Sunday, November 20, 2011

Put your best foot forward…

I’m off to see the West Australian Ballet perform Cinderella today, so naturally my thoughts have turned to shoes.

I’ve often wondered how, if Cinders’ shoes fit her so well she was the only one who could wear them, she came to lose one in her midnight flight. Maybe the high heels had gotten too much to dance in, so she’s taken them off to keep on boogeying with the Prince. Just as well she didn’t try this in a Canberra night club, the bouncers would have threatened to evict her if she didn’t put them back on “right now!” I possibly know this from first hand experience.

Thanks to the fairy godmother known as Internet shopping, I have the perfect foot attire for today’s performance. I will be donning my fabulous John Fluevog yellow maryjanes, shoes that blends style, fun and comfort in one delightful package.

I discovered Fluevogs last year, whilst shopping along Chapel Street in Melbourne. Only a few shops stock them in Australia and only in a limited range, but fear not shoe lovers, the Fluevog website has a cornucopia of choices. A visit is a wonderful way to while away a few hours,

As you can tell I love shoes, it’s one of the factors that identifies me as an inhabitant of the Bridget Jones-Carrey Bradshaw ghetto (work in PR/have a mountain of shoes boxes in my cupboard/insert your own conclusions about the state of my love life here). Browsing through a book store or shoe shop always puts me in a good mood. If only I could find a shop that stocks both.

And I’m not fickle in my shoe love either, I take good care of each and every pair, careful to polish and repair my darlings regularly. It can’t be a coincidence that in addition to Cinderella my favourite fairystory was the Shoemaker and the Elves; I can’t tell you how entranced I was when the poor shoemaker would awake each morning to find the worn-out footwear of the towns people transformed into rows of shining shoes.

Even when a pair of favourite shoes can’t be repaired anymore and have to go to the Great Bookmaker in the Sky, I still keep them. One particular pair of favourites was the camel-coloured cowboy boots that stood me (yes, pun intended) in such good stead for many years. Sadly a year in Edinburgh made them a victim to the ravages of the centuries’ old cobble stones of High Street, so they were given an honourable retirement and shipped home to Australia. Today they nestle in a soft coth bag at the top of my wardrobe, with my collection of vintage fashion, waiting to become the Heather Collection that will grace museums around the world (it’s going to happen I tell you!).

At the time I packaged up my beloved boots I wrote them a small eulogy, which I’d like to share with you…

These boots were made for walkin’ (a melancholy day in May 2008)

It is with a sad heart I remove my beloved caramel cowboy boots for the last time. Sadly cuban heels and soles can, and have, been replaced, but there is no cure when the leather tears away.

Ah beautiful cowboy boots made in Italy. You are truly Spaghetti Western Boots and, like those movies, I have reveled in your kitschness. We both knew we'd never go to a Texan ranch, but we'd look fabulous if we ever did.

Seeing and winning you in that E-bay auction was a triumph. I knew there was a risk in buying you that way. Would you fit? Would you be comfortable? But from the moment I unpacked your buttery softness and slid you on to my foot, all doubts were swept away, Cinderella herself could not have been more delighted. 

We were together that glorious day in Melbourne when we met Anthony Stewart Head, and I am convinced that had you been with me a year earlier when I met James Marsters, he would have propsed on the spot.

Over the past 12 months we've bonded even closer, so far from home. You've protected me against the freezing chill of a Scottish summer and we've roamed the cobbled stoned streets of Edinburgh together. You were with me when I met Olivier for that first interview to work at the Edinburgh International Film Festival; arranging a meeting via text Olivier asked how would he recognise me? "I'll be wearing a black skirt and camel cowboy boots," I texted back. "I think I'm going to like this girl," he said. 

Boots, we've danced the night away, at the Fringe Festival Paint the Town Red Party where I slipped and pulled my dance partner on top of me. It was wasn't your fault boots, the blame lies with a treacherous bottle of red wine that had found its way into my possession. I was painting myself red. 

And the dancing has gone on, from an evening cruise down the Seine, to hip-hopping in Rotterdam. Given my height we may not have stood tall but we've stood proud. Good times boots, good times. 

You've earnt your rest boots, you've earnt your honourable discharge.

But not for you the indignity of the garbage bin, no you'll be lovingly packaged up and sent home to pride of place in that burgeoning costume museum of my life. There you'll be a reminder of what life is about: good times with friends, travels, nights of dancing and, of course, stalking James Marsters. 

That'll do boots, that'll do.

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