Saturday, 8 December 2007
In the past I have had scathing things to say about Uggs, and of course quite right too. The sight of teenage girls in London this summer shuffling along Oxford Street in bare legs and shapeless pieces of dead sheep on their lower extremities, was enough to make me want to shake them and cry, is the world of Jimmy Choo dead to you? But teenage girls' insistence on wearing Bad Shoes, shoes their mothers would not wear, is a fact of sartorial education. They have to pass through it. A decade ago, you couldn't get the girl out of trainers.
In my own life, things are moving in a disturbing direction. I have always gloried in Difficult Shoes, I'm a high-heel girl, but for somewhat serious (though not life-threatening) medical reasons with which I will not bore you, I am now forced to consider the comfort of my feet. Euw, as the Americans say. Really forced, for in Difficult Shoes I can no longer walk, which is not to say that I cannot balance, it is that after ten minutes I start limping.
And so I came to the catalogue of the Celtic Sheepskin Company, from which I reluctantly bought some slippers, and found that I was spending the day walking on a thick sheepskin rug. After a lot of nervous equivocation, I bought a pair of mid-calf length boots with ribbon laces.
Last Saturday my nephew, known to you as Off Tha Cuff, came round and pronounced them cool. I asked if I looked as if I was going to Glastonbury, and he said, cuttingly, 'No, you don't look like someone who goes to Glastonbury.'
What has now happened is that the Celtic Sheepskin Company has become a guilty addiction and I have bought another pair of their boots.
I am prepared to state they have pushed the boundaries of style and you could hardly call these Uggs at all (indeed legally you aren't allowed to).
I save my Difficult Shoes for parties now. I am determined my sheepskin feet will not leave the neighbourhood. But in no circumstances will this lead to Crocs.
Pankaj Mishra in the Guardian writes one of the better pieces, I think about writers and artists becoming exercised about Islam and warns against writers becoming seduced by their worst enemy, cliche:
It is a depressing spectacle - talented writers nibbling on cliches picked to the bone by tabloid hacks. But, as Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr pointed out, the "men of culture", with their developed faculty of reasoning, tend to "give the hysterias of war and the imbecilities of national politics more plausible excuses than the average man is capable of inventing". The "public conversation" about Islam proposed by Amis should not be avoided. Its terms have already been set low, and the bigger danger is that it will be dominated by an isolated and vain chattering class that, rattled by a changing world, seeks to reassure us by digging an unbridgeable trench around our minds and hearts.
Her vespers done,
Of all its wreathed pearls her hair she frees;
Unclasps her warmed jewels one by one;
Loosens her fragrant bodice; by degrees
Her rich attire creeps rustling to her knees John Keats 1795-1821