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GEOFF NICHOLSON

The Lost Art of Walking

Nicholson, author of Bleeding London and Sex Collectors, turns his eye to the intellectual and cultural history of that most common of activities-walking.

This simple, omnipresent activity has inspired numerous subcultures, literary and artistic legacies, sporting events, personal memories, epic journeys, mystical revelations, and scandals.

It's a rich tradition that embraces such novelists as Charles Dickens and Paul Auster, musicians like Robert Johnson and Bob Dylan, and moviemakers from Buster Keaton to Werner Herzog. But it's also a tradition that includes obsessives and eccentrics, such as the artist Mudman, who coats his body in mud and then walks the city streets; competitive pedestrians such as Captain Barclay, who walked one mile an hour for a thousand successive hours; and gang members who use the hidden language of the "Crip Walk" to spell out messages in the dirt with their scuffing. How we walk, where we walk, why we walk announces who and what we are.

Geoff Nicholson is a master chronicler of the hidden subversive twists on a seemingly normal activity. He analyzes the hows, wheres, and whys of walking through the ages. He finds people who walk only at night, or naked, or for thousands of miles at a time, in costume, for causes, or for no reason whatsoever. Here, he brings curiosity and genuine insight to a subject that often walks right past us.

Geoff Nicholson is the author of twenty books, including Sex Collectors, Hunters and Gatherers, The Food Chain, and Bleeding London, which was shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize.
Photo: Naomi Harris

Event date: 
Saturday, November 22, 2008 - 5:00pm
Event address: 
Skylight Books
us