Nobody Drives in LA – North Trail Canyon Road with Mike Morgan [Pilot Episode]

A couple of years ago I had an idea for a Nobody Drives in LA series of some sort — in addition to the weblog series, that is, which I’ve been writing for years. My conception was of taking transit, riding bikes, or walking with Angelenos who are car-free — both of in the vein of and an antidote to all of those shows with slebs in cars (e.g. Carpool Karaoke, Top Gear, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, Ru Paul Drives) but also inspired by much more interesting things like Clare Balding‘s Ramblings, BBC3‘s Slow Radio, Emily Han‘s Moving Stories LA, Metro‘s Off Peak podcast, the explorations of Kenny Uong, Kevin Nealon‘s Hiking With Kevin, Rodney Berry‘s Twitch Stream, Neil Hopper‘s Walking in L.A., and Nathan Cha‘s Seoul Walker, and of course, Alan Partridge’s Country Ramble — to name a few.

Initially I imagined a podcast and ordered a Zoom microphone in the mail. When it came, the batteries were dead. I ordered batteries (this was the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic when everyone was scared too go outside for anything and we were furiously washing our hands but not wearing masks unless we had a special cough). I put in a SIM card and it didn’t work. I contacted tech support and they said it was probably defective. By then the warranty had expired. I contemplated ordering another microphone but when I ventured back onto the bus, I realized how loud it was and unsuitable for interviews. I realized that recording interviews whilst cycling might prove even less likely and so decided it should probably just be walks. Luckily, since I have no money for a crew or equipment, “phones” are now pretty decent video cameras.

I did a dry run in my head and walked around the Silver Lake Reservoir. I didn’t actually film because I imagined the presence of a solitary man recording a walk around the reservoir might seem creepy to the people who jug and walk along that trail. I also had to pop into the restroom at the Silver Lake Recreation Center and realized that, since I want to avoid edits, visits to the bathroom should occur before filming begins.

So, here you have a proper trial run, recorded with my friend Mike Morgan (who has a car). I realize that you can barely hear him and can probably hear too much of me but, then, this is free content so if you want professionalism, become a Patron. You can always mute the volume. To quote a cliché, it is what it is — a learning experience for me and perhaps something someone will enjoy at least a little. Next time I’ll try to hold the camera a bit more steady and with the microphone a bit closer to by guest but hopefully you’ll detect some potential here.

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Eric Brightwell is an adventurer, essayist, rambler, explorer, cartographer, and guerrilla gardener who is always seeking paid writing, speaking, traveling, and art opportunities. He is not interested in generating advertorials, cranking out clickbait, or laboring away in a listicle mill “for exposure.”
Brightwell has written for Angels Walk LAAmoeblogBoom: A Journal of CaliforniadiaCRITICSHidden Los Angeles, and KCET Departures. His art has been featured by the American Institute of Architects, the Architecture & Design Museum, the Craft ContemporaryForm Follows FunctionLos Angeles County Store, the book SidewalkingSkid Row Housing Trust, and 1650 Gallery. Brightwell has been featured as subject in The Los Angeles TimesHuffington PostLos Angeles MagazineLAistCurbedLAEastsider LABoing BoingLos Angeles, I’m Yours, and on Notebook on Cities and Culture. He has been a guest speaker on KCRW‘s Which Way, LA?, at Emerson Collegeand the University of Southern California.
Brightwell is currently writing a book about Los Angeles and you can follow him on Ameba, Duolingo, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, Mubi, the StoryGraph, and Twitter.

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