Cantabrian Footsteps

I want to live in a huge but single-storey house that I can cycle round. Forget this walking lark. Walking is difficult and "uncomfortable", as the medics call it. It's been this way since before Christmas. The problems are either soft tissue (in which case I should exercise more) or dying bone (in which case a surgeon will go in with a hacksaw). We don't know which it is.

So I'm walking more than cycling, trying to persuade my body to stop complaining. Using a crutch relieves the "discomfort", but I can now walk half a mile without it, and I do this up to three times a day.

Anyhow, here's a silent movie that says something about how I feel. It's about walking and cycling. It's a bit arty — but I'm an artist, so I'm allowed to be arty. Most of the feet and bikes you'll see aren't really there.

I'm breaking the #1 rule for artists: don't try to explain. Visual art is for the stuff we can't put into words.

5 comments on “Cantabrian Footsteps”

  1. Patrick wrote:

    Enjoyed the video. It makes walking and cycling both seem as natural as each other. Cycling obviously isn't natural as it requires an invention to do it, but it feels and looks so natural. I wonder why. A question: is the bicycle an invention or a discovery? (I happen to believe that computers are a discovery more than an invention)

    Well done with the walking. I think it's the right thing to do. Sandra always says one can cycle too much at the expense of walking – walking being required for optimal bone structure in the human frame. If humans never walked and only cycled we'd have evolved into a different shape. I'm not sure what. Maybe longer arms and eyes positioned higher up and wider apart like birds, or necks that can swivel more to see behind. It's interesting how the bicycle has hardly evolved since the 'safety bicycle' appeared in the 1880s-1890s.

  2. Kern wrote:

    Very interesting. What to make of this video?

    The differences in interpretation between an artist and a viewer can be profound. (This is one of the reasons I took a dislike to music videos in the 80's – the presentation on screen had nothing to do with what I saw in my head, and in almost all cases the video debased the song significantly.)

    So, on that note, I will not ask you, Alan, to explain your video – that would, as they say, "take away the mystery."

    I had to look up "Cantabrian" for this one. I had no idea Cantabria is a region in Spain – it looks like good cycling territory for those who like climbing. However, since your video was probably not shot in Spain, I went to its etymology instead.

    "Footsteps of stone", I say. Very dramatic in light of your condition.

    Keep up the good work.

  3. Alan wrote:

    Oops, how embarrassing. That should be "Cantabrigian Footsteps". It refers to Cambridge, England. Graduates sometimes put (Cantab) after their qualification, and I misremembered what that stood for.

  4. Chris wrote:

    As a non-artist I feel underqualified to comment on your video, Alan. On the subject of the word 'Cantabrian', I half-remembered a moment from the little-seen film Personal Best that I seem to recall featured a scene in which the athlete played by Mariel Hemingway is viewed – from the finish line – through the stretch of hurdles that lay out before her. They may or may not have been Cantabrian hurdles (I can't find an online image to confirm this), but my mind raced – as best it can these days – to visions associated with Cantabrian footsteps being placed between the hurdles: left leg lead to the first hurdle; right thereafter?

    Okay, so this has nothing to do with your video, but arty stuff sometimes should be allowed to trigger thoughts that weren't intended, shouldn't it?

  5. Alan wrote:

    Certainly — that's the whole point of arty stuff.

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