Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Theme Thursday : Three Shoes

It's Theme Thursday again and this week the theme is "shoe". In working out how to interpret the theme I came up with three ideas but couldn't decide between them. So I have finished up with three shoes all walking in different directions! Story of my life really.
Shoe 1 : Cordwainers
If you search through the lists of London Livery Companies you will not find any cobblers. Nor will you find any bootmakers or shoe repairers. You will find worshipful companies of apothecaries, blacksmiths, carpenters and fishmongers. You will even find fan makers, bowyers, girdlers and skinners. So what have feet done wrong? Do feet smell too much to have a guild and a guildhall? Do the pewterers, plumbers and patternmakers refuse to sit down with a trade that is more at home in the gutter, or at least on the neighbouring pavement?
The answer is more prosaic : you are simply looking for the wrong trade. You should be searching for the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers. According to the splendid little website of the Cordwainers' Company, the word ‘cordwainer’ comes from the ancient Spanish leather centre of Cordoba where the Arabs used an alum dressing process on goatskin to produce a fine white leather that became known as ‘cordovan’ or ‘cordwain’. So the chap who makes your shoes is not a cobbler. The kids who sew your trainers in far off China are not shoemakers. They are all cordwainers. You do discover some interesting things on Theme Thursday don't you!
Shoe 2 : The Shoe Store
One of the most difficult things about shoes is storing the blasted things. If your house is anything like ours, the floors tend to be littered with stray shoes, sometimes in pairs, sometimes divorced from their "sole-mate". Occasionally they will get gathered up and thrown into a cupboard or hidden below the staircase. But then you can't find your best leather brogues or your trusty comfy trainers. What is needed is a shoe storage system : a filing cabinet for the feet.
I was having these strange thoughts the other day when all of a sudden I spotted an advert in the back of the Guardian Magazine. Available from a firm called Tszuji which, believe it or not, specialises in shoe storage solutions, the Shoe Wheel "spins free from the traditional shoe rack" and provides an "ingeniously designed mobile shoe storage unit". I immediately desired one but was slightly put off by the price (£65!). However, if my wife ever gets around to reading this perhaps she could make a note as there are now only 156 shopping days until Christmas.
Shoe 3 : Walkin' Shoes
I have to confess that the first thing that came to mind when I saw the theme for this week was Gerry Mulligan's recording of the tune "Walking Shoes". There is an excellent clip of Mulligan, Zoot Sims and Bob Brookmeyer playing it at a concert in Rome in 1956. As I try to walk away in my three different shoes in three different directions, I will leave you with Gerry Mulligan and the rest doing the same thing much more stylishly.
See how other bloggers have dealt with this week's theme by following these links.

23 comments:

  1. yeah, i've got one nice black dress shoe in my closet...my shoes are behaving like my socks!

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  2. That shoe wheel looks like it could double for a house fan, but maybe the shoes would fly out and kick you. Hmm.

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  3. I'd never heard of a cordwainer...see, I learn something new every time I come over here! :) I'll go now...with that Walking Shoes song stuck in my head....

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  4. Thanks for the etymology re: cordwainer!

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  5. Thanks for the great meander... Jayne

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  6. Have not seen this shoe wheel and it IS intriguing! Despite the fact that I own several pairs of shoes I don't think that wheel would fit nicely in my closet!!
    Great TT!

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  7. The shoe wheel looks like a bunch of shoe hampsters getting some exercise...

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  8. great play on the theme. the merry go round of shoes...ha. are they stackable?

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  9. Wow. You learn something new every theme Thursday. Thanks for the info on Cordwainers and the view of the shoe wheel, I wonder how well it works.

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  10. Yes, you are absolutely right, one does learn very interesting things on Theme Thursday.

    I too really like the newly designed shoe catcher. By week's end I have a nice pile of shoes 6-7 pair waiting just inside the front entry way to be put away come Saturday morning.

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  11. Heh, heh! One of Harlan Ellison's pseudonyms was Cordwainer Bird; he used it when writing for certain pulp magazines which would have caused contractual problems for him if he'd written under his own name.

    And speaking of stylish, that's quite a stylish number by Gerry Mulligan and friends. Jazz freak that I am, "Walking Shoes" never even crossed my mind for today!

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  13. Cordwainer! Occasionally I do a sarcastic "words you may not know" blurb... cordwainer is definitely going into that one.

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  14. Boy, you have alot of blogs!!!! This was informative and entertaining. Love the Mulligan video.

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  15. Came over here from chez Chairman Bill and am glad I did so. Have been thinking ever since of you in the pub with ear trumpets and the soft shoe shuffle. Gives a good blog link that man Bill.
    I shall be back. However, I feel it best to warn you that I have a tendency to do the Call My Bluff thing with the word verifications. You have now been "toldso", which is today's.

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  16. Thanks for all the comments. I am working my way through the rest of this weeks entries. Apologies if I haven't got to yours yet.

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  17. kapgaf
    I have turned the word verification off - I didn't even realise it was on. I find them annoying as well. But they occasionally give you some wonderful words and phrases. I had one of Facebook the other day which was "emphasized racoon". Priceless

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  18. Alan nice and informative post. and those guys really swing, in that video! That shoe rack looks like some took the insides out of a floor fan. Bet you could make one for under 10 quid!

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  19. Great music--& very enjoyable post--loved the observations about shoe storage & the cordwainer background.

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  20. Hi Alan,

    Nice to meet you. Very interesting info on shoes. At first I thought cordwainer was the brand name of the shoes and thought I had never heard of that kind of shoe. But now I know better.

    I do like the little shoe storage fan and it looks interesting and seems it would be fun to own it. But I guess the real cost would be in shipping it over here to the USA.

    The music was great, I do not remember hearing that song. I am not sure if they showed it over here in the US.

    Thank you for sharing it with us and teaching us a few things about shoes. And I would like to see you walk in three directions with your shoes on. Do you have 3 feet. Hmmmmm. Really strange to be able to do that.

    God bless.

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  21. those heels are cute. if i didn't hate shoe shopping so much, i'd have to consider getting a pair

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  22. Ha I'm little late catching up with the TT peeps but you're right, I learn a lot from the Theme Thursdays. Fortunately, I don't have a lot of shoes so storage isn't an issue!

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  23. Very interesting. Lot of info I have not known before. Thanks for the history lesson.

    I think you would like the facts I posted as well.

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