Sunday, September 9, 2012

The strobe effect and the red soled shoes.

September 7th 2012. The first sighting of a Christmas window display. Harrods at the airport offering Christmas Teddy Bears. An American grandmother buying three. Her harassed husband looks on with eyes that say : ' Please don't do this Mildred.  It's gonna be no fun dragging these on the flight to Chicago '. She wanders off, laden down but happy. Another victory of product placement over practicality.

The airport bookstore offering Christmas reading.  Robert Caro's wonderful biography of LBJ . Unputdownable - if that's a word. The best thing I've read all year. Probably the best thing I've read in a decade. On the other side of the aisle Joachim Fests tenderly entertaining childhood  reminiscences.

The couple from Idaho want to stay in the flat in London for another six months. Possibly another year. They've had a royal wedding, a Diamond Jubilee, the Olympics and now the Paralympics to keep them busy . While they chat away Angus wonders if they're Idahoans or Idahans. He notices a photograph of their family standing in front of a very large Cadillac SUV. The SUV has a license plate with the words '' Famous Potatoes " written across it. Angus is tempted to crack a joke but quickly thinks better of it. The wife doesn't like the new carpet in the hallway. She says it has a ' strobe ' effect as she walks to the lift.

The inner child in Angus make him run down the corridor to see if he can get the strobe effect to work. It doesn't. Must be an Idahan thing. A woman comes out of an apartment down the hall to see a middle aged man in a suit hurtling , head down , towards the elevator . She quickly retreats back inside.

At the Prada store on Bond Street a pair of gentlemans shoes. Red soles and red toes. Who would wear such alarming things ? Perhaps they are popular with people in the light entertainment industry.  Life never ceases to amaze.


  1. It's great that your tenants want to stay on longer in the London flat.
    The hallway carpet looks like a downward flight of stairs to me, but no strobe effect. Some people do experience this effect from lots of vertical/horizontal lines.
    I now feel the "need to read" the LBJ biography, since it was "unputdownable".
    As for the red shoes..."I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore..."

  2. The LBJ biography. I'd read the reviews and been tempted, but wondered if it might not be too long (and that from someone who's generally happy to be engrossed in a long book). Am even more tempted now. But does that mean a commitment to all 4 volumes?

  3. My husband has been laughing away about the guys from Idaho. Wise not to make a joke about the famous potatoes - could so easily have been taken the wrong way. We've seen Idaho license plates with that motto up here in Vancouver. Meryl, Toby and Ben xxxx

  4. I've known a number of people from Idaho, and they are called 'Idahoans,' and I'm pretty sure the shoes are something you'd never see anyone wearing in Boise! :-)

  5. Thanks for the biography recommendation...will put it on my hubby's list for Christmas. Those shoes look like, what we Canadians refer to as, rubbers - overshoes to protect shoes in the snow. I can think of no other good reason to wear something that ugly.

  6. I heard an interview with Mr. Carp, who had devoted the better part of his life to LBJ. Glad you found his endeavor so rewarding.

    As for the shoes...perhaps an alternative to the tartans of a fee days ago.

    Bonne dimanche!!!

  7. immediate pictures of three boys rug surfing came to mind...
    one wonderful lad and his two tiny white polar bears disguised
    as polish lowland sheepdogs. i'm sure that strobe hallway wasn't
    nearly as much fun.
    the red shoes look like weird short shoe wellies. maybe they're
    supposed to "stylishly" keep out the rain? otherwise who on earth...
    oh well. whatever floats the boat!
    tammy j
    ps... i'm sure it's not idahans! and the potato market must be good
    indeed to get to spend that much time in a private flat in london!
    i'm pea green with envy over those potato people!

  8. LBJ. The subject of LBJ could start fights in rooms containing only one solitary person. I also recall It being said that LBJ's too small cowboy hats gave him a Mr. Potato Head ( child's toy) look. Wonder how that washed with the Idahoans. Sorry. Havering again.

    I don't know if the carpet strobes, but there is a sort
    of unsettling visual effect. And what is exactly
    happening in the world of mens shoes?
    Love to all.

  9. Those shoes look like something made up for Halloween! Interesting look about them, isn't there? The carpet would look better made into curtains. Just a thought! I've been to Idaho. For breakfast one morning, ours came without potatoes. They had run out. Oh!

  10. I just don't know what to say about those shoes. They are very similar to ones worn by Minnie Mouse in the cartoons. The hallway carpet looks like a game board, it's just missing the score points.

  11. Don't know if I could manage that carpet or not. I would have to look away from it but my eyes would keep pulling me back!

    I am reading The Last Lion, Wm. Manchester's three volumes on Sir Winston Churchill. Now four volumes on LBJ? Does the subject with the most volumes win?


  12. Could not deal with the carpet on a day to day.

  13. I saw those shoes in Vogue. I often wonder who really wears shoes like that.

    Thanks for the book recommendations. I think I will pick up Mr. Fest's memoir for my upcoming (and much needed) getaway from Alaska!

  14. Is it safe to say that we won't be seeing the well-dressed Scotsman donning the Prada shoes any time soon?

    I think the strobe effect may have less to do with the carpet and more to do with the potato vodka distillery they have in the apartment.

  15. Ida-haha-ns - brings out the Groucho Marx in you - also running down the hallway - well not knowing you I might have backed back, too.
    It's a dogs fest day - doggie friends to play and share time together - any plans of a puppy to add to the Rickety Old Farmhouse family - you need a play companion - Susanne, Foxiie, Daisy and Kiri

  16. Those shoes would go well with the tartan suit.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

  17. I'm an Idahoan and all of our license plates say Famous Potatoes. Our high school mascot is a Russett potato. (Smash those spuds!!)

  18. One of Caro's much earlier efforts is a massive biography of Robert Moses, also fascinating, and it helps you understand why New York City looks and drives the way it does now.

  19. I'm sure those shoes are very popular in clown colleges! Maybe the red soles keep you from slipping? Or, as Mr. Barnum would say "There's a sucker born every minute." It might be a social experiment on product placement...

    Well, really, how else were you supposed to figure out if the strobe effect exists or not?

  20. Maybe those shoes would go well with the tartan drainpipes?