring.

The severed head was found by a couple of professional dogwalkers: dogs just love the scent of human remains it seems, and I suppose that’s why you so often read about bodies and body parts being found by people walking their dogs.  In more out of the way places such finds are more usually attributed to “hikers.”  Just once I’d like to read that “the body was found by a psychogeographer” or “the severed head was discovered by a flaneur.”  I guess I’m just going to have to get out more.

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