e think I price things too low when they go straight away.”
“Oh no!” Said Dave. He clutched the counter with both hands and looked down at it. He closed his large brown eyes. Then he opened them, slowly, he lifted them to look straight at Sam.
BLUE SUEDE SHOES
By Carl Perkins or Elvis Presley
What ever happened to those
"Blue Suede Shoes"
Where are they now?
Everyone has heard the track and probably knows all the words to the song “Blue Suede Shoes”. But whatever happened to the fictitious guy and his legendary Blue Suede Shoes.
Elvis got to No.9 in the charts in 1956 with the song. Carl Perkins who wrote the song and recorded it got to No.10 in the same year.
Lets reflect on some of the words.”You can burn my house, Steal my car, Drink my liquor From an old fruitjar. Do anything that you want to do, but uh-uh, Honey, lay off of my shoes Don't you step on my blue suede shoes. You can do anything but lay off of my blue suede shoes.”
The guy, lets call him Dave, idolised those shoes. He took so much care of them that 60 years later they were still as good as new. Until he went to get them, one day, from his cupboard to wear at a local “Jive Festival”
But they were not there. Nor was the box he normally kept them in, all wrapped in layers of tissue paper. He searched and searched, but could find them no where.
Jen his wife must have moved them. She wouldn’t have told him. They did not talk much these days. She suspected he was having a relationship with another woman. He attended so many Jive and Rock N Roll festivals without her. But it was her own choice, she left the beehive hairstyle days behind long ago.
“Yes, I moved them.” She said. “On Ebay three weeks ago. Didn’t fetch much I was lucky to sell them.”
There was a deathly silence. Dave went white. He began to yell and throw things around. His facial colour turned to crimson. Veins stood out on the side of his head. His tatty grey ponytail swayed rapidly from side to side. He was beside himself with rage.
His face burnt as he felt violent urges arise inside him. Suddenly he had visions of his previous two wives. A twinge of pain in his left arm made him catch his breath. He remembered the doctor’s words of warning after his last heart attack.
He put down the bedside lamp, carefully on the dressing table. Calmly he said, “Just give me the contact details of the person who you sold them to.”
Jen said nothing, but ran downstairs and fumbled with the computer, keyboard and printer pushed an A4 sheet at Dave. He snatched it off her and read it.
“A f****** charity shop! A f****** charity shop in Leeds!” His voice sounded rustic.
Dave went upstairs and packed a case. Jen sat in an armchair in the lounge, just staring into space.
Dave brought his suitcase down he walked into the lounge, searched the bookcase and took three books and put them into his case. He then rummaged in a drawer and pulled out a passport, opening it up to make sure it was his. Closing it he stuffed it in his back pocket.
“I think we need to call it a day. I cannot remain married to someone who disrespects me enough to sell my most valued possession, my blue suede shoes, behind my back.”
“But…” Jen tried to speak but Dave talked over her.
“I’ll get a solicitor to dot the ‘I’s. Someone will come and pick up the CDs and vinyl.”
With that he walked out of the front door and slammed it shut behind him.
By the time the train got into Leeds all the shops were shut. There were a few stag and hen parties around. The world was glamming up ready for Saturday night. But not Dave. He felt down, very, very down. Not because of the break-up. It had been coming for ages. Ok he flirted all the time, that’s how he and Jen got together. He flirted with her terribly when he used to pick up parts from the plumbers merchants where she worked and long before his retirement as a plumber. But he had no other woman or even yearnings, he’d had enough of female relationships.
He loved his jiving. But most of all he loved his Blue Sued Shoes. They cost him a full weeks wages when he bought them back in 1956.
He found a down market B&B and booked in for two nights as tomorrow was Sunday, so it was highly unlikely that the charity shop would be open.
So, for thirty eight hours he sat and drank and tried to get his head around the future and what he would do.
At nine o’ clock Monday morning he was at the door of the charity shop waiting for them to open. He had located the shop on the Sunday, but he had failed to see the Hours of Opening notice which read “Monday to Saturday 10.30am till 4.00pm. He was more in elation that at least they were not pushing his shoes in the window display.
He thumped the wall hurting his hand and went to search out a coffee. He would have had breakfast but could not face eating.
Rain trickled down his face and soaked into his grey wool fleece. In his eagerness to walk out on his wife he had forgotten to pick up his waterproof coat. The door of the charity shop needed an extra hard push.
He struggled to see in the shop. The lighting was poor. On top of that, Jen had been telling him for ages he needed specs, but then again she’d always said he needed a hearing aid. All part of her plan to make him look older than his years. Anyway he found the shoe section. There was everything. Men’s, women’s, children’s. There were trainers, brogues, football boots, high heels, thigh length boots, and ankle boots. There were black shoes, brown, white, beige, and red. But he could not see any blue and definitely no blue suede.
He decided he could not search any longer and went to the counter to ask. The lady behind the counter had shoulder length silver hair, a face made up with too much white make up and too brighter red lipstick on her lips. Spectacles were strung around her neck on a cord causing them to bounced on her sizeable chest. She was covered in costume jewellery, particularly around the neck, chest, arms and hands which jangled giving a sound track to her every movement.
“Excuse me.” Dave said. He coughed to clear his throat.
“Oh hello, Sweetheart. How can I help?”
“My ex-wife,” That was the first time Dave had said that about Jen and was surprised how good it felt. “My ex-wife sold you my blue suede shoes through Ebay, by mistake. Can I buy them back?”
“Oh I’m sorry, Sweetheart. I only take the money and tidy the shop. All voluntary-like. Sam does all the auction site stuff and control of stock. But she won’t be in until 11.30. It’s her bus you see. They only run twice a day. Like she says ‘I’m not catching the 7.30 one’. It’s only voluntary work.”
