Wednesday, May 28, 2008
You may be wondering why, while discussing form and function in relation to Chartres, I failed to mention cowboy boots. While in Joshua Tree on the holiday phase of my Grand American Tour, I came across a hippie shop selling second hand cowboy boots. Customers were evidently rare - they were delighted to see me - and customers who found a pair of boots that fitted were even rarer - 'Wow! That never happens!' And so, for $48, I bought a pair of dead man's boots; I would guess they cost around $500 new. I had previously wondered, while watching No Country for Old Men, how actual people rushed about the desert in these boots. I now discovered why - they are uncannily comfortable and amazingly cool (in both senses). Fired up by this, when I got to a cowboyish city I bought a new pair - even more comfortable - and then ordered a custom made pair - that's me being fitted - which will arrive at the end of August. I now intend, if possible, never to wear anything else on my precious feet. One London friend was shocked - 'but they have those bits that rise up your legs.' Well, I suppose they might get me ejected from certain gentleman's clubs in St James, but I have always maintained that no gentleman belongs to a gentleman's club. A New York gay friend told me they were 'gay', but I've given up trying to decipher what that means or why it should be a problem. The form-function point is that the appearance of cowboy boots is capriciously decorative and even the shape of the foot piece looks wrong. But, when worn, they make perfect sense. A rigorously formal approach to footwear design would never have come up with this. If you're wearing anything else - well, don't.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 6:37 am