Monday, 31 August 2009

Monsieur Pantouflard's Big Night Out

Never let it be said that modern life cannot be exciting. After an otherwise uneventful Friday, and much to my surprise, I finished the day at a concert wearing my slippers.

I’ll admit that the occasion (the Lucksmiths performing
their penultimate ever show before calling it a day) and the venue (the Thornbury Theatre, a thoroughly unmodern and spectacular ballroom whose bar is carpeted, with sofas and armchairs and looks like my Aunty Lil’s living room) were highly conducive to a spot of extra-domicile slipper-wearing success, but still the comfy-thrills were quite visceral.

I hadn’t intended on wearing my slippers out but having come home and put them on I was loathe to take them off again. Mrs Custard suggested no one would notice anyway and then she turned it into a dare which, like
Marty in Back to the Future, I was not going to turn down.

It’s funny how when we are self conscious we can convince ourselves that everyone is staring and making mental notes to come over and kill us at some point. They usually aren’t. Once safely past the shoe-fascist door bitch (to be fair she was lovely, very helpful and appeared not to notice my indoors-outdoors soft-shoe-shuffle, but that doesn’t make for good drama does it?) I hid behind the safety of a big comfy couch and did my best to shield my slippers from view. After a while I realised that most people had more important things on their minds, like love and law and poetry, than a silly looking man seemingly in need of help getting dressed of an evening.

As it was, most people’s minds were on the Lucksmiths who were quite marvellous. That said, given the occasion this didn’t feel much like a goodbye gig. They played two great sets, but it wasn’t until near the very end (after a triumphant T-Shirt Weather) that the crowd seemed to remember that this was pretty much it. Perhaps people were overwhelmed by the venue (described adroitly by bass player Mark as ‘the inside of a wedding cake’) which whilst spectacular wasn’t very intimate. I’m sure Saturday night’s show at the Corner with Darren Hanlon was a more emotional affair.

And so, after a lovely closing rendition of Fiction (accompanied by Mr Hanlon on banjo) they were gone - another
Candle snuffed out by time and tide and the fact that Austereo perpetuates the idea that it’s OK to have rubbish taste in music. Boo sucks to them, but more importantly yay to the Lucksmiths for existing in the first place and writing lots of lovely songs about girls and weather and the seasons and travel and doonas and life and for letting me enjoy your (almost) final gig in the comfort of my slippers.

Post-Script: For any slipper fanciers, chaussuristes and foot fetishists, this season I favour the Grosby
Christian in chocolate. Whilst I’d prefer a more secular shoe, it offers a solid non-slip sole, a comfortable plush inner fur lining and a stylish yet soft suede-feel upper that goes well with both types of trouser: corduroy and pyjama. Rock on.

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