Wednesday, June 9, 2021


Unless you are super hard or super poor, all of us need some shoes on our feet, so as to protect our tootsies from the assaults of hot tarmac, wet mud, ground glass or dog poop. You name it, any of those can make a make a walk in the park anything but a walk in the park, as well as giving ample opportunity to strut your stuff or stamp your style. So, tonight I am going to be looking at the popular topic of shoes through the medium of popular song. (Well, I like 'em.)

Barefoot/Ray Collins Hot Club

Barefoot isn't shoes, but I can't resist this instance of unshoddery, so delightfully kitsch it is. Apparently the title track of a German film, thus Barfüss, it is by the Ray Collins Hot Club about whom I know nothing. So imagine my surprise as I discover they still exist and are still playing, having only come into being this century.

Men in Sandals/Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby

Ooof! Has there ever been a better exposition of the horror of men in sandals? DOI, here, I am actually quite partial to a sandal in the summer, although only ever paired with shorts or flappy linen trousers, as they don't go with else. And never, absolutely with socks, that peculiarly English affectation that curdles my blood. Wreckless Eric is a chap unlikely to take kindly to the sort of men who rock that particular folly, with his wife, Amy Rigby singing and explaining exactly why.

Bad Sneakers/Steely Dan

I never got the fancy trainers argument, all these megabuck sports shoes worn as a badge of one-upmanship. Wrong generation, I guess, my son still near needing a separate room to house his collection, at 13 his defined go-to essential in a family trip to NY in the 90s being the Nike Store. To me they are just plimsolls or gym shoes, not my bag at all. I don't see Becker and Fagen ever having been that keen either.

New Shoes/Paolo Nutini

Back at the beginning of his career, Scots-Italian singer Paolo Nutini was a simpler soul, the pleasure of some new leather sufficient to give him joy. And inspiration. With his heritage, I can see him in a pair of snakeskin winkle pickers, so his expectation to be walking to the break of dawn, blister free, may be optimistic.
Blue Shoes Stepping/The Bible

I have a pair of blue shoes. Not suede, I am afraid, but still quite natty. I like a fancy shoe, having also examples in green and red, but the blue ones were a mistake, pinching my toes and hobbling my gait. The blue shoes quoted here sound a bit more promising. The Bible never got quite as much acclaim as they deserved, despite boasting Kirsty MacColl's brother, Neil, and ace songwriter, Boo Hewerdine in the frontline. 

In These Shoes/Kirsty MacColl

Talking of Kirsty MacColl, perhaps this is the time to veer off into the world of women's shoes, a strange and mysterious money pit where any link between the number of feet and the number of shoes needed is of no connection or relationship. A single pair is never enough and Imelda Marcos the only upper limit. (And, funnily enough, there is a song about Imelda.)

Soul Shoes/Graham Parker & the Rumour

Finally, a song that really makes me smile, especially in this version, filmed decades after Graham Parker and the Rumour originally recorded it, showing exactly my style, a built for comfort ambience embracing the band from head to their soul shoes. Of course, the video never gets around to showing their feet, but I will bet the shoes on show would be well worn and battered, much like the band themselves appear. Marvellous.

It's all cobblers, innit?! My favourite.