Pimp My Walk
June 8, 2013 8:38 AM   Subscribe

"Canes were the 22-inch rims of 19th century cruising culture."

The World Of The Walking Stick
posted by the man of twists and turns (59 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
others concealed a picnic utensil set, opera glasses, an ear trumpet, a perfume bottle, a detachable baby rattle, a blow gun, a winemaker’s thermometer, a folding fan, a telescope, a flask with cork top, a pocket watch, a sewing kit, a compact and mirror, a full-length saw blade, a microscope, a pennywhistle, a set of watercolors and paintbrush, a whistle for hailing a cab, and gauges for measuring the height of a horse.

I initially read this as 'another concealed' and I was super-impressed that they managed to get all of this in one cane. I assumed it must have been Swiss.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:42 AM on June 8, 2013 [8 favorites]


Obligatory Newsradio/Phil Hartman link.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:45 AM on June 8, 2013 [14 favorites]


Plan for 2014: Making Canes Happen.
posted by The Whelk at 8:59 AM on June 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


I was saddened to discover that sword-canes are illegal in Canada, likewise nunchaku and shuriken. There goes my plan to become a dandy ninja.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 9:04 AM on June 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Cue Adam Ant revival. I wish I had the confidence to strut around with a cane.
posted by arcticseal at 9:13 AM on June 8, 2013


It will surprise no one to know I had a pewter topped cane in college.

I had a lot of time to spend my cash on looking flash and grabbing your attension.
posted by The Whelk at 9:15 AM on June 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


Walking? How bourgeois. A gentleman does not walk. A gentleman rides his fine Arabian on the grounds of his country house, or in Hyde Park, during the season.

*adjusts monocle*
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:18 AM on June 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


I was saddened to discover that sword-canes are illegal in Canada, likewise nunchaku and shuriken. There goes my plan to become a dandy ninja.

But what about a solid, double-knobbed cane that also breaks down into two equal pieces connected by a thin but sturdy chain? You know, for storage.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:21 AM on June 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


double-knobbed

hee hee
posted by dubold at 9:26 AM on June 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


A gentleman rides his fine Arabian on the grounds of his country house, or in Hyde Park, during the season.

Ride? On an animal? Good Heavens!

I rarely desire to be somewhere where I am not, I just order people to appear before me.
posted by Dr Dracator at 9:28 AM on June 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


I was saddened to discover that sword-canes are illegal in Canada, likewise nunchaku and shuriken. There goes my plan to become a dandy ninja.

I'm sure that with years of practice you can still become a dandy ninja, but being a ninja dandy is indeed out of the question.
posted by fairmettle at 9:33 AM on June 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


I had occasion to need a cane a year and change ago, after breaking a foot; by some bizarre fluke, I already owned a fairly basic cane, which I'd seen abandoned on the sidewalk a few months prior; I'd salvaged it "in case someone visiting me needs it or something". "Someone" turned out to be "me".

But during the two months I had my boot cast, I poked into a couple of web sites selling "stuff for people recovering from injuries," including this one that offered "attractive" slings and canes and such.

I was really, really tempted to get the cane with the 8-ball handle they sold.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:03 AM on June 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


I have this super getup I want, a burgundy velvet jacket, a can with a white-skull handle and I guess I'm thinking just some nice pants. Maybe some frilly undershirt. May as well top it off with a top hat.

My dad, as he's getting older, is having more difficulties walking and I keep trying to tell him to get a cane and he's like, no no no... Stubborn fool pride. I may have to just get one and give it to him. But I'll make sure it's a bad ass cane. Heavily gnarled stick. With beautiful curves, and shellacked letting the natural grain show through. I think he'd like that.
posted by symbioid at 10:05 AM on June 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


...That same site I linked to, with the 8-ball cane, also has a gold-skull handle cane.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:09 AM on June 8, 2013


My cane is very basic. But I'm glad to have it; walking without it is hard these days. Not to mention hazardous. (Falling hurts, and could land me in the hospital.)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:22 AM on June 8, 2013


In a tux shop in LA a week or so ago I saw a cane with a ball-top handle with an 8-ball printed on it. Not, like, the 8-ball was the handle. The handle was a ball with an 8-ball drawn on it. I feel like there was a miscommunication somewhere in the production process there.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:24 AM on June 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


,,,and the flask cane, hollow to hold booze...very handy.
posted by Postroad at 10:25 AM on June 8, 2013


Lumps are bad, dents are worse.
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 10:30 AM on June 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


,,,and the flask cane, hollow to hold booze...very handy.

