Guest Shoe Poem – Christweetiebard’s Brand New Sneakers

There is only one way to describe @Tweetiebard – he is magnificent.  (He is also reclusive so if you want to follow him, tell him I sent you …)

This is the first time that I have ever had a poem about shoes dedicated to me (well,  half dedicated, the other half is dedicated to fellow shoe obsessive @CherylAnneNY).   I am pure dead chuffed so I am.  The original and other wonderful things can be found at Christweetiebard’s Blog

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Pad panel side soft

niffy-dye shop whiff

poff tread loping

laidback pigeon-toed

wallup-land wooshalongs

with doff pith gate swing

cruisy curve horizontal

poppy hovercraft butch

two tone bright flick away

arch hug grabbery and

braised footpath greyish

doo-bap hop up ad-hoc blip

dap jitterbug creep back

blumpy jeep-jump platform

air-whack sandbag slack

on a beach panel parching

thick-sock thwack happy

scithy lace-burn dusting

to cheesy home hush

 

Guest Shoe Post by Rick Morton – The Most Awesome Shoes in the World

Prior to today, if you searched for The Most Awesome Shoes in the World on Google you would find a two pairs of Nike trainers under-  in searing pink and acid green respectively. Trainers are for running in or walking in.  Trainers are functional footwear. Trainers do not deserve the accolade of the Most Awesome Shoes in the World. So trainers run along now,  begone because from today if you Google The Most Awesome Shoes in the World you will (I hope) find this blog post. This blog post is about a pair of truly awesome shoes by one of the most awesome people on Twitter, Rick Morton. You can find him there and say hi. If you are shy or stunned into an awed silence  mosey on over to his blog The Ambiguity Report, Maybe.  You will be in for a the literary equivalent of a roller coaster ride so hang on tight.

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It was a moment of such ridiculous religiosity that for a brief point in time I thought I might have believed in Jesus.

That is, if he could turn water into this awesome pair of shoes.

These shoes, though they now look like something you would see a Mad Max extra wearing, were at one stage the height of fashion and I purchased them as my first foray into actually owning nice shoes.

Previously I owned sneakers and slip-ons and black work shoes of such a crushing mediocrity that they would have been quite readily adopted as the official footwear of underachievement.

But a gay man cannot go contrary to the central tenets of gaydom (there is no gay Kingdom, just a Queendom) and I needed some stylish shoes, pronto.

These unfortunate suckers were that pair.

They are a brown faux-leather shambles with what looks like the cartoonish imprint of a snake that has been steamrolled and plastered across the top of each.

They curl up ever so slightly at the toe, inviting you to put bells on the end and pretend to be an elf.

They are, for all intents and purposes, dead animal chic and I loved them dearly because they made me look like a cowboy and I had only recently seen Brokeback Mountain.

I wore them like Germaine Greer wears a chip on her shoulder: with pride and a disagreeable sense of awesome.

I wore them too much.

Occasionally I still wear them except the soles have had two rather large holes friction-burned into them after one too many disgraceful dance moves.

Prevent me from wearing them at all this tragedy has not, for they have simply become a ‘dry weather shoe’.

On occasion, I have been caught out as late night thunder clouds roll over and my socks get drenched.

If you have ever smelled the pungent ambience that is wet sock you will appreciate that there are worse fates in this world than wearing bad shoes, though not many.

This pair is criminally out of fashion.

In fact, I once got arrested while wearing them by the actual fashion police. Except they mentioned something about ‘public nuisance’ but I was too busy judging their belts to take any notice.

But you know how you have something so daggy and yet you love it anyway, like that old t-shirt, your husband, or your children?

That is the category into which these shoes fall – barely functional signals of yesteryear, a fashion relic preserved unwisely on my feet when I feel like wearing my brown belt.

These shoes have a history.

They’re my Waterloo.

