Monday, December 18, 2017

A Dubious Path

Olga was in the mood to try something new on our walk yesterday, so we explored Billy Fury Way, the footpath that connects Finchley Road with West End Lane in West Hampstead.

I've mentioned this path before, specifically when the mural that marks the head of the path got defaced. (It still hasn't been restored.)

But I rarely walk this way. For one thing, I live on the other side of the railroad tracks (to the right in the picture above), so if I'm going to go from West End Lane to Finchley Road I just use Lymington Road, which is not only easier but also a lot more pleasant.

And that's the other reason I don't use Billy Fury Way: It's not very inviting, and at times seems downright sketchy. Suspicious characters hang out along the path drinking, and there are mountains of discarded cans and bottles in several spots along its length.

Olga and I didn't meet anyone -- which is the advantage to walking early in the morning -- but even she didn't seem too impressed. I think we've finished our Billy Fury flirtation for the foreseeable future!

We did, however, find some French graffiti, adding an element of continental culture to our walk. "Pikachu has a message for you friends...'I never go back to my Pokeball because it's better to smoke outside! -- Message from the Ministry of the Environment.'"

I'm guessing someone was smoking as they wrote that. Or had smoked very recently.

In the afternoon, Dave and I went to see the new "Star Wars" movie. It's super flashy and fun, and it retains the epic scale and pseudo-Eastern philosophies of the franchise, but it also seems a bit...Disneyfied. I was pleasantly surprised by Laura Dern's appearance -- I had no idea she was in the film, and she's one of my favorite actresses. (Loved the purple hair! Keep the look, Laura!) And it was poignant to see Mark Hamill and, especially, Carrie Fisher again.


  1. What on earth makes you think that Laura Dern reads this blog? If she did I very much doubt that she would pay any attention to your hairstyling advice. As for Billy Fury Way, were you singing or humming "Halfway to Paradise" as you strolled along?

  2. Life holds plenty of ugliness and discomfort. I think that yes, you should choose the path which holds the least of these things unless there is a damn good reason not to.

  3. I've been hearing that the new Star Wars movie is the best yet! we usually go on opening day to one of the matinees but didn't this year for I forget what reason.

  4. Haven't seen a Star Wars movie since the first one, but I've been thinking it might be fun to watch this new one. I like taking these walks with you and Olga. I'm getting to see all the different parts of your neighborhood.

  5. Oh I'm so glad to hear your review of the movie. I haven't seen it yet but, plan to soon. I have the week after Christmas off work so I'm planning on seeing a few movies if I get the chance. As for the Billy Fury Way, it does look a bit on the sketchy side.

  6. Billy Fury Way doesn't seem like a terribly safe place to walk, except . . as you say . . early in the morning perhaps.

  7. You really brought back some wonderful memories for me. I had a, (how can I put this? ) romantic summer with Billy Fury, when he was performing for the summer season in my seaside town. I was 14, and I suppose nowadays that would result in nasty charges against him. But, in fact, he was a completley nice and sweet boyfriend, and never took advantage of me. I think he realised that I was sexually naïve (as most of us were in those days) and we had wonderful cuddling and 'snogging' sessions, but he never pushed beyond that. He was a lovely man, and I was very sad when he died. With all the accusations of sexual misconduct that are flying around today, perhaps we should remember that not all 'stars' were guilty of sexual misdemeanours.

  8. Dear Lesley UK
    What an amazing story! It sounds like you only took Billy Fury "halfway to paradise"... As you suggest, not all big stars are/were predators.

  9. It's cool that you let Olga pick the walk :) That walkway looks so closed in that I'd be a bit nervous if there were questionable people there. Would Olga protect you?

  10. YP: Laura Dern is one of my most devoted blog readers. You didn't know that?!

    Ms Moon: Certainly in the metaphorical sense! But I don't mind a gritty walk now and then.

    Ellen: I haven't heard anyone rave about it THAT much. It was good, but I wouldn't say it's the best of the lot.

    Robin: I should give you all a map so you can envision it better! :)

    Sharon: It's definitely worth seeing. There are a couple of scenes that I thought were cringe-worthy, but overall it's good.

    Catalyst: Yeah, that's one of the advantages of our early dog walks. We almost never encounter unsavory people -- they're all sleeping it off somewhere.

    Lesley UK: I love that story! It's good to hear that some famous people understood boundaries, even back then.

    YP: Are you here all the time? :)

    Jenny-O: Yeah, it's always fun for me to see where Olga will want to go! She wouldn't protect me if it came down to it -- our dog walker got attacked one day by three drunk guys and she and the other dogs apparently did nothing to defend him. But she looks intimidating, and I'm a pretty tall guy, and I think the two of us together are unlikely to be messed with.

  11. That path does look sketchy. But somehow I don't think they'd mess with Olga. They don't know she's a softie.