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, April 2, 2014


And sometimes you just go for a walk.  I had 45 minutes or so to kill, so I decided to walk along a bit Sunset Boulevard from the Crossroads of the World, where my wife works (nobody seems very sure whether crossroads is one word or two). down as far as the Off Broadway Shoe Warehouse (quite a long way off Broadway, though not very far from the Crossroads of the World) and then walk back again, skirting Hollywood High School and popping into the newish cactus nursery.

The Crossroads of the World, by some accounts, was America’s first shopping mall, built in 1936, a collection of “programmatic” buildings in slightly exotic faux styles; a continental village, a middle eastern building one central structure shaped like a boat.

I understand that in a philosophical and indeed geographic sense, the center of the universe is wherever you happen to be, so every crossroads might be the crossroads at the center of the world, except that these particular Crossroads of the World aren’t at a crossroads at all.  See - at best it’s at a couple of T junctions:

Not far away, a foot clinic, which every walker might need one of these days, this one sheltering in the shadow of a giant ad for American Apparel, the model apparently not much of a walker.

And so along past Hollywood High.  I never know whether it’s supposed to be a good school or a bad school, but it’s a cool building, and obviously they having resources, including a sports field right in the middle of Hollywood, which means some prime real estate. 

It also has some famous alumni: Fay Wray, Lon Chenay Junior, Mickey Rooney, Cher, Terry Richardson.  Not Shakespeare, but that doesn’t stop him getting his name on the building.

And so to the shoe warehouse, which used to have a rather fetishy red high heel on the side of the building but I see that’s gone now.  And yep, I unexpectedly found myself buying a new pair of walking boots.   My old pair have done great service but now the soles are worn smooth and create the occasional probable when struggling up rocky trails.  The new boots are Eddie Bauer, and they claimed to be 60 per cent off, so a triumph all round.  And the real triumph: having bought the boots, this was a walk that would enable me to continue walking, and to walk better.

Oh, and the cactus place is selling this thing below: a faux cactus, a Hollywood cactus.  I’m still not quite sure how I feel about that.

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