Why, you ask, is everyone wearing Chucks?

After the honesty of Blair’s post (the fanboy in me doesn’t know which is more disturbing – that I understand everything he says, or that he rates Generations as a good example of a Star Trek film!!) I thought I’d answer a question I’m sure Henry V audiences were asking: what’s with the Converse advert?

After a decade of wearing Docs, I bought a pair of red shoes in May 2007. I’m actually quite shy, and I hate clothing that draws attention – for years I was black trousers, logo-less tops and dark coat, with all-purpose Doc boots rounding out the non-descript ensemble. I embraced my love of stripes at the turn of the century, but the red Chucks were a HUGE step and they transformed me – suddenly I felt light, bouncy and happy and my feet didn’t perpetually hurt. And my red Chucks gave me such joy that I suddenly started noticing Chucks everywhere – all over town and all through popular culture. Soon I was trying different colours – blue! black! green! charcoal!

I became fascinated discovering that Converse would ‘seed’ their product in the ’80s – by giving free shoes to the ‘in-crowd’ at US high schools, they could ensure all the wannabes would buy Chucks so they could look like the popular kids. When we did Henry V I liked that the Chucks could be a symbol of uniformity and the hipness of ‘youth’ in a predominantly university-driven production; I liked also that they could be a symbol of consumerist greed and faceless pointless commercialism, because I think my wearing of them is intended to be ironic and subversive on one level. Yes, there’s the comfort and that they look great, but I think I’m also making an obscure political statement. But I guess ironic footwear is even harder to pull off than an ironic mullet. The fine line between it being ironic and just being a mullet is too fine. (Yes, everyone, I’ll admit it: my present hairstyle is a mullet.)

At the Sheilah Winn festival last Queen’s Birthday weekend I had to emcee part of the Sunday night proceedings and took the opportunity to make a few subversive political statements, since National’s arts minister was in the audience and I’d rather have a tax cut than see the ballet company and NZSO get more multi-million dollar bail-outs while RFOs like BATS and the Fortune are on the bones of their arse funding-wise. I got a big laugh by pointing at my shoes when stating my personal political allegiance ….

DT wearing Chucks 2

 … but the really funny thing is, they aren’t even my Labour shoes, they’re my David Tennant shoes!

Next time: Why Facebook Is Evil!

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