Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Red Shoes

The Red Shoes
Today's mission: find a pair of red shoes for Pandora, to match her new dress. A girl has to look her best when she has a ticket to the Sydney Opera House. But why are all the little girl's shoes pink? On we trudged, through heaving crowds of sale-crazy shoppers, until at last the Children's Shoe Department of David Jones proved to be the jackpot. When in doubt, head to David Jones. One pair left, Pandora's size.

To fill out the theme-of-the-day, I thought we might pick up a copy of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy story "The Red Shoes" from one of the big bookshops. No luck finding it in a picture book version, and when I eventually read it in an Andersen anthology, I understood why. The story involves a destitute child who dares to dream of dancing in her red shoes, only to find that this hideous crime of vanity is repaid by the curse of an Angel, who condemns her to dance forever, the red shoes having grown onto her feet. She gets the local executioner to chop off her feet. Struggling on with her new wooden feet and crutches, still she is not repentant enough to be allowed back into church, until she has suffered long and dismally. Eventually she is forgiven, then she dies. It is one of the most egregious examples of the worst of twisted morality, and I can understand why it was made into a Korean horror movie. It was also made into a film in 1948 about a ballerina, and seems to have inspired several songs and art works. I hesitate to investigate this further, so gloomy and ridiculous was the story.

Somewhat scarily, I noticed some posters today which advertise a theatrical offering during the upcoming Sydney Festival  entitled The Red Shoes and said to be based on the fairy tale. The blurb says:
How can a girl resist a pair of red shoes, especially when they make her feet dance with delight and her head spin with possibilities? But what happens when temptation becomes obsession? When she can’t stop dancing? When she can’t take them off?
Adjectives such as 'dark, sexy, mischievous, grisly'..... I wouldn't take the littlies, is all I can say.

Pandora 'shoots' the ibis with her new camera, Hyde Park

The Archibald Fountain
In a happier development, Pandora and I took a break in Sydney's Hyde Park, with it's lovely old Moreton Bay fig trees and the dear old Archibald Fountain. This Sydney landmark was a gift from that thorough-going community stalwart (and owner and editor of 'The Bulletin' magazine - shall we mention its cover banner for many years? 'Australia For The White Man'? Perhaps not) J F Archibald, and he intended it to commemorate the association of Australia and France in The Great War 1914 -1918. It was built in 1932 and is the work of Francois Sicard, a Parisian sculptor. The style is said to be Art Deco, but that is possibly arguable. There seems to me to be quite a lot of Greek and Roman influence. Mr Archibald was apparently enarmoured of Paris, and hoped the fountain would help drag Sydney of the 1930s up to something like the standard of that European jewel. But I have to admit, it is probably the finest public fountain in Australia, and a great example of the genre. If you're interested in the figures depicted, check out Wikipedia - there is Apollo, Diana and Thesues vanquishing the Minotaur. And a chap with a goat and ram.

Pan acquired a toy camera, with which she spent a happy half hour 'shooting' the ibis in Hyde Park. Most people trying to eat their sandwiches in the park would have been happy for the shooting of the ibis to have been literal, since they are recidivist sandwich-snatchers, as every Sydney-sider knows. In all, an eventful day out in the city.

Pandora selecting a gift for her Mama, at 'Lush' in the QVB

Babycino break
Le Pain Quotidian - Sydney location!

No comments:

Post a Comment