QUENTIN CRISP'S DANGEROUS MISSION

1978 | Quentin Crisp
In front Of NY's Hotel Chelsea
Source: Daily Mail

Being in a display firm is like working for the movie industry. When you are not coping with a crisis you are wondering how on earth to fill in your time. During one of these lulls I was given a day off. I decided to spend this buying a pair of shoes. This was always a difficult and dangerous mission for me. If I wanted to use the longest words for the shortest thing I would say that I was a passive foot fetishist.

Quentin Crisp 


Woodleg Odd
Foot Fetish (Woodleg Music Norway, 2006)
Cover Design by Torill Velle

My feet were smaller than an ordinary mortal's and I wanted everyone to know this. As time went by I wore shorter and shorter shoes, not because the length of my feet decreased but because the amount of discomfort I could bear became greater. Finally I was able to endure footwear that was hardly visible to the naked eye. For me, as for Hans Andersen's little mermaid, every step was agony but as she had finally been rewarded by dancing with a prince, I never gave up.

Quentin Crisp 


The Little Mermaid
Illustrated by Ivan Bilibin
Source: Spectator

Almost as uncomfortable as wearing the shoes was buying them. Both I and the shop assistant needed all the fortitude we could summon. I would describe the shoes I had in mind and ask for a size four. The salesman or woman (according to what sex the management had decided I was) would measure my foot and bring me a shoe that fitted me perfectly. 
This immediately aroused my suspicion. When I ripped it off and looked at the sole, I found it to be a six. Moving down the scale in semitones, I would try on successive sizes until my toes were folded inside the shoe like the leaves of an artichoke. Then I would say, 'Now lift me up.' If I could stand in them, those were the shoes I bought. Tottering into the street, I screamed for a taxi. To this day my feet are two mis-shapen plinths of twisted bone.

Quentin Crisp
[From: The Naked Civil Servant - Jonathan Cape Ltd., 1968] 


X-ray of two bound feet
Source: Wikipedia


FOOTNOTE

Apparently the "Foot Fetish" cover art is a modification of a Colourbox stock image very popular among graphic designers.
Colourbox stock photograph
Eric Elias - Footprints (Phunquie Pholk Music, 2004)
Folkestra - Corpus Delicti (Capo Media Music, 2005)

 

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