Oct 6, 2011

Shoes. The Slap. Other News.

I have a complicated and at times irrational relationship with my shoes. 

I have a wardrobe full of fancy designer shoe boxes containing some beautiful heels that I can wear only when the weather and function meet strict criteria.  These criteria are: clear skies, minimal walking on pavement / grass / wooden or marbelled floors and minimal walking in general.  I actually see some logic in the Park Avenue Princess way of life in which the wearing of impossibly high heels all day is made possibly only by having a driver on hand all day and possibly a solidly built bouncer to carry you from car door to venue door.  Yes, I'm one of those people that loves admiring her shoes more than actually wearing them. 

So, what is a girl to do in the real world beyond Park Avenue?  She has a trusted few pairs of rubber soled, extra arch support, extra width flats that she wears on high rotation 362 days of the year.  Unfortunately, all of these shoes went to the comfort shoe wheelie bin in the sky this weekend and I had to hit the shops for replacements.  Which is how I found myself at .... Peter Sheppard

There's no denying it, my feet are much older than the rest of me.  Even so, it was a pleasant surprise to find the store full of shoes that were just what I wanted.  Well made, comfortable flats that do reference fashion but not at the sake of comfort.  Yes, the prices are fairly high but you do get shoes that you know your feel will love from the first wear.  Most are made in Europe and have sturdy soles with proper lining that you know will last.  So the issue of having to Topy sole your new shoes won't be an issue for at least a year or so of continuous wear.

My favourite shoes at the moment are these red Sazzo flats by a French brand called Arche.  They are made of an incredibly soft leather and nubuck and have a synthetic sole with good grip.  All in all, a perfect shoe for work.  I've tested my Sazzos out on many different terrains this week - rutted unsealed bitumen carpark, sidewalks, lino, cement stairs, grass and supermarket aisles and these red flats do it all with ease.

Image courtesy of http://www.smh.com.au/

Did you know that QANTAS is going to Paris Fashion Week in search of new staff uniforms?  Apparently, the big names such as Akira, Collette Dinnigan and Richard Tyler will all be courted for their take on a new uniform.  Which is a shame because I quite like the current uniforms.  They're familiar, reference Australian themes and say QANTAS to me.  It's ironic that the airline is trying to redesign its uniforms on one hand yet they are trying to rediscover 'core values' with expensive advertising campaigns on the other.  All the while trying to all sorts of interesting things that will see the bulk of the airline's jobs heading offshore.....  If the dollar is the bottom line then why bother with all of this window dressing?

I'm going to end today's post with the thing everyone in Australia is talking about.  The Slap.  The new television series on ABC1 based on the multiple award winning novel by Christos Tsiolkas.  I'm halfway through the novel which I started to read in anticipation of watching the series which boasts a very strong Australian cast including Melissa George as Rosie and Alex Dimitriades as Harry.  I was pleasantly suprised to find this modern Australian novel in Kindle form to be honest.

After a steady diet of post traumatic chick lit, reading 'The Slap' has been a visceral experience.  It is a confronting novel about life in comfortably middle class Australia.  The novel explores the aftermath of an incident at a barbecue.  The 'slap' of the title was given by a male adult to a child that was going to hurt the adult's children.  Tsiolkas as structured the rest of the novel around each main character's perception of what happend that afternoon in the context of their own lives. 

Yes, one of the ongoing threads of the plot is working out 'whose side' each character is on but the novel also explores the relationships of each character to one another in the context of an Australian surburban landscape that is both more real and culturally charged than what the writers of Packed To The Rafters would lead us to believe about ourselves. 

'The Slap' is about 'everyday Australians' and the diversity of this term is fully explored with each chapter.  It  is about a woman who breastfeeds her four year old son.  It is about men who physically and emotionally abuse their wives.  It is about a woman who does not want her pregnancy and does all she can to end it.  It is about men who do hard drugs and carry on their lives around this with varying degrees of success.  It is about men and women trying to reconcile the past in Australia or from their home countries with the current in surburban Melbourne.