They have been swimming in at least two water fountains on the Gold Coast, dropped over a balcony from a great height and fallen on to a highway at speed in circumstances I am not quite willing to reveal to anybody.

Yet.

They are not just little leather vessels into which I can slip my sexy feet (creative licence may or may not have been taken) but little open shoe jars in which I can store my memories.

I could, I suppose, take them to a shoe repairer to get those soles fixed, but that’s a little bit like going to a Yogi to get my soul fixed.

Original or nothing, baby.

I will wear these brown numbers until the day the soles give way completely and they become unwieldy ankle bracelets.

And it will be a sad day where I light candles and hold a footwear séance in the hopes they will make it to a nicer place.

They had damned well better, they’re a shoe-in after all.

Day 18 of the Shoe Challenge – On Shoe Clichés – Acrylic* Heels

Once upon a time  you could mention the words acrylic and heels in the same sentence without thinking of pole dancing. At that time (1995) I lusted after and acquired these Prada heels in one of Frasers New Years Day Sales.  (Such was my addiction to  those shoe sales that I only managed to pay off my Frasers card when we sold our house to emigrate to Australia.) Sadly, within about a month of buying these, the fashion pirates were churning out hollow, cheap versions of the same shoe.  Within a couple of years thereafter, the girlie magazines and the drag queens had requisitioned the acrylic heel and it become a cheap parody of itself, a travesty of titillation.

Over familiarity breeds contempt,  so it is worth remembering that in the early 90s PMMA handbags and shoes were considered quite futuristic and  avante garde. Designers were constructing traditional clothes in synthetic fabrics including as plastic, laminates, Lurex, and vinyl.  In 1997, the designer Alexander McQueen used a Perspex® catwalk for his ninth London Fashion Week collection filling it with water and ink,  while the models were drenched with rain.

Acrylic/PMMA is  an amazing material for shoe designers to work with. It  can be moulded to look like glass forms but  does not crack or chip as easily as glass. Scratches can be easily buffed out. From arcylic it is possible to fashion a wearable glass slipper.

Apparently the way to breathe new life into a cliche is to use it with irony.  Karl Lagerfeld pulled  this with off in a spectacularly controversial way with Chanels mid-season range. You may remember the Chanel Miami Vice shoes Madonna wore for the New York premiere of the film Filth. Nothing says look at moi or else quite like toting pistols around in your heels.

* Legal Alert: If it was not for this blog post I would not have realised that Perspex and Lucite are, in fact registered trade marks.  Shame on me.  As a result I thought rather than contribute to the generic demise of these marks I would refer to transparent thermoplastic used to make these heels by its common name. The chemical name for acrylic is, I discovered, Polymethyl methacrylate or PMMA and it is used to make all sorts of handy things other than shoes. This Legal Alert is dedicated to @Bearmancartoons in a (probably doomed) attempt to stop him whinging about the number of shoe posts in a law blog.)

Day 17 of the Shoe Challenge – Problematic Pumps

These black velvet pumps (by Bronx Shoes) were on sale. So  absolutely sure was I that I would be able to find something in the evening wear to match them with that I did not think twice about buying them.  How hard could it be to dress up black velvet? Thereafter I would gamely try to match the pumps up with a little evening number – a long  gown, a pair of tuxedo pants and a white shirt, a wee flirty knee length silk chiffon skirt & sparkly top.   The shoes outwitted me. Nothing worked with them – N O T H I N G.

The problem is, of course, the heel. It is a reasonably shapely heel but low slung and with no spikey evening promise credentials whatsoever. In other words, for night-time purposes these are entirely sensible  shoes.  For a long time I was so stumped  and perplexed by them that I relegated these problematic pumps to their box and forgot about them. If it was not for the Shoe Challenge they would still be there.

The trick with shoes is to match the heel height to the occasion.  These have a 3.5 inch heel which makes them just about perfect for office wear. So that was the key, trot them out during  daylight hour. The Problematic Pumps have since been matched with a short tight blue velvet dress and a silk Grecian Akira tunic.  The velvet has a cheeky shine during the daylight almost as if the shoes have managed to get one over on me. I know better.

