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.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


I used to think, from what I saw as I walked the streets of Los Angeles, that this place must have more dogs per capita than any city in the world.  This, I now know, is not true.  It doesn’t even seem to be the dog capital of the west coast.  It’s hard to find exact data – googling tends to turn up “dog friendly cities” rather than actual numbers - but it seems definitely not to be LA – San Diego and Portland look like much better bets.  San Francisco supposedly has more dogs than children.

Of course all these need walking – some a lot more than others, obviously - and (and again I don’t have hard data) as I walk the streets it does seem to me that Los Angeles must have more professional dog walkers per capita than any city in the world. Angelinos don’t want to walk their own dogs any more than they want to tend their own gardens or clean their own swimming pools.

Last week for instance I found this thing stuck on my mail box:

  I have no idea if it’s genuine.  Do parents really allow children to do this kind of thing?  More to the point – do eleven year olds really expect to earn 10 dollars an hour?  That’s more than minimum wage!

But my favorite flyer, one that turns up stuck to lamps posts and telegraph poles, around the neighborhood, is this one from Rocket Dog Walking:

I love the picture but somehow I don’t feel that the actual guy who turns up to walk your hound could possibly live up to the picture.

But here in last Sundays’ New York Post is one of the best dog-walking related headlines I’ve ever seen, possibly the best ever:

Since it’s in the Post it may not be strictly accurate, but still ...  We're all accustomed to Faustian bargains, but selling your soul is one thing, selling somebody else's dog is quite another.

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?