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 Saltaire. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Saltaire. Show all posts

Monday, June 19, 2017


There’s a commercial currently running on American TV for the Ford Edge – a vehicle about which I have no opinion for or against.  The narrative of the ad has a guy missing his wife, who appears to be away on a business trip, so he gets in his car and  drives a long way, possibly a thousand miles, to surprise his wife in her hotel room.

Anyway, a banal enough story.  Things are improved somewhat by the music – the Proclaimers’ “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” a good song to be sure, but did nobody at Ford or their ad agency ever listen to the effin lyrics?

But I would walk 500 miles
And I would walk 500 more
To be the man who walked a thousand miles
To fall down at your door

It’s about walking, you clowns!  Not about driving an effin Ford Edge or anything else!
Hold that thought.

A few years back me and my Yorkshire psychogeographic pal Steve went from his house in Sheffield to Saltaire (in a Skoda rather than a Ford) to see the David Hockney gallery there, in Salt's Mill.  

And afterwards we wandered the streets of the town and went down by the river and into the park, and as we were walking Steve came down with something very unpleasant, a stomach thing, I think. But he was very stoic, and then we drove home to Steve’s house – more like 50 miles than 1000.

And when we got home, Steve’s stoicism slipped and he submitted to whatever was ailing him.  Meanwhile, it just so happened that the Proclaimers were playing in the Sheffield Botanic Gardens – a place I used to walk many a lunchtime when they let us out of the big bad grammar school I went to.

There was a bit of a sunset that night in Sheffield and from Steve’s backyard you could watch the sky and listen to the music drifting across the hills, and soon enough it came

But I would walk 500 miles
And I would walk 500 more

By which time Steve looked as though he’d struggle to walk from one side of the yard to the other.