Or beer. Just the right size for a yard of ale.
posted by axiom at 10:36 AM on June 8, 2013


Walking? How bourgeois. A gentleman does not walk. A gentleman rides his fine Arabian on the grounds of his country house, or in Hyde Park, during the season.

Well but yeah okay but that was the point. Some of these guys weren't gentlemen (in the old "owns inherited land and participates in running the country" sense of the word); and the ones who were, were going way out of their way not to act like it. This young-man-about-town business was a whole different thing entirely.

At risk of derailing the thread by uttering the dreaded H-word, the best way to think about their subculture might be "19th-century trust fund hipsters," complete with lots of behavior that would have seemed just as baffling, annoying and disreputable at the time as anything associated with the "hipster" label in the present day. They painted! (Or at least hung around people who knew people who did!) They lived in town all year round! In cheap and unfashionable neighborhoods! Some of them had jobs! They walked places! But at least they could get together enough cash to do it with style.
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 10:39 AM on June 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Plan for 2014: Making Canes Happen.

I immediately thought of you when I saw this.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:50 AM on June 8, 2013


Pimp My Walk

Surely this should have been “pimp my stride”?
posted by acb at 10:55 AM on June 8, 2013 [43 favorites]


A carbon fibre monopod with a spike tip and a good ball head on it, maybe a Manfrotto 486, not too heavy, but solid metal, makes an excellent cane. Sturdy, classy, functional. And with a few clicks, it's a 6-foot shillelagh.
posted by seanmpuckett at 11:01 AM on June 8, 2013


Isambard Kingdom Brunel's railway-gauge measuring walking stick.

Are there really no American walking magazines? There's at least two in the UK, where the Rambler's Association ferociously protects perambulators. Though to be honest they often run out of gear to rate and the sticks could be way more fabulous.
posted by Erasmouse at 11:04 AM on June 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


A gentleman rides his fine Arabian on the grounds of his country house, or in Hyde Park, during the season.

Ride? On an animal? Good Heavens!
I rarely desire to be somewhere where I am not, I just order people to appear before me.


You have them travel? How pedestrian.
If I want to see someone, I just have the earth turned until they're standing in front of me.
posted by sexyrobot at 11:19 AM on June 8, 2013


The Caning of Senator Charles Sumner. Some years ago it was possible to order a faithful reproduction of the cane in question, in the correct materials. I think I saw it advertised in Smithsonian magazine.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:22 AM on June 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Gendalf staff would be awesome but I couldn't pull it off.
posted by bukvich at 11:23 AM on June 8, 2013


My grandmother has a cane that converts to a pool cue. A lot like this one.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 11:23 AM on June 8, 2013


Being a Brit of my age I'm afraid the word "cane" will always have a certain association.
posted by Decani at 11:40 AM on June 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


I wonder if people rented canes back then? And if they missed their weekly payment, what would get put up on blocks upon repossession?
posted by nevercalm at 11:46 AM on June 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


I desire a cane that is a mouse of both the optical input device kind and the GPS receiver kind. Then I can use it as a stylus for my 3DS, only it's on the other side of the screen this time.
posted by LogicalDash at 12:02 PM on June 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


At risk of derailing the thread by uttering the dreaded H-word, the best way to think about their subculture might be "19th-century trust fund hipsters,"


The 19th-century word for hipster was Lumpenproletariat.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:10 PM on June 8, 2013


