Thursday, October 25, 2012

Crispin not Crispian or even Crispinian

I once said (or I vaguely remember typing) some crap about the Patron Saint of Shoes.  Well, I have finally found him.  Kinda.  I found a slew of saints (a slew of saints, like a murder of crows, I like it!) who oversee cobblers.  Also I like thinking of chichi shoemakers like Manolo Blahnik as "cobblers".  Feel free to delve the list yourself, but I am settling for Crispin not to be confused with Crispian, also a patron of shoemakers & his twin brother.

Sooooo, let's dig in:

Crispin (not Crispian AKA Crispinian, not that we care overmuch) or Crispinus but not Crispianus (because those spellings have fallen out of favor) was born to a noble Roman family sometime in the 3rd century.  Just to give you some perspective, Hadrian's Wall would have been well underway (as in a century & a half underway) by the time this kid (these kids) was (were) born.   That doesn't help? Let's just say the world was Roman as far as the eye could see & depending on which direction you were facing, probably much much farther.  In short, it was not the best time to start walking around talking about the one son of the one god.  There was many many words for that & one of them was treason.

Anyhow.  Our saint (& his brother) went out into Gaul & started preaching this heresy & eventually lost their lives over it (details to follow).  But that is not where the shoes come in.  Apparently, for his (their) pay-the-bills job, not to be confused with their vocation, he (they) made & repaired shoes.  He (they) got into trouble with the local constabulary over their contempt for all things material & were martyred in a variety of ways.  No really, a variety:  the rack, a few other tortures to get them to recant, thrown in a river with a millstone secured at the neck, & then burned.  All of this had no sway & the torturer was reputed to seek refuge in the flames himself.  I don't know about you, but I have had jobs like that; I kinda feel for this guy.

Anyhow, after the torturer left the building, the emperor's man, the one who had assigned the torturer, took over the job & made short work of it:  beheadings all around.  & let me say I have had jobs where I wished my boss would step in & kill people so I would be able to stop trying to punish them into seeing the error of their ways.

So that's the story of our saint.  & his twin brother, the other guy.  Also a saint.  Now for the shoes.

Shoes get A LOT of press.  They used to be just one of many fashion accessories, but now that no one wears hats or gloves & I cannot remember the last time I saw an evening bag on the red carpet, accessories more or less boil down to shoes.  That they might be the day job of a guy going on about the evils of excess & & his twin brother, that's just funny to me.  In fact, it seems appropriate that the Patron Saint of Shoes be one of a matched pair.

So how to celebrate the Patron saints of  shoes.  Well, may I suggest cocktails at the Designer Shoe Warehouse (they really should apply for a liquor license, don't you think?), where we could maybe listen to the late & truly lamented Kirsty MacColl.  Then we could all settle down to watch one of my very favorite movies based ever so loosely on a true story (almost certainly more than you can say about the life of our saint.  & his brother.) of a struggling family business in a world of changing values: Kinky Boots.


  1. Here's your fun fact for the day. Cobblers REPAIR shoes. Cordwainers make them. So Mr. Balhnik may be a cordwainer, but he's probably not a cobbler after all :-)

    Love the idea of cocktails at DSW.

  2. I think the brothers were BOTH, which makes them a pair with a pair of skills. As for Blahnik et al...well, I am not convinced many are not more like shoe embellishers, but that's just me.