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 desert walk. Show all posts
Showing posts with label desert walk. Show all posts

Monday, September 23, 2013


As many readers will know by now, I really do like walking in the desert, for all kinds of reasons.  I’m not the world’s greatest animal lover and I certainly don’t go to the desert specifically to look at the wildlife, but even so, if you tread carefully and quietly it’s amazing what you can see. 

Still, it seems you rarely get close enough to take a really nice picture, unless as in the case below your faithful companion actually manages to (very, very gently) pick up the thing. 

That’s a horned toad, and certain species defend themselves by shooting blood from their eyes, but I guess this one was from another species, for which I was essentially grateful, though it must be quite a thing to see.

And recently I came across this from Popular Science, March 1931:

Arthur N. Pack, I discover, was a very serious and highly respected naturalist, but even so, I couldn't, still can't, believe that anybody could see him in this cactus costume without falling about laughing.  And in any case I wasn’t sure how it actually worked.  It struck me that both walking and seeing would be fairly difficult inside of that thing.  I assumed there had to be eyeholes but they’d surely give you a very limited view of the world.  And I had even less idea how you’d wield a camera.

Anyway, the Internet being what it is, I found this article (above and below) about Mr. Peck’s desert walking and photography, in an issue of Modern Mechanics and Inventions, As with Popular Science, the magazine seems more interested in the apparatus than the end result: the cutaway image shows you more detail of how it supposedly worked. 

I still think it’d be pretty hard to take pictures from inside a fake cactus, especially since the camera looks to be fixed and immovable, though it does seem that Mr. Pack managed to take some pretty good, intimate photographs of desert critters.  But I absolutely don’t see how he could have taken those photographs at ground level.  Maybe he had a faithful companion, who perhaps dressed as a rock.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


If the movies have taught us anything, it’s that in a post-apocalyptic future there will be a lot of walking.  Admittedly, there will be a certain amount of driving around in very cool vehicles, but mostly it’ll be striding along, gun in hand, ready to kill or be killed. And it seems that very few of us will be dressed appropriately. 

There will, of course, be a lot of desert in this future.  If you’re going to make a post-apocalyptic movie, the desert is often the location of choice.  It’s pre-ruined in a way that, say, the Palace of Versailles isn’t.  And you’ve got to imagine it’ll be pretty hot in this desert of the future, but that won’t stop a lot of people from wearing a lot of leather.

You might argue that a Terminator can get away with it because he’s a cyborg and doesn’t feel the heat in the same way that real humans feel.

On the other hand, Mad Max is clearly feeling it in this picture, though you have to wonder if simply pulling one arm off your leather suit is really going to be enough to cool you down much.

If you’re Linda Hamilton you’ll wear an elegant little tank top, showing off your gym-toned arms, but this simply creates a different problem: she’s running a terrible risk of sunburn.  And if you reckon that in general women of the future will wear be wearing less than the men, you're probably right.

Milla Jovovich certainly looks well wrapped up in some respects in Resident Evil: Extinction but not so much that she can't show her stocking tops and thighs.

I’m not sure exactly what these boys from Star Trek are wearing in the episode “Desert Crossing.” It's not leather obviously: could it be polyester?   Clearly they’re sweating like SOBs.  Later in the episode they do strip down, though they don’t actually look much less sweaty or any more comfortable as a result.

And do spare a thought for poor Kyle MacLachlan in Dune.  Well yes, there are reasons to feel sorry all for the actors in that movie, but in the picture below it looks as though his sweat problem is so bad that nobody will come anywhere near him.  Wouldn’t he be much happier in a simple safari suit?

Finally (and I know you could go on about this stuff forever) we come to the movie of The Road.  Now that is one bleak future you’ve got yourself there, but it’s not the desert.  Instead, it’s a cold, grey, polluted world where the sun never shines, and walking is a grim and potentially lethal business.  But say what you like, father and son are certainly dressed for it.