Tsiolkas writes in way that is a perfect fit for interpretation into film.  He paint characters in such a vivid way.  He really does get 'under the skin' of each character.  They are defined not just by what they say and how they say it but also by their mannerisms, thoughts and reactions.  The language at times is crude but entirely apropriate for the character.  Observations are made through the characters that many of us can identify with but may be too ashamed to say out loud to our own friends.

The Australian surburbia we see in 'The Slap' is both ugly and beautiful.  Normal people who are leading life as best they can in a world that has dealt them all kinds of insults.  An abusive relationship, death, substance abuse, infidelity.  Yet there are also acts of self sacrifice and signs of inner beauty.  Both young and old have their lives touched by this potent mixture of reality.

I was also facinated by how Australia's multi cultural present is portrayed in 'The Slap'.  At times ethnicity and religious differences are a cause for conflict and at times it is brushed aside but still acknowledged.  Not necessarily as an issue that is simmering away and threatening to explode but it is always present.

As relevant and as thought provoking as this novel is, I don't think there will be a single state brave enough to have this novel on their Year 12 English Literature syllabus.  It really is a novel that every Australian should read.

This is a novel I am finding difficult to put down but I would like to read it as the television format is aired in real time.  How are you going to discover 'The Slap'?  TV series after book, just one or the other or like me?


  1. How are you? I loved the Slap- couldn't put it down. x

  2. I love the Brisbane city Peter Sheppard store too. Arche are amazing and I love them. I bought a pair of arche flat suede boots once and they are such a comfy shoe. Great purchase and fab colour! Fifi

  3. Peter Sheppard in Melbourne is also fabulous.

    I absolutely loathed The Slap. Could not relate to the mean spirited characters or the way they spoke or the way they reacted to events. I disliked the whole nasty tone of the book. Horrible and unrealistic.

  4. I also loved The Slap, but found that quite a few people didn't... I'm looking forward to watching the TV show.

  5. HI SSG- The Slap IS on the Victorian High School Syllabus- my sister has taught it for a few years now- It is a fantastic read!


  6. Welcome to my life. As much as I love my bajillion pairs of Mius, Loubies and other designer shoes, the comfy, well fitting flats are the ones that get the most use in my wardrobe. And when I find them in shops, it's like angels singing the Hallelujah Chorus.

    I recoded the Slap - I think I'll watch it on Sunday. I hve it on my Kindle and have elected to read it after watching it. Not ideal but I ran out of time to read it beforehand.

    K xx

  7. Thanks fro the reminder for the slap! Being OS for 3 weeks, I missed the promos for it, and see I missed EP1, though iview to the rescue!

    I was given the novel for Christmas break reading last year, and the novel's title is a metaphor for how I felt at times reading about the characters, as it just quite confronting. I did very much enjoy it though, as it took my thinking into areas that I hadn't explored previously.

  8. I REALLY need to read The Slap.
    Last night I watched the 1st ep and I'm totally drawn into it. LOVED it.

    Can't wait for next week!


  9. Thanks for the heads up on Peter Sheppard. I am looking at the site right now.

    I love my Loubies, but gosh they are uncomfortable. I don't understand the women who swear them to be the most wearable heels they've ever put on their feet. I don't need to tell myself such lies to justify the cost! Haha...they're pretty and expensive, and yes they hurt!

  10. I loved the Slap, what I loved about it was the diversity of the characters - it is not often you see such culturally diverse casts in Australian TV. I also liked seeing the tangled web of these people - everyone has someone to hide. Thanks for your review. Can't wait for Thursday.

  11. I'm the same way with my 'nice' shoes too, it drives my husband crazy!

    The Slap sounds very interesting, downloading ep 1 now! Thanks for the rec!

  12. ozjane: thanks for the clarification. Been a while since I had anything to do with high school reading lists. They've come such a long way!

    SSG xxx

  13. I watched The Slap last weekend. thoroughly loved it!!

    shoes wholesalers


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