Sunday, 25 October: In this case not just a single picture, but two. Admittedly they are of the same location, but in all fairness it’s two separate photographs merged into one. So. What’s all this then? Photographs of my shoe? Well. Yes, actually.
But, there is more to it. As is often the case.
Tuesday, September 18th 2007. For me, the combat boot on the left is as memorable as the moment captured. This is an exceedingly rare Rock & Republic men’s quilted combat boot with spikes. This exact pair were samples—made my size not coincidently—and worn in Rock & Republic’s runway show during New York Fashion Week in Bryant Park 2007. I had a hand in the design of these boots. And although exceedingly cool, they were not ordered heavily enough during market week to go into production. Nearly one-of-a-kind. I wore them for years, the first time right after New York Fashion week in September 2007. I took them with me to London and had them on when I checked into The Ritz London in Mayfair. I arrived Tuesday morning the 18th on
an overnight Virgin Atlantic flight from Newark. I checked into the hotel quite early and after slipping Michael the desk-clerk a few £££ for an upgrade he asked if I could wait an hour or so until a nicer room was made available. Off I went to Green Park—rather a tradition for me—and hired a canvas chair in the park for a fiver. Sitting in the September sunshine, looking across the grass of Green Park towards the trees hiding Buck’s Palace, I sparked up an American Spirit cigarette and enjoyed the moment. I felt free then. And happy. England is in many, many way familiar. And home. Especially this corner of London I know so well. It didn’t hurt that in two days time I’d be off to Folkestone with my diorama “Herr Hauptmann’s Champagne” to compete for the first time since I began attending Euro in 2003.
Heady days. And ones I enjoyed to the absolute extremes.
2007 was then. The world went and blew out its bowel in the financial crisis right after Euro a year later. A crisis that was to effect many for years to come.
Wednesday, September 18th 2013. The photograph on the right of my Lacoste trainer taken in the Green Park exactly six years to the day later. My world was in balance again after so much turmoil (’09-’12). I landed on my feet—and at The London Ritz—again. This time after a very nice (and blessedly short) British Airways flight from Barcelona to London Heathrow instead of a long-haul overnight. And once again I slipped old Michael DeCozer at reception £100 quid for an upgrade. And once again I need wait a few hours for a better room to be prepared. Off again I went to Green Park. Hired a chair for a fiver. Sat down on what was a slightly more cloudy day than in 2007. Crossed my legs, lit an American Spirit cigarette. I reflected on those six years that got behind me since I last sat in Green Park, smoking a cigarette and enjoying the lovely September weather a few
days before heading off to Folkestone for Euro Militaire. Those six years had been both exciting and stressful. And shockingly they passed in the blink of an eye. But, I had come out of it all and was back enjoying the life I wanted for myself. Life not bad on that patch.
And at that moment.
Drawing comparisons is often a rotten thing to do. But in this instance both the “then” and the “now” are near as perfect as man can hope to get in life. Mind you the “now” photograph was taken seven years ago already. And the now of 2020 is better still.
Bring on the night. And Euro 2021!