surinenglish

Under the bored walk

'Giant steps are what you take, walking on the moon/I hope my legs don't break, walking on the moon.' Thus went the none-too-inspirational opening lines of The Police's not-very-good 1979 song Walking On The Moon. Rumours that Leonard Cohen co-wrote the lyrics are almost certainly false.

Anyway, BBC Radio 2 will probably still be playing it in the year 2100, along with songs by Kenny Loggins and the J Geils Band for reasons completely unfathomable to the human mind, just as they do now, in fact. The thing is, by then, young people will surely be asking their grandparents “What does 'walking' actually mean, gramps?”

Judging by the scenes on the streets of our big cities these days, taking a normal stroll will soon be a thing of the past. Anything goes it seems, as long as it's not actually putting one foot in front of the other in the time-honoured fashion. On any given day, you can witness skateboards by the shedload (often being ridden by blokes in their late thirties - yes, I know, I know), roller blades, normal skates, training shoes with little wheels on them, cyclists behaving as if the whole urban infrastructure had been designed with their own particular needs in mind, those funny two-tyred contraptions that you stand up straight on and all of this, I'm afraid, is just for starters.

Today I saw a man fizzing around town on a unicycle but not of the conventional kind, of course, that wouldn't be cool enough by half. No, it was a low, single motorised wheel with a tiny seat on top. His knees were up by his ears which gave him the distinct air of a garden gnome in desperate search of a misplaced fishing rod (I think it was the beard that clinched it).

It wasn't that long ago that I saw a middle-aged chap using one of those scooters like the girls in our junior school used to have. You know the ones where you had to expend about ninety thousand kilojoules of energy and dislocate at least one hip to move approximately three feet forward. Well, there he was, plain as day, scootering away to his heart's content but such was the stop-start nature of his progress that I actually overtook him just walking at a normal pace. Velocity can't have been his motivation, so we can only imagine it must have been wanting to look like a complete fool.

I might record an updated cover of The Police hit: 'Make no mistake, walking round town is good for you/I hope my leg don't break, walking round town, it shouldn't do.' Come on, it's as good a lyric as Sting's.