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.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


I don’t suppose many people go to see movies in search of “great walking scenes.”  Even I don’t do that.  But if a movie happens to contain the odd great walking scene, then so much the better.

And so it is with Seven Psychopaths, which I saw at the weekend, a movie that’s so in love with itself it’s actually rather hard to love, but which has its climax in Joshua Tree National Park.  The director has a casual disregard for distances and proximity (it’s that kind of movie, and I have no complaints on that score), but any movie that has both Colin Farrell and Christopher Walken tramping through the desert void is OK by me.

A couple of hours after I’d seen the movie I encountered a hot and bothered young woman walking along the street, flustered, apparently lost, and she asked me urgently which way was Hillhurst Avenue.  I pointed her in the right direction.
“Is it far?” she asked.
“Yes,” said, “it’s a bit of a walk.”
I didn’t specify how far.   It was probably a mile and a half, and she didn’t look like much of a walker but I didn’t want to jump to conclusions.
“Oh my fucking LIFE!” she said, to nobody in particular, certainly not to me, and walked on.  Well, I didn’t expect to be thanked …