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.

Friday, June 5, 2015


I suppose if you’re a celebrity, it’s gotta be annoying sometimes to have strangers taking pictures of you as you walk down the street, but maybe it’s not as annoying as all that. Certainly Taylor Swift, op cit, doesn’t always turned her back on the paparazzi.

Equally, as annoyances go, it must be a double-edged sword.  As a celeb you certainly want attention, it’s a matter of wanting the “right kind” of attention.

No doubt there are some who find it a kind a relief when they cease to be an object of general photographic fascination, but I imagine a lot more of them find it a very depressing sign that their star is fading.

I once had some filmic dealings with the actor/director Griffin Dunne who starred in Who’s That Girl  opposite Madonna.  It was at a time when Madonna seemed a good deal more fascinating than she does now, and like some fan boy rube I found myself asking Griffin, “So what’s Madonna really like.”   He said he honestly had no idea, he hadn’t got to know her at all in the course of making the movie, but he said, “I think she must be the loneliest woman in the world.”

Those I’m pretty sure were his actual words, his point being that she was so surrounded by her people, so insulated from real contact, that nobody ever made any kind of personal connection with her. 

I suspect that hasn’t changed much.  And she’s still a focus for the paparazzi and I’m sure that if I saw Madonna walking down the street I’d be tempted to raise my Canon.  I realize this wouldn’t make her feel any less lonely.

And yes, I do wonder what on earth’s going on with that right calf of hers in the picture above.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015


And speaking of walking backwards  (as I was) – this has shown up in the tumblr-o-sphere: 

But nah, Taylor arrived at this technique all on her own.
She claimed it was to deter a “snapperazzo."
 "I saw the guy with the camera and wasn't in the mood so I hiked the whole trail backwards and my security told me when to make turns."
So a security man, not a fitness instructor.  Though frankly I’d have thought that walking with a security man was a pretty good way to ruin a walk.  So little room for solitude. So little room for reverie.  Rousseau would weep.



I don’t honestly know what this is about – Googling gets me nowhere - but which of us hasn’t wanted a life that consists of wandering, hiking, and framing crooks?

Friday, May 29, 2015


Hollywood, of course, is not merely a geographical location; it’s also a style, an attitude and an industry.  But although the name Hollywood is synonymous with movie-making, it’s never had a monopoly.  Even in its early days, a great many “Hollywood movies” were made in other parts of LA, and today the term seems to refer to a certain set of values and means of production, regardless of where in the world the movie is actually made.

And so, even if you’re walking through, say, Utah, you may still get the feeling that you’re in a Hollywood movie.  A great many have been partly shot in and around the Moab area, the Arches, the Canyonlands: movies such as The Lone Ranger, Transformers: Age of Extinction, Nurse Betty, Rio Grande, Thelma and Louise, 127 Hours and a whole bunch of others. To be fair, not all these movies have (so to speak) foregrounded walking, but the landscape is always a major player.  The viewer (or at least this viewer) often thinks, hey, that looks like a cool place to walk. 

But if you're looking for a more singular place to go walking, why not head along the road a hundred or so miles from Moab, and go for a walk in the Goblin Valley State Park, like I did.

Yep, the rocks looks like goblin hats or mushrooms (and let’s face it, occasionally penises) as well as skulls, robot heads, ancient cities and whatnot.  You will also be walking in one of the locations for Galaxy Quest, a movie that I absolutely love, though again, not for the walking per se.

 You won’t be walking completely and utterly on your own in the Golblin Valley, though the “crowds” are pretty much non-existant once you get a couple of hundred yards away from the picnic area, but you will, in some sense or other, be walking in the footsteps of Sigourney Weaver.  

There are worse footsteps to walk in, for sure.