Day 16 of the Shoe Challenge – Really boring boots?

You will remember that I am running out of time to write about boots & I do still have quite a few pairs to get through.  After about a week of really intense heat, it was a delight to wake up with goosebumps this morning (21 degrees centigrade people, that is cold for Sydney).  I got a bit excited at the prospect of wearing a pair of knee high black boots with a frock.  For those few male Caveat Calcei readers out there, wearing a frock and boots is the female equivalent of going to work in shorts and  tee-shirt, the time spent thinking about dressing and thereafter dressing is cut by half if not more. My sense of boots-induced well-being lasted well throughout my commute into the city. It lasted until I got to the office whereupon one of my colleagues announced loudly that my boots were boring. Can boots be boring? Are these boots boring? Should I simply hang up my keyboard now? Dear Shoe Jurors, please let me know what you think.

Guest Shoe Post by Jennifer Love Monroe – Shoe ‘ssues

She knits and she writes, like a woman possessed. This lady makes me laugh loudly and often.

My favourite Jennifer quotes include:

I have completely lost all blog traffic. Is it my breath? Please. Be honest.

Why isn’t there a tv show called So You Think You Can Write? I need someone to tell me I suck.

Does fish sauce go bad? How can you tell?

Remember the feeling a split second just before you kiss someone for the first time? When you’re drawing close & breathing hard? Yeah. That.

Occasionally, she makes me cry, more often than not when she writes about her day job. The thing is that Ms Monroe is a member of one of the noblest, oldest and most mysterious of vocations – she is a birth doula specialising in the delivery of  wonderfully made births. For those of you who are not familiar with the term,  a doula (occasionally called a birth attendant)  offers emotional and physical support to a woman and her partner before, during and after childbirth. Doulas are trained and experienced in childbirth and are usually mothers themselves. They  are not midwives and they are not nurses.  Had I known about doulas when I had the Noisy Boy, I might well have had a completely different (and less traumatic)  birth experience.  So when I read that one of her mothers has had an amazing birth, I stop and smile and wipe a wee tear away. Babies do that to you.

Anyway, enough of the soppy, floral stuff. You are all ordered to check out her writing on Twitter and on her blog Barely Knit Together forthwith as soon as you finish reading this blog post (if not before). Also, is working on a novel which you should all encourage her to finish via copies @ replies on Twitter.  At the time of writing she has 25,000 words down.  I have promised to buy her a pair of Zombie Stompers on publication.

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The Shoe Girl that I want to be

Warning: this will not be the kind of “crazy for shoes” post you’re used to from our lovely blogess host. No, I unfortunately, have what you might call shoe ‘ssues, or perhaps just all around problematic attire habits.

It’s not that I don’t want to get all sexpotted up on occasion. I like war paint and plunging necklines as much as the next gal. No, the problem is something more like…inertia.

I admire fancy shoes, am in fact drooling over those zombie beauties from the previous guest post, and dream of being Carrie in Sex and the City with her adorable little dresses and super high heels. I imagine striding into a room and having all eyes turn toward me, as I take control and…

Fall in a heaping jumble of limbs and backpacks. Yeah. ‘Cause I don’t carry a purse, I carry, well, we’ll call them bags. And the limits of my grace ended on the stage, where I used to perform with a ballet company. I was angelic on it, catastrophic off of it. It’s the difference between Pavlova and one of Pavlov’s dogs. Add on to that my general disdain for discomfort, and you have a recipe for something no one should be forced to accompany in public.

If I had a dime for every time my daughter threatened to call “What Not to Wear” on me, I could buy Manolo Beatnik, or whatever the hell his name is.

