Sunday, November 15, 2009

STANDING ON A BEACH WITH A GUN IN MY HAND...

Precisely 20 years ago I was the 13 year old owner of: classic black 8 hole Dr Martens, Doc Martens shoes, many pairs of Chelsea boots: one black, two oxblood (bought from a riding school to ensure authenticity) a pair of cut down Chelsea shoes and my favourites - a black pair of Chelsea boots I got a cobbler to put 2 inch heels on, thus creating that first flush of teenage smugness at having something everyone at school wanted but couldn't buy and could only attain by blatantly copying my idea. Then there was the biker boot phase, the only ones of the above I still have, and still can't bring myself to wear (too many connotations) or part with. But all of those shoes: practical, authentic, timeless in some ways.

I don't mind the '90s revival at all, as I've mentioned here before. Good memories. But the late '80s - early '90s were my very early teens and a dark place that was. Not your usual half arsed teenage angst. So it may have taken two decades to look at my boot of choice back then as...just boots.

I said I'd never buy them again, but 20 years later I find myself buying a pair of Dr Martens. Don't misunderstand: I groaned when Daisy Lowe started fronting the ad campaign a couple of years ago and Aggy was wearing them with ballgowns. It was kind of like, oh that. Kids today huh? Not going there again. As this summer waned I felt unmoved by any fashion-y shoes and had my eye on a pair of RM Williams dealer boots that I thought might be practical, comfy and low key for winter. But then...


At what's left of Borough Market I'm distracted by a girl's feet - just for half a second. They're Doc Martens boots all right, but more subtle: slightly pointed with a flap of fringed leather at the front. An hour later I'm in the DM shop being told they were from spring summer 09 and are no longer available. And no longer a fashion choice in any way, which is perfect. Later that night in a haze I search the internet for stray leftover stock in my size but can only find them in white. I'm not going that far. Eventually I find a pair in black on an extremely dodgy looking site I've never heard of and take the plunge, giving out my credit card details to what may be an internet crime ring praying on unsuspecting sold out shoe addicts.

Now I can see the connections: 1. my sudden interest in Depeche Mode and watching 101 (which was 20 odd years ago) with them all wearing Doc shoes with white socks. Also, the Anton Corbijn promos from 1987 are really inspiring me. 2. My car CD player breaking, leading to me dragging out a box of cassette tapes from the depths. I haven't started listening to The Cure yet, but it's only a matter of time. As long as I don't get it into my head to complete the journey by indulging in any mind bending recreational pastimes, I don't think re-visiting this era in a purely sartorial sense is such a bad thing.

...Except that I actually feel moderately sick after opening the vault, as it were, and writing this. Don't worry, the Docs will be worn with my Baby I'm a Star dress - I'm not planning to disappear head first into the teenage abyss completely.

4 comments:

If Jane said...

great post!
oh how bizarre!! i swear you and i were/are on the same surf board or we had some cross ocean conversation in our heads...heheh
i have reaaaaaaally been thinking about all of these things. no i don't think i could go back to wearing docs (and i had two pairs and both were bought in england!!!)
but my sartorial memories can be reduced to footwear...but instead of dm's, i have riding boots in my head...and short lace up boots...

Wendy said...

Have you seen these??http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=34544970

Lola Is Beauty said...

Wendy - ah, yes good idea, would be easy to make. But I need the boots as well!

andrea said...

oh my. I remember my black docs. Reading this I could even remember the way they smelled, they felt.. My mother bought herself a pair too - what a nice memory you brought forth for me! xo