Saturday, September 25, 2010

doggie in the window

I always enjoy going and checking out Selfridge's windows ... today they were loudly proclaiming their new shoe department (since I tend to stick to tried and tested brands via Zappo's, that was no Imelda Marcos temptation) - and of course shoes don't always lend themselves quite so readily to the photographic as do clothes.   But this is a wonderfully ridiculous quasi-fifties pose - and then I started remembering that totally repellent song, "How Much is That Doggie in the Window?" - a 1952 hit for Patti Page in the US, and for Lita Roza in the UK in 1953 - which made her the first woman to have a hit single in the UK charts.   It was a perennial choice on Uncle Mac's Children's Favorites on the Light Programme on a Saturday morning - not a favorite of mine, I should say - I used to listen for the two or three rock and roll numbers that he would squeeze in, grudgingly, in the middle of things like "I've a pink toothbrush / You've a pink toothbrush" and "The Runaway Train," and for some reason - in 1963 - Pete Seeger's "Little Boxes," which put me off the US for a very long time - I developed an image of it that was firmly covered in suburban sprawl anywhere east of Wyoming, at which point the landscape of My Friend Flicka was superimposed upon it.

And then there were some decorous, sub Fragonard women-on-a-swing mannequins, which carried a tastetful echo of the shop fronts of plastic legs doing the can can that used to clack jerkily up and down in store windows further down Oxford Street - the downmarket end ...

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