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.
Showing posts with label Guy Debord. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Guy Debord. Show all posts

Monday, July 11, 2016


Guy Debord looking for a zone of distinct psychic atmosphere:

Saturday, August 29, 2015


I like big maps, and I cannot lie, and small ones too, and after my little online ramble with Cab Calloway around 1930s Harlem in the last post, I’ve been finding various fascinating and in some cases utterly inscrutable maps.  Generally I like them better the more inscrutable they are.
          Since New Orleans is on everybody’s mind right now, and although I know this isn't  WHY New Orleans is on everybody's mind right now, I was nevertheless knocked out by the beautiful simplicity of this antique map of the French Quarter:

As an Englishman, of course, the grid is essentially unfamiliar to my experience of walking in cities, or was till I moved to the States, but I do think if you’re going to have a grid it should be as grid-like as possible.

The one above – quite grid-free  - is from Popular Map Reading by E.D Laborde, published in 1928, a kind of textbook, and the image is part of a revision test to see how much you’ve learned about map reading.  Admittedly it’s not much of a walking map, but as a visual object I think it sings.  You could also, quite easily, do a walk inspired by or conforming to it.

           And now this one: 

Naturally, the familiar London Tube map by Harry Beck is much used and abused, subverted and appropriated in all kinds of ways, but this seems more fun than many. The notion that Miami is just a few stops away from Jerusalem would no doubt appear to a lot of people, maybe even William Blake.
         That image actually appears in Wikipedia as an illustration to the entry on Psychogeography, and sure I get the general idea of the map but its deeper meaning remains mysterious, which is no doubt the intention.  Maps mean different things to different people, and some are designed to be meaningless to those not in the know.

And OK, if we’re going the Psychogeography route, above is Guy Debord’s map of The Naked City – Paris, cut up, exploded and messed with.  Good luck finding your way with this one, though that is no doubt the “whole point.”   
          Debord's Naked City map is from 1957.   The American TV series Naked City ran from 1958 to 1963.   Were the creators of these two things aware of each other?  I do hope so. 

And perhaps both parties were aware of Weegee’s book also titled Naked City, published in 1945.

And, since I style myself as the Hollywood Walker I should obviously point out that Weegee also published a book, in 1955, titled Naked Hollywood.   Sometimes it seems like all the great titles have already been used.

And life being as it is, I now discover that a website title http://weegeeweegeeweegee.net has made a map of Weegee’s New York – “A map of locations in New York City where Weegee worked, made photographs, lived and loved... organized geographically... downtown to uptown to the outer boroughs and ending at Coney Island... and/or Jersey City... (An experiment and work in progress.)” as they say.  
          You need to go to the website to be able to click on it, but I still like it as an image in itself: