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.

Friday, May 8, 2015


Look, I try to say this all the time, whenever I’m called upon to pontificate about walking and psychogeography and whatnot.  I try to say, “Most of us in the West have some kind of choice about whether or not we walk. It may not exactly be an indulgence, and it’s obviously not a bad thing, but really you know, there are people in this world, most of them women, who have to walk twenty odd miles a day just to get water and they have no choice about it whatsoever.”

Not that this needs any confirming but above is a photograph (I actually first saw it on Cat Power’s Instagram feed) from a recent French marathon.  The runners run, the woman, from Gambia apparently, named Siabatou Sanneh, walks with a jerrycan of water on her head and a kind of sandwich board that says pretty much what I always I says, “In Africa, women travel this distance everyday to get potable water."  The runners also appear to be getting sprayed with water, which hammers home the message even harder.

My French is less than perfect, but I do like the word “parcourir.”  It doesn’t just mean walk or travel, but also, as I understand it, has the sense of to tour, voyage, roam, range.  Also I suppose it’s the root of the word parkour (something I like a lot so long as I don't have to do it), as in the picture below of picture of David Belle, the founder of the parkour movement. 

That’s some fancy walking you’re doing there Dave, why not make it really hard for yourself and keep a jerrycan of water on your head while you’re doing it?

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