This is not to say I don’t own any high heels. I do. I own one. And I mean one, singular shoe, not one pair, because I can’t seem to find the other one. It’s as fancy as I’ve ever gotten, and it was a special treat for my hubby before he went to Iraq for a year. Can’t have him going off remembering me in my Converse Chucks now, can I?

I’ve included some pictures so you can fully embrace the horror that is my shoe wardrobe. Although, I am quite fond of the oxblood Sketchers boots with fishnet stockings. And the shoes that look as if they’re covered with pages from a graphic novel? They are. I did it.

The shoe person I am:

Sketchers Red Boots without the fishnets

Comic Book Shoes

So go, take heart. Know that you are goddesses among women with your smart heels and sexy calf shape. As for me, I shall lumber along in my clunky, thrift store shoes, and be thankful I don’t have to study law to support my habit.

Day 15 – Shoes or Sandals or Boots or What?

Shoes should be fun and interesting. Boring shoes are a pointless waste of leather. To this end,  I like to look at a pair of shoes and try to figure out the designers underlying design inspiration.   I suspect, in this case,  that the designer was quite enamoured of Scottish Highland Country Dancing shoes.

Now as you can see, Scottish Country Dancing Shoes are perfectly fine for having a wee burl through the Dashing White Sargent. One would not, however, want to be seen dead in them by the light of day.

Enter the Shoe of the Day, stage right. I have not been to the Riverside Club in Glasgow too many times, but if you ever make a journey to No Mean City (aka Glasgow) you will find that that mecca to ceilidh shenanigans is now gone. It was something a bit special, a bit odd and a bit out there in the Glasgow Club Scene. Just like that scene in Local Hero where the locals get up to all sorts of debauchery at the end of an evening of drinking and ceilidh dancing. Sláinte Mhath.

Day 14 – Prada Open Toed Silver Mules

It appears that we have yet another shoe addict in the family.  

My daughter, the Minx, has become quite enamoured of the Shoe Challenge. Of an evening while I am working on this blog she has a rare wee time to herself stepping in and out of my shoes, clomping about the kitchen and chortling mightily.  She also happily strikes a pose for photos, like this one that her dad took of her on Day 9.

I am experiencing a general increasing hostility from my daughter when my husband is around which probably means that she is in the nascent stages of an Electra Complex.  Notwithstanding this, I am hoping that instead of wanting to do away with me, she decides to join forces with me and bond over shoe shopping.Today, I was therefore delighted when she decided to make an appearance in the photo for the blog post today:

But for her intervention I would have nothing nice to say about these shoes other than that they are silver and that they are Prada.  They are possibly the most uncomfortable pairs of shoes that I own. Without fail, at the end of a day wearing these my toes resemble a washer woman’s fingers.   I think that this is the fault of the elasticated straps at the back. Like one size tights, one size shoe straps do no one any favours.  These are, however, are the closest thing to Barbie shoes that I possess, which may be why the Minx likes them.  Either that or she has her eye firmly fixed on the sharp heel and I should be taking a baseball bat to bed with me.

Day 13 Shoe Challenge – Really quite shiny boots

A little known fact about me (and my sister) – we once nearly got arrested after going to concert in the Glasgow  due to a pair of my boots.  These boots are not the boots that I was wearing at the time, in case you ask, I was wearing a pair of boots that I swapped for these.  Also, the fact that I was nearly arrested is probably all my mum’s fault. Let me explain.

I have a very clear memory of my mum dressed elegantly for a icy cold Montana winter day many years ago in a hand knitted Arran poncho and pair of  light coloured thigh high canvas boots.  Moving on a few years, every panto season at the Kings Theatre brought the visual spectacle of Glaswegian male actors dressed in womens clothing and pretty girls playing boys in long boots.  So for many years,  I had an unrealised hankering for very long boots.

