A Cool Review for Shine in the Guardian

Shine by Candy Gourlay
'A precious and important novel that also explores exile from neighbours, family and country. The book is about reinvention and the faces we present to the world, whether it be in person, on a postcard or on the internet, all wrapped up in an exciting and perfectly paced story with a disturbing and dramatic climax.'
Philip Ardagh, The Guardian
Read the review

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

You can say anything about Imelda Marcos but you mustn't forget the shoes

My friend Frankie shared this with me on Facebook from David Byrne's homepage.

If you can't view this on Facebook, view it here.

Watching this, I remembered when I first arrived in London back in 1989. It seemed to me at the time that I couldn't strike up a conversation without anyone mentioning Imelda Marcos - specifically her shoes. It sucked so much that I wrote a poem about it:
Small Talk

"How is Imelda Marcos?
Are her shoes still on the go?"
When I first came to London
It was all they wished to know
I tried to say that there was more
To me than meets the eye
That a flat brown nose and straight black hair
Does not mean I can’t ask why
They don’t try to get to know me
Or find out what I do
Or say Fine Weather Isn’t It?
Or ask me How Are You?
I tried to talk of normal things
Like Politics and Fashion,
Burglaries, Movie Stars,
Sport and Television
I wanted them to talk to me
The way they talked to each other
But all that seemed to interest them
Was Imelda’s collection of shoe leather.
Now David Byrne's spending time in the Philippines making a musical about Imelda with Fatboy Slim.

It fascinates me to read in a Times article that the one thing Byrne has ommitted is the magic cupboard with the 3000 shoes.
... there are no references whatsoever to her infamous collection of 3,000 pairs of designer shoes, stored in a wing of the so-called Manila White House, the Malacanang Palace. “The shoes were a very big problem,” Byrne concedes. “For me it became, how do you get beyond the shoes? But the shoes weren’t discovered, along with the house full of Heinz Sandwich Spread, until after the Marcoses were airlifted out of the palace in 1986, and for me the story ends right there.”

These many years later, I've mellowed. I forgive people for mentioning Imelda's shoes.

In fact, I would actively encourage it.

Imelda's shoes are a weighty metaphor that continues to remind us of Imelda's dark side as she reinvents herself again and again with more imagination and energy than Madonna herself. It reminds us of the huge inequalities that continue to exist in Philippine society.

So, David Byrne, please mention the shoes.

Imelda's shoes would have more relevance to Filipinos than a fat album of photographs of her posing with other dictators.
If you're on Facebook and can't see this, view it here

1 comment :

  1. I think most of her collections are in a museum now in that country, most stolen ones have been auctioned off in eBay a few years ago. If I can find one in birkenstock in brisbane store, I can't imagine what the price tag of that will be.

    ReplyDelete

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