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Sunday, 17 June 2012

Bella Hardy's Cinderella tale

There is a point in most young lives at which it becomes clear that Father Christmas probably doesn't exist, the tooth fairy was your mum creeping around in the middle of the night and Prince/Princess Charming comes with baggage, ill-health and commitment issues.

Magic for grown-ups is hard to source and trickier to maintain.

So when I spoke to Bella Hardy the other day after her gig with O'Hooley and Tidow at The Old Queen's Head and she told me this story I was delighted, as it was evidence of a benign - not to say, slightly pervy - universe.

To set the tone, here's a picture of Bella's lovely shoes from the previous post. Wedges, black suede, nuff said.

For when I asked her about her best rock and roll touring story, she said: "Have you ever been to Celtic Connections in Glasgow? Two years ago I was there and I managed to lose a shoe somewhere between the venue and my hotel."

I pressed her for details about how the shoe came to be lost, thinking that the sight of a single shoe lying around in the street always poses bewildering questions. Was the owner running away from something when it fell off and is that why they didn't stop to pick it up? Where is its counterpart and what will happen to them individually now they've become separated? To my mind, a single shoe in a street is basically one long series of unanswered questions.

From the few details that were forthcoming I gather that the events of that evening are a bit hazy and will draw a veil over them. But I like to think she was wearing something more comfortable and the missing shoe fell out of her bag. Suffice it to say that she didn't realise it was gone until she started packing to leave town.

"A few weeks later I wrote a diary for fRoots magazine about the festival and mentioned it," said Hardy. "And as a result a man contacted my agent, Alan Bearman, last summer and said that he thought he'd got the shoe. We were a bit lax about fetching it from him, so it wasn't until this last year's Celtic Connections that he was able to return it. He brought it to the festival office - so they've been reunited."

I give you the shoes in question, which are a very dark blue and fit for a princess, in a picture taken by Hardy and emailed to me. How's that for a happy ending?

Walking away from The Old Queen's Head after the gig I was very grateful for the observations of David Firn, who took the pictures in the previous post as I was feeling a bit puzzled. Wasn't this all a bit pervy and weird, I asked? I mean, who in their right mind would pick up a single shoe of unknown provenance in the street, take it home and hang on to it? Moreover, what are the odds that the man in question would be a reader of fRoots magazine? Infinitessimal, I'd say - although enhanced slightly by the fact that there was a folk festival going on nearby.

But David simply asked me what kind of a shoe it was and when I explained that it had a heel and a bow, he nodded. "It sounds like a nice shoe. Why wouldn't you keep it if you found it in the street?"

All observations gratefully received.

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  1. Did you never watch shoe people as a child? All the shoes which were an odd one of a pair go into a magic room, from whence they come alive. Maybe it should be remade with a theme tune from Bella Hardy...

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