When I was in Second Year at University, I picked up the Paisley Daily Express, not known for its in depth news coverage nor its cutting edge fashion spreads.  So it was quite a shock to check  out its Spring Fashion page on that day to see the model wearing one a very smart trench coat and a pair of tight, zip up, high heeled thigh length bright red boots.  Nowadays nothing would have possessed me to buy these or at least having bought them thereafter wearing them to tax lectures, shopping and so on.  However, at the time I thought I looked like Edie Sedgwick. Only shorter, not blonde and (I have to face facts) nowhere near as stylish.

Those red high boots had a curious effect on people – particularly Paisley people. No-one actually said anything to me, but I got the distinct feeling that the majority of people wanted to shout abuse at me or burn me at the stake.  It was not a comfortable feeling. The final death knell for those boots was rung after that fateful concert in the Barrowlands. My sister and I were standing outside the C&A on Argylle Street in Glasgow about 11.30 pm waiting for our dad to give us a lift home.   A police van slowly came to a stop and two members of the local constabulary asked us what we were up to.  It was all looking a bit tense until we explained that we had been attending The Damned concert  at the Barrowlands.

Not long afterwards the boots were put out to pasture, making an occasional appearance at the odd Halloween party.  Then one day a friend of mine offered to swap me these boots for the red ones. I agreed quickly then was a bit sad and a bit relieved to see them go.  These are much easier to run for buses in and I do not get quite so many angry villager looks when wearing them.

Guest Shoe Post by Amy Gray: Iron Fist Zombie Stomper Platforms

This week I am delighted, thrilled and honoured to have a shoe post from Amy Gray (@amoir on Twitter). My husband thinks that I have a huge crush on her. He is right.

Amy has just published a bloody good book “How To Be A Vampire” which is out now in Australian book stores and online. Please buy it immediately (I did), hurt your friends until they buy it, cry and threaten self-immolation at bookstores if they don’t stock it and compliment any person you see reading it on their fabulous taste.

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zombiestomperheelI hide my love of shoes. Point of fact, I cruelly deny it like some hairshirted Lutheran desperate to deny myself yet another indulgence (of which I already have too many). Generally, I find it impossible to find attractive shoes in Melbourne. This is possibly because I refuse to go searching or spending oodles of money, but also shows this windy city does not want me skittering about in towering inches of whimsy.

After an insane bout of working three contract jobs and writing a book at once (please refer to my previous point about hairshirts), I decided to treat myself to an online purchase at 3 o’clock one morning. I was quite possibly a bit manic at this point, so it seemed utterly logical to buy some fuck-off zombie heels from the adorably dark surf house, Iron Fist.

Their shoes are sublime. Whoever it is that designs their ladies line has earned some vodka and over-the-sweater action from me. Garish colours that are both aggressive and endearing, with beautiful imagery that could easily veer into tackdom but instead screams “Fuck off! Look at me!”

Strutting about in these babies on the street is huge fun. The reaction to them is priceless (some will chat with you about them, others will simply purse their lips) though my friends hate me for wearing them out as I walk slower than usual but quite frankly I am sure they’re just jealous. And so they should be. The shoes are fucking fabulous and come with teeth, rotting flesh and pretty black satin bows.

Strangely enough, buying the shoes made me realise my wardrobe was too puny to give adequate showcase to them so I ended up spending far too much money on designer dresses. They’ve converted and transformed me: I’m now a wriggling, strutting and occasionally stumbling mess of femininity.

After acquiring these magnificent undead beasties and dresses, I went over to Dublin and ended up gorging on shoes, buying another bag to bring them all home. European shoes are much more aligned to my personal style and, often, quite cheap. Gorgeous little spatzed felt ankle boots, petite black patent leather ballet points with heels and sculptural black canvas boots with a hidden heel (everything has a heel, I’m desperate for the calf-flattering). My fashion style has changed from cyber-street urchin-wanker to demented designer damsel.

Mind you, I can’t help but think of the shoes that got away: Pumas’ homage to Godzilla and cohorts. I desperately need to locate the Mothra sneakers lest they haunt my fetishistic dreams forever.
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