Last Friday night our Fedora Strings’ duo played for the Shoe Heaven event at Northampton Museum and Art Gallery. Northampton has the largest collection of shoes in the world and the examples on display ranged from the exquisite and historically fascinating (Nijinsky’s ballet shoes and Roman sandals looking as modern as anything you’d find in a shop today) to the macabre ( tiny shoes for Chinese women with bound feet which must have meant the wearer’s movement was cruelly limited.)
We’d been given a free choice of music to perform and Roger had arranged Elvis Presley’s Blue Suede Shoes for the occasion. We also chose appropriate lighter music such as Puttin’ on the Ritz, Let’s Face the Music and Dance and I Could Have Danced All Night which we followed with several Beatles’ numbers. We divided the playing into three sections: Light, Folk and Classical. Everything was our own sheet music arrangements for string duo and most of the pieces we can also play as wedding quartet music.
Some of the more bizarre shoe designs were shaped so weirdly that it made me question the significance of shoes in general, apart from basic foot protection. While I certainly think it’s good if shoes are imaginative and attractive, they clearly mean more to women than they do to men. I once heard someone say that you can tell what a woman thinks about herself by observing the kind of shoes she wears. I doubt that that’s entirely true, but I bet no one would even suggest it about a man.