Dave was exasperated. His watch said “10.05”. Almost two and a half hours to wait. He thought of asking to go through the stockroom. But decided she would be too suspicious of him. So he wandered around the shop. The rain had basically stopped so he then wandered round Leeds city Centre. And after another coffee he wandered around the shop once more.
Finally at 11.45 Sam breezed in.
“Hi Dot. You alright. I called off and bought us a couple of lovely cream donuts.”
“Hello, Sam Sweetheart. Oooh am I glad to see you. It’s so quiet.”
Sam took off her red cagoule she wore a jumper and faded blue denims. She had dyed black hair and was slightly younger than Dot. Dave thought he quite fancied her but then remembered he was off women.
He shuffled up to the counter and gave a low clear-your-throat cough.
“Oh yes, sorry Sweetheart.” Said Dot. “This young man says he sold you his shoes on Ebay by mistake.”
Dave was going to correct her. His “ex-wife” sold them. Then he thought better of it.
“What sort were they love?” Asked Sam
“Men’s Blue Sued,” Answered Dave.
“Oh I remember those. Very authentic, but very old,” Said Sam
“Can I buy them? I’ll pay anything,” Said Dave pulling a wodge of damp twenty pound notes from his pocket.
Both Sam and Dot stared at the money longingly.
“I’m afraid not.” Replied Sam, deliberately slowly to break the news gently. “I sold them straight away. It always makes m
“Do you know who bought them?”
“No.” Replied Sam. “We just take the money.”
“Didn’t you take her contact details for Gift Aid or contacting her about your charity.”
“No. We can’t claim Gift Aid on these sales. Can you imagine that, Dot, getting everyone to give us their contact details.” They both giggled.
“I remember her.” Said Dot “She had chestnut coloured hair done in a ponytail. She looked as though she’d stepped out of the fifties.”
“I think she said she had a retro shop, but I have not seen it around here.” Said Sam. “Sorry I can’t help you further.
“I say Dot, have you seen this coat someone’s donated? Worth ten pound of any body’s money.”
Dave stared at her blankly. He then tried to think what to do next. He looked at his watch 12 noon. He’d not organised any where to stay for the night. He rushed back to the B&B. They were about to clear his room.
“The notice clearly says all rooms to be vacated by 11.00am” Said a short obese woman.
Dave apologised and asked if there was any chance of booking a room for that night. But the woman took great delight in telling him there were no vacancies. Before he knew it he was out on the streets with his suitcase in hand.
So what now, he thought? First he had to find somewhere to stay for the night. Next he would go on the internet and telephone and contact every retro shop in a one hundred mile radius of Leeds. There couldn’t be that many.
The rain had stopped and the sun was fighting through the weak cloud that was remaining. Shops were now giving way to Edwardian and Victorian buildings used for offices and B&Bs. But the door of one shop opened and to Dave’s amazement there was a blast of Eddie Cochran’s recording “Summertime Blues”. His body twitched to the sound, but as there were people in the street, he restrained himself from breaking into dance.
The sound stopped as quickly as it started, as the shop door was closed. Dave peered through the condensation of the window. There were vinyl records, LP covers with South Pacific soundtrack graphics, others had pictures of Sinatra, there were flared skirts with bold flower designs, there were retro transistor radios and Dansette record players, there were white high heeled shoes, there were shocking pink ankle socks and contrasting vivid florescent green ones and on a manikin doll wearing a man’s teddy boy jacket with a velvet collar. At the base of the manikin were many pairs of winkle picker shoes, and at the side, on a pedestal, a pair of blue suede shoes.
Even through all the condensation on the window, Dave recognised them as his. Dave was so excitedand elated, he rushed to go in the shop. The Eddie Cochran track was just ending as he opened the shop door. The rotting door frame and step down meant Dave struggled with his suitcase. So frustrated was he that he dumped it outside. Over by the counter, a woman with her chestnut hair done in a ponytail, which made her look much younger than her actual early sixties, stood making a selection at the juke box. She wore a 50s vintage floral patterned flared skirt. In the shop were racks of 50s style clothes. Many racks, shelves and the walls were full of posters and memorabilia relating to the 50s and 60s. Guitars, posters, advertising gigs, posters of Elvis and other stars, memorable front pages of the New Musical Express and Melody Maker, various framed charts and framed gold records, adorned the walls.
Dave walked up to the woman, Marg and did not wait for her to turn or acknowledge him.
“Those Blue Suede Shoes in the window, I must buy them. How much?”
She did not reply straight away. She proceeded to make her selection on the Juke Box and waited for the record to begin: “One, two, three o'clock, four o'clock rock…”
She turned to face Dave.
“I’m sorry they are not for sale. I’ve just spent a lot of money and time re-branding my business. I’m calling it “The Blue Suede Shoes”. That pair of Blue Suede Shoes are my logo. I’ve been searching two years for such a pair.”
Dave then went on to explain how important they were to him and why they were sold. Marg listened sympathetically.
“Do you know, there’s something about your rugged, rocker-ness I like. Can’t we work out some sort of deal where I can use them for my business and you keep ownership?” Said Marg.
“Shall we see if we can work something out over a meal tonight?” Asked Dave
They did. Dave stayed the next few night’s at Marg’s friend’s guest house, in fact for six weeks after which he moved in permanently with Marg. It was all in the deal, he came with the Blue Suede Shoes.
When I was a lad at school around 13 years old, our Maths teacher used to call me Wol. At the end of the year as we were moving up a class I plucked up courage to ask why he called me Wol. He told meit was thename of the deslexic owl in Winnie the Pooh. With my Harry Potter glasses he said I looked like the Wise Old Owl in the Winnie the Pooh stories.
Being the vain person I am I took it as a compliment
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