Mr. Adams suffers from ankylosing spondylitis, which sometimes makes walking very painful for him. He's resisted getting a cane - he's still in his 40s and believed a cane would brand him an "old man." Anyway, last year on an extended road trip from Michigan to Nevada we stopped at Wall Drug in South Dakota (who could resist after 200 miles of billboards?). Among the many shops therein was one that sold pricey leather goods, pipe tobacco and similar manly-man accouterments. Mr. Adams was in dire need of a new wallet, which is why I steered him into that store in the first place, but after browsing around he noticed a rack that was filled with "walking sticks." Not canes, mind you, but walking sticks. (I was mentally rolling my eyes at this point.) He bought a very genteel walking stick with an elaborate gold-clad metal topper for much more than we could have purchased a standard-issue regulation cane with our Blue Cross. *sigh* Anyway, at least that walking stick enhanced the rest of our road trip, allowing him to walk through many more miles through the various attractions we stopped at during our journey (Grand Canyon, the miles of hallways in Las Vegas hotels).

He still uses it at home because it's not a "cane", but a "walking stick" and it makes him look quite dapper.
posted by Oriole Adams at 12:12 PM on June 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


The defensive cane thing does seem pretty badass, and would give one an additional pretense for carrying one. I mean hopefully you'd never have to use it but being prepared for ruffians is a fairly sensible thing 'round most parts.
posted by Doleful Creature at 12:22 PM on June 8, 2013


The 19th-century word for hipster was Lumpenproletariat.

I was going to say "nuh uh," for reasons mostly having to do with my brief sojourn in a relatively large (but still tiny) Trotskyist faction. Then I decided to go ahead and read your link, which includes Marx's own definition of a lumpenprole:
posted by mph at 1:08 PM on June 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Obligatory House clip
posted by XMLicious at 1:13 PM on June 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


There's a dapper senior trader to be seen around Bay St who walks with a black cane with a silver skull on top. The skull has a ruby in one eye socket, and a snake coming out the other. He must be in minerals; the eccentric ones are always drawn to mines.
posted by scruss at 1:14 PM on June 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yes, I was being a bit tongue-in-cheek there. I was really trying to draw more of a parallel with Marx's concept of elements of both the working class and the bourgeoisie becoming detached from their classes and forming a separate social grouping that is both alienated from its sources, and also the target of a good deal of public vilification.

Funny thing about the organ grinders- there is an older couple at the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto who play a barrel organ on Saturdays. They have a sign that reads: "When most people have a mid-life crisis, they buy a sports car. We bought a barrel organ." I wouldn't call them hipsters, though.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:32 PM on June 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


organ grinders ... yeah ... o.k. I bet there's an NYT lifestyle article about the return of organ grinding in Williamsburg due any week now


Doubtful, Mayor LaGuardia banned organ grinders for thier association with Italian Sterotypes.


So in 1936, as mayor of New York, he banned organ grinders. He didn’t harp on his experience in Arizona. Instead, he blamed them for traffic congestion. Also, he said, licensing organ grinders was tantamount to licensing begging.

posted by The Whelk at 1:36 PM on June 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


( oddly there's an old guy who basically does the modern version of organ grinding at a few subway stops, he puts of a sign, plays a beatbox of old 40s standards and Sinatra, and has a tip jar.)
posted by The Whelk at 1:41 PM on June 8, 2013


Sadly my mother sold her collection of antique walking sticks (picked up in Victorian barn antique shops when we lived in Yorkshire in the 80s) because she HAD A FLASK CANE and didn't offer it to me, dammit.

I did not have to be sold on the awesomeness of canes.
posted by immlass at 1:46 PM on June 8, 2013


Doubtful, Mayor LaGuardia banned organ grinders for thier association with Italian Sterotypes.

Which raises the possibility we get that weird ironic racism thing going on inside underground organ grinder clubs.
posted by mph at 1:46 PM on June 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Gendalf staff would be awesome but I couldn't pull it off.

