Thursday, May 17, 2007

Nige Flâne

Thinking again of walking matters, it's clear to me that that potent Baudelairean concept, the flâneur - nicely summarised here - has much bearing on these matters.
In our present age, it seems, the art of urban walking has been all but lost. The pavements of our city streets are now blocked by grazing phalanxes of the barely ambulant. Startled by the novelty of bipedal motion, they shift their considerable bulk from ham to ham, swaying like inverted pendulums and achieving virtually no forward momentum. As a result, we real urban walkers - the purposeful flâneurs who, for all our idling tendencies, favour a degree of forward motion - spend much of our time raging silently behind these swaying, impassable backs. If we weren't so bloody civilised, pavement rage would be breaking out all over.
Here's a link to a website that's almost too perfect - three years defunct and still thinking about it...


  1. you need to get yourself a horn.

    have you thought about joining a marching band?

  2. What gets me about these 'grazing phalanxes' in central London is that they always seem to be looking up.

    At what, I couldn't tell you. I've looked myself, but there's never anything there. Yet still they stand and stare. Usually in an unbreakable line across the pavement.

  3. well, either they're having you on and you'll be appearing on TV soon, being ridiculed by Harry Hill or Dom Joly - or, more likely, you've lost that loving feeling.

    who was it once advised, if you look up you'll see another London, more enchanting than the first? Charles Dickens or Shakespeare or Ken Livingston probably. Anyway, it's true - but not advisable on days when the breweries deliver the beer.

  4. God, I know what you mean. They seem to gather especially perniciously around the doorway to a tube platform. What is it with them?