Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Jeepers creepers

There’s been a bit of a rock’n’roll theme in some of my fellow bloggers’ posts lately and it chimed in neatly with a strange and sudden yearning to get myself a pair of… you may think I’m mad, but… a pair of creepers. 

Well, I was looking through one of my sketchbooks from the early 1980s and found these small drawings…




…and, I dunno why, but I got hooked on the idea of slipping my feet into a pair of crepe-soled shoes, at least before I get too much older.  Can a woman of my age get away with wearing such things, with narrow jeans and a leopard print coat?  Do I care?  Hmm...I don’t want to end up like one of those old ladies who should have given up the lipstick and leather decades beforehand  - there are always one or two in every town, aren’t there? -  and who turn heads for completely the wrong reasons.  But I think  - ok: hope - there’s still time for me to make a few last stands against middle-aged convention.

At least I can buy them off the internet now too.  Back at the time of my little drawings, purchasing such exotic items meant taking the train down to London and heading for the rather cramped and gloomy branch of Shelly’s at Foubert’s Place in Carnaby Street.  Inside, boxes of weird and wonderful footwear for all of us who wanted to make fashion statements with our tootsies were stacked precariously and in no obviously logical arrangement from floor to ceiling.   In Shelly’s I indulged my love of some black patent lace-up boots with impossibly pointy toes, not the sort of thing you could buy in a small town Stead & Simpsons at the time.  It was my boyfriend who bought the creepers then – purple ones, red ones, some with pointy toes too - to be accessorised with dayglo green or pink socks, which we could also only find in the city shops (far too outrageous for the provinces).

You didn’t have to be into traditional rock’n’roll to wear creepers.  Early ‘80s fashion seemed, to me anyway, to be mostly about hybrids.  It was natural to mix and match various influences: a bit of punk here, a bit of glam there, a mélange of several different decades' styles, combining kitsch with chic and old with new.  I had no qualms about wearing a yellow polka dot 1950s dress under a leather motorbike jacket, along with black woolly tights and monkey boots, for instance. And, when I think about it, there were a lot of hybrid inspirations in the musical backdrop of the time too.   Rockabilly earned new credibility with bands like the Polecats and the Stray Cats...


(Who couldn't fall in love with Brian Setzer's hair too?)
  
Anyway, the creepers are on order and I just hope I’ll like them when they get here.  At least if I find I'm not brave enough to wear them out I can Stray Cat Strut round the living room in them and pretend I'm seventeen again...

19 comments:

  1. What a fabulous idea! I'm sure you'll look great in them. I remember when massive 'brothel' creepers came back into fashion in the 70's...I expect Showaddywaddy and Mud had something to do with it. My parents would never let me have a pair and I was envious of my mates who did get them. Note - I'm not saying I liked Mud or Showaddywaddy, it's just the shoes that were good. Is that clear? They went well with punk fashions, too. I always thought John Lydon looked cool in them. I hope you enjoy yours. 'Runaway Boys' is simply wonderful.

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    1. Thank you! Ah I'd briefly forgotten about Showaddywaddy and Mud and the pastel coloured drapes and creepers look - what about Darts too?! - that pop rock'n'roll made quite a comeback in the mid 70s didn't it? But yes I love those pics of Lydon in them. Glad you like the song too.

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  2. For mere women of a certain age it might be a problem...but, not for you ma'am. Rock it.

    Freakin' Stray Cats...where's my itunes card?

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    1. You're a charmer, e.f. And I'm charmed!
      Thank you.

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  3. It's funny you should mention Brothel Creepers because I saw some in the shops in Birmingham the other week, haven't seen them in years! I can't remember which shop they were in but I did have a massive burst of nostalgia!!! My favourites back in the early 80's were always ballet pumps, they came back into fashion maybe 5/6 years ago and are still going strong... but now my knees are shot I can't ear them anymore :o(

    I hope you have fun on your bouncy crepe soles and to be honest, I would rather be the inappropriately dressed "Lady of a Certain Vintage" than the "old before her time, lost all her joie de vivre, Beige Bessie"! Go Girl ;o)

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    1. I hadn't seen them in any shops out here but maybe they'll catch on...? Though, to be honest, I hope they don't catch on tooooo much and suddenly become the thing that everybody's wearing! That would sort of miss the point - I'm sure you know what I mean!
      I like that about the lady of a certain vintage, Yve - absolutely right - we must refuse to grow old!

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  4. I've owned two pairs in my life, both purchased at the dawn of the 1980s. One, an amazingly, ludicrously, eye-wateringly expensive pair from Robot on the Kings Road and the others second-hand from a guy selling bits & bobs on a street-corner in a pre-gentrification Camden Market, which cost me all of £3. I'm sure you're way ahead of me in guessing which pair were the longest lasting and most comfortable!

    I hope you'll keep us posted when your creepers arrive and that they are that perfect balance - comfy & cool!

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    1. Ah so you've had the creeper experience... very cool!
      Mine have just arrived. They are so cute (I've only ever seen them in mansize before now!)

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  5. I thought of you the other day when I was idling in Office...some lovely creepers there, and of COURSE you can (and must) wear them.
    Shelly's was the ultimate High Temple of the Shoe, wasn't it...I got a fantastic pair of Siouxsie Sioux thigh boots there that I wore to death...and I'll never forget the old City Gent who slyly tried to stroke them on the train to Liverpool Street one morning. Hmm. Not a style I'll be adopting again, but I'm with you in contemplating the Creeper.

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    1. Ah, thanks for your encouragement - you are of course partly responsible for my final decision to buy them!! (And I'm not regretting it)
      Oh, you were brave to wear Siouxsie Sioux boots - wow! I'm very envious - of the boots, and of the fact you dared to wear them, but not so much of the City Gent's attentions...although, can you blame him? ;-)



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  6. Go for it ! Ah, Shelly's - spent many hours in there and did get to know Shelly after she returned to the shop one day and regaled us with her tale of indignation at having been arrested for having her display rack on the pavement and then held in a cell with prostitutes after giving Plod some lip. I think I paid her fine many times over with the number of pairs of Jam shoes I bought from there....

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    1. Thanks - and what a story about Shelly. I don't think I ever knowingly met her but she must be quite a character.

      I bet you remember 'Melanddi' too, eh?

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    2. Ah Melanddi - I haven't thought about that yellow polka dot button down for years....with good reason....

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    3. ...Sounds like it could have gone well with my yellow polka dot dress, though.. (Must've been an '80s thing!)

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  7. does anyone have an old melanddi catalogue?

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    1. Afraid I can't help you there!

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  8. HI from Oztralia. I have some unused 1984 Melanddi black leather twin buckle and grey suede single buckle and strap Sz7. Cant find a price so cant find a buyer

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    1. Hi, they sound great... maybe someone will stumble upon this comment and reply to it.. keep checking!

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    2. Hi reviewing: I did buy these in England in August 1984 and wore out a pair of lace ups but the black leather with twin buckle I still have along with the grey single buckle and strap both in Sz7 and as new as you can’t get now 31 years later almost 32 years. Was it a period thing like the 10 hole double buckle and straps Dr Martens and the England World Cup Winners 1966 mirror I purchased in Carnaby St for 10 GBP (my key board only has $AU). 10 GBP was a lot of in ‘84

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