Well, not without asking Gandalf nicely, I imagine.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:15 PM on June 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Hey, I got this great Gandalf staff, but now all these birds keep shitting on me and stuff."

"Well, here's your problem- what you've got there is a Radagast staff. Yeah, the hippie crystal is a dead giveaway."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:18 PM on June 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


My best friend has the greatest cane ever.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 2:25 PM on June 8, 2013


What's the 24s of walking, cuz that's what I want. I don't want to be walking one some weak shit. I want the Forgis of walking.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:06 PM on June 8, 2013


I have to admit, I've had my eye one one of these numbers for a while.
posted by MrBadExample at 3:09 PM on June 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Go for it MrBadExample. It can only enhance your manly dapperness.

This snooker cane is quite natty.
posted by BlueHorse at 4:19 PM on June 8, 2013


I would rather not have to use a cane. It reduces the number of arms available for carrying/doing things by one, and is generally a nuisance.
posted by sneebler at 5:07 PM on June 8, 2013


Obligatory Leon Redbone Link
posted by canoehead at 5:50 PM on June 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Dr Dracator: "A gentleman rides his fine Arabian on the grounds of his country house, or in Hyde Park, during the season.

Ride? On an animal? Good Heavens!

I rarely desire to be somewhere where I am not, I just order people to appear before me.
"

Disappointingly gauche, chaps. When I need to travel, I throw a cleverly knitted heavy shawl, as no true gentlemen would be seen using saddle blankets on the back of a team of my indentureds. The shawl is a must, as you don't want their savage sweatiness to ruin the lines of the suit I just had ironed. Then I whip them along, with the horsewhip hidden in my travelling cane, while reclining in a sort of Roman ease. That, lads, is true style. Of course, remember to have one of your serfs remember to bring your visiting cane, as visiting someone with a travelling cane would be the height of barbarity.
posted by Samizdata at 5:57 PM on June 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Dr Dracator: " I rarely desire to be somewhere where I am not, I just order people to appear before me."
"But what about speed?"
"If you're important, people will wait."
Oriole Adams: "He's resisted getting a cane - he's still in his 40s and believed a cane would brand him an "old man."…after browsing around he noticed a rack that was filled with "walking sticks." Not canes, mind you, but walking sticks. (I was mentally rolling my eyes at this point.)"

Further evidence that one of the secrets to a successful long-term relationship is knowing when to bite one's tongue. (I've vowed never to let the words "But you hate <name of foodstuff>!" cross my lips.)

In my experience, the more one's using a cane for support, as opposed to fashion, the more important it is to get one with an ergonomically sound handle. I used one for a while following a foot injury and it became increasingly clear that the cane my HMO had given me really didn't fit my hand. Ow.
posted by Lexica at 6:51 PM on June 8, 2013


The 8-ball cane reminds me that one of my favorite English words is "smote".
posted by Bruce H. at 10:45 PM on June 8, 2013


I used to see a fellow carrying a cricket bat as a cane on his daily constitutional.
posted by Bruce H. at 10:47 PM on June 8, 2013


o.k. I bet there's an NYT lifestyle article about the return of organ grinding in Williamsburg due any week now

Surely you mean Bushwick or somewhere. Isn't Williamsburg mostly condos for hedge-fund traders with manic-pixie fetishes these days?
posted by acb at 4:48 AM on June 9, 2013


I was saddened to discover that sword-canes are illegal in Canada...

In the states I just recently learned the same applies to light sabers
posted by samsara at 3:16 PM on June 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Louis Armstrong sings Irving Berlin's Without my walking stick
posted by BinGregory at 5:20 PM on June 9, 2013


Bull penis walking sticks (internet archive)
posted by XMLicious at 9:02 PM on June 9, 2013


In the states I just recently learned the same applies to light sabers

Here's a pic of Mayhew at the airport.
posted by homunculus at 12:21 PM on June 10, 2013


« Older Short documentary film (SLNYT) about 91 year old G...  |  The... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments