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 beachwood. Show all posts
Showing posts with label beachwood. Show all posts

Monday, May 21, 2018


I was walking up Beachwood Drive, which leads to Beachwood Canyon, and used to give pedestrian access to the Hollywood sign, although currently it doesn’t: the neighbors complained - they had a point.  Not that this deters people from driving up there for a “good look” at the sign.

This is, in many ways, absurd. The sign is visible from miles around, and was in fact designed so that it could be seen from Wilshire Boulevard, which at its nearest point is six and a half miles away.

And, of course, tourists always think that Los Angeles is a kind of theme park and so they stand in the middle of the street and take pictures of their friends or themselves with the Hollywood sign looming behind them.

And the most annoying thing of all, nobody ever runs them down, much as I will them to.

Still there are sights to be seen on Beachwood. Obama still rules up there:

And there are Simpsons-esque amusements:

And best of all this house, which admittedly does reinforce the theme park idea, not quite a ruined castle, but close, and I guess it’s being refurbished.  

And I do wonder if they’re going to keep that hell’s mouth arch (or possibly porte-cochere) - though I suspect that may make the place harder to sell.  It reminds me of the l’Enfer Cabaret (the Surrealist met there occasionally) on Boulevard Clichy, a street I have certainly walked down a few times over the years, though I gather l’Enfer has been a Monoprix supermarket since 1950 or so, which would explain why I never saw it.

And it also reminds me of this mouth at Bomarzo (the Park of Monsters) where I still have hopes of walking one of these years.

And now, and obviously this is the actual inspiration, Mr. Matthew Licht send me this image of the facade of the Biblioteca Herziana, the German Academy, on Via Gregoriana in Rome.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


When I was a boy, walking the streets of my old neighborhood in Sheffield, I was much troubled by dogs.  I was prepared to be friendly: the only dogs I knew were from cartoons and fiction - Huckleberry Hound, Pluto, 101 Dalmatians - and they were a benign lot, but that was no doubt because they were fictional. The dogs in my real world weren’t benign in the least.  As I walked the local streets I was snapped at and snarled at, and I learned to keep my distance, even as I learned to walk in fear.  Lads who lived in adjoining neighbourhoods said I had it too easy.  Where they lived, the dogs chased you till you dropped, and sank their rabid teeth into you given half a chance.

These days when I walk in LA I never encounter a dog on the street that’s without its owner, and I much prefer it that way, but I hear plenty of howling and barking from behind gates and fences.

Regular readers may remember a few months back I found the above sign in Jaywick, in Essex.  It seemed very desperate, very sad, very English.  But then at the weekend I was walking the streets of Barstow, in California when I found this strangely similar sign.

It’s actually on the fence of a motel – the Desert Inn, a place that looks a good deal more inviting from the front than it does from the back.  Of course, it seems a little unlikely that a wild dog would actually be let loose to roam the space behind a motel but you wouldn’t want to stroll in there and take your chances, would you?  You could even argue that if you really had a dog there’d be no need for a sign at all, although we know that isn’t always true.

Above is my favorite dog warning sign, it’s on a fence on Beachwood Drive and I walk past once in a while and wonder what it means.  The sign is old, the dog seems ghostly, the words “on duty” are barely readable.  Has the dog faded away too?  Has he done his duty and gone to a better place?  Or is he lurking on the other side of the fence, lying low, trying to lull the passing walker into a false sense of security?