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, June 8, 2016


I like this.  It’s from Sweet William, by Richmal Crompton, who is one of the very few, possibly the only, author I read in my childhood that I can still read today.  It’s from a chapter titled “Pensions for Boys":
     “William walked down the road, whistling his loud untuneful whistle and kicking a suitably-sized stone from side to side.  He wasn’t going anywhere in particular, so it didn’t matter when he got there.  Even if he had been going anywhere in particular it wouldn’t have made any difference.  William considered it waste of time to walk straight along a road.  If there weren’t stones to kick, there were ditches and hedges to investigate, trees to climb …”

It’s the whistling that gets me.  Whistling while walking is supposedly a sign of innocence, but it always comes over as a sign of guilt.  Now I’m not sure if small boys do much whistling anymore, although I know that Bart Simpson does: 

I can’t believe that Matt Groening ever read the Just William books but Bart and William are clearly brothers under the skin.

And they’re both some kin of Felix the Cat, the walking, whistling feline.  I like to think I’m some kin too.

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