Humor Magazine

Walk Tall!

By Davidduff

Via the always excellent Arts & Letters Daily I was taken with an article in The Smart Set by Wayne Curtis on the fascinating subject of, well, er, walking, actually!  The act of walking has played a large part in my somewhat boring life.  In the infantry I did a lot of it and thereby grew to loathe it.  In my lot it was called 'tab-ing', that is, 'Tactical Advance to Battle', or, 'put that enormous load of kit on your back, you 'orrible little man, and carry it several miles over those hills and you'll be on jankers for the rest of your misbegotten life if you drop out!'

Then, of course, there was the endless repetition of that other form of military walking - marching!  How many hours of my precious life did I waste marching up, down, to and fro, backwards and forwards across those Aldershot parade grounds?  To be fair, unlike the 'wooden tops' (Her Maj's Brigade of Guards) we did not go in for a lot of marching and drill on the very sensible grounds that we were crap - think 'Dad's Army' with attitude!  Any and every attempt to "Fix bayonets!" invariably ended up with a clatter as a third of them landed on the ground.  Practicing for our very rare attempt to troop our colour, a thing the 'wooden tops' do annually, regularly produced the equivalent of a six-lane pile-up on 'spaghetti junction' sending our (ex-Guards!) Regimental Sergeant-Major into paroxysms of fury - and us into helpless giggles!

In his article, Mr. Curtis directs our attention to the several different ways of military marching other nations have developed.  The obvious beginner is the hideously ugly and utterly ludicrous goose-step:

German soldiers goose-step

For the past century or so, the goose step has been used chiefly in totalitarian regimes — that is, states where it’s exceedingly inadvisable to laugh at the military. (George Orwell wrote in 1940, “Its ugliness is part of its essence, for what it is saying is ‘Yes, I am ugly, and you daren't laugh at me.’”) Today, the goose step is about as commonly seen as the Hitler’s toothbrush mustache, although it does live on vestigially among some ceremonial guards (Greece’s parliament, Moscow’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier) and in a faraway, possibly mythical, land called North Korea

It certainly does live on and takes some unusual forms:


Whether this picture was taken in China, North K0rea or at the Folies Bergère , I am not sure.  However, Mr. Curtis informs us that the French army developed its own method of marching:

Meanwhile, across the border in France, the French military has also long been interested in teaching its infantry how to march, although with an eye less to the ceremonial and more to the practical. At the end of the 19th century, the French Army emerged as the leading proponent of the slouchy, somewhat slovenly “bent-knee” method of long-marching. The gait was modeled after infants learning to walk, with knees angled and the body pitching slightly forward. The idea was that, by leaning in the direction of travel, gravity would pull you along and make it easier to cover vast distances with less energy.

This method of marching is known as 'the French scuttle', er, for obvious reasons!

Later, in my more, um, aesthetic days as, admittedly, a less than distinguished actor I gradually learned that good actors try and work out if the role they are playing can be partly expressed through the supposed gait of the character concerned.  Even a moment's thought would warn any semi-intelligent actor to treat this very, very carefully because the difference between, say, Anthony Sher's brilliant, crutch-hopping Richard III and The Art of Coarse Acting is miniscule.  One of my earlier efforts to walk 'in character' drew a remark from the director that it was not a panto and that I was not playing Long John Silver - bitch!

Yes, yes, there is a point to all this, just be patient! Mr. Curtis points to the future (it's a habit with young men, I find) and tells us that some university swots are working on a method of digitally filming individuals walking in order to identify them by their gait.  Everyone, as - ahem! - any decent actor will tell you, has an entirely individual way of walking.  Thus, like fingerprints and retina scans, the technique has possibilities in the world of security.  "Not a lotta people know that" and now, I suppose, you wish you didn't either!


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Fighting Aging With Clarisonic

    Fighting Aging With Clarisonic

    This post is sponsored by Clarisonic and Her Campus Media. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Caits Cozy Corner possible! Read more

    14 hours, 18 minutes ago by   Cait
  • Classic Yet Modern Wedding in Athens | Amanda & Andreas

    Classic Modern Wedding Athens Amanda Andreas

    Amanda and Andreas wanted to create a wedding that will combine classic and modern elements together. They chose to decorate their wedding with white flowers,... Read more

    14 hours, 35 minutes ago by   Eleni Balkouli
  • Varina by Charles Frazier

    Varina Charles Frazier

    What a writer this guy is! He can craft a sentence or paragraph like nobody's business. Charles Frazier's latest novel is a richly imagined account of the life... Read more

    15 hours, 18 minutes ago by   Vickilane
  • Vintage Wedding Styled Shoot in a Villa

    Vintage Wedding Styled Shoot Villa

    Today we’re sharing with you a unique photoshoot that will transport you back in time! The aim of this shoot was to enhance the beauty of a 1500’s Villa in the... Read more

    15 hours, 55 minutes ago by   Eleni Balkouli
  • This Weekend in Antwerp: 22nd, 23rd & 24th June

    This Weekend Antwerp: 22nd, 23rd 24th June

    Here’s the map! Good times! It’s Bier Passie Weekend over the whole weekend on Groenplaats. Bier Passie opens on Friday at 5. The opening hours for Saturday... Read more

    17 hours, 56 minutes ago by   Nessascityblog
  • The Sticky Date Pudding to Die for and Amazingly Egg-less Too! - HIGHLY...

    Sticky Date Pudding Amazingly Egg-less Too! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

    version;Why will I die for these plain and simple looking sticky date puddings?Simply because it is so insanely irresistibly yummy!!! Perhaps you might do the... Read more

    21 hours, 16 minutes ago by   Zoebakeforhappykids
  • Matcha Nama Chocolate

    Matcha Nama Chocolate

    (recipe adapted from Justonecookbook)Ingredients:400g white chocolate, chopped into small pieces (I used Ghirardelli chocolate)125ml heavy whipping cream25g... Read more

    21 hours, 18 minutes ago by   Cathysjoy

Paperblog Hot Topics