I am a one man band

The New Year is always an exciting time, and I'm not talking about fireworks and false resolutions. With each new month comes the promise of new aural action, and so far 2012 hasn't been disappointing.

The BBC Sound of 2012 is the first port of call when it comes to discovering who is tipped for musical success in the upcoming year, with artists like Ellie Goulding, Adele and Jessie J topping previous lists. After you-tubing several of this year’s recommendations, I stumbled upon an artist who I’d heard on Radio One earlier that week. It was one of those awful moments where you hear a song you instantly become obsessed with and realise you didn’t listen to who it’s by or even what it’s called. Luckily my sleuthing skills served me well, and after listening to hours of podcasts I found my lost song, and have been listening to it repeatedly ever since. Then I saw her name pop up again on the Sound of 2012 list and decided to investigate a little further.

Lianne Le Havas had been making a bit of an online buzz, but it wasn’t until an appearance on Later…with Jools Holland in October of last year that she started getting noticed. With the British music scene currently saturated with strong female artists arriving straight out of Brit School, Lianne offers something a bit different from the usual ballsy pop track or gutsy ballad. Laid back and effortlessly cool, 2012 seems to be (hopefully) ushering in a new sound, stripping back music laden with electronic beats and synthesisers to just a voice and a guitar.

Her EP Lost and Found is on sale now, and her debut album is set to come out in Spring, when you can also catch her touring with Bombay Bicycle Club.

Visit Lianne's website for more music.


High Heel Hell

Today I am in mourning. For yesterday, my feet died a horrifically painful death at the hands of a pair of black suede wedges. Poor little things just didn't stand a chance. Thanks to a stricter uniform policy at work, in order to tie in with the swanky new suit department, not only did I have to shell out on a new outfit, I had to get the shoes to match. And pumps didn't make the cut this season.

These are the beasts in question. They may look innocent, nice even. That's what I thought when I first tried them on. In comparison to six inch stiletto heels they seemed the lesser of two evils. But an hour in to my shift and I was struggling. Having to constantly concentrate on not falling over was quite distracting. As someone who has never sought the services of heels on nights out, I am not an practised walker. Productivity levels were dramatically decreased. Whereas I used to scoot around the shop floor, getting tasks done quick time, now every movement is a careful one. Forget answering the telephone, if I'm on the other side of the shop floor it takes a good minute to get anywhere near it. "Can you nip out to the stockroom?" No, no I cannot 'nip' any more. I can stumble along at a snail's pace, juttering along like Bambi on ice. All the while I'll be silently weeping, wondering if my feet are leaving bloody trails behind them.

When heels first came about in Ancient Greece, they reflected the social status of the wearer. In Ancient Rome their reputation had dropped, as heels identified prostitutes of the time, which were legal. In the Middle Ages women AND men wore heels. The same was true during 17th and 18th Century France, where the nobility and members of the court would totter around on an original version of clogs. But equality never lasts long does it. While Cowboy boots have a chunky heel, you won't spot many guys sporting a pair in your local shopping centre. Tom Cruise may try and get away with a sneaky hidden heel but not many men are brave stupid enough to try this. 

Since the Second World War heels have gone in and out of fashion, with the 90's seeing a particular disdain for them. But with celebrity culture saturating the fashion conciousness this millennium, anything they do or wear becomes instant inspiration for millions. And seeing as many of these stars are spotted donning Louboutins, women everywhere grin through the tears as they stumble around the office in high-street knock offs. What the magazines neglect to tell its humble readers is that while the celebs may be pictured strutting round the shops in platforms, there is a chauffeur parked outside waiting to whisk them away to their next important appointment. These women may live in heels, but their lives comprise of very little walking.

After some research, and some very gruesome pictures, here is a list of all of the negative side effects of wearing heels:

  • Foot pain (For sure)
  • Increased likelihood of sprains and fractures.
  • They make calves look more rigid and sinewy.
  • Foot deformities, including hammertoes and bunions (Eww)
  • They can cause an unsteady gait (Definitely going to fall over)
  • They can shorten the wearer's stride.
  • They can render the wearer unable to run (What if there's an emergency?!)
  • Degenerative changes in the knee joint.
  • Foot and tendon problems as listed below.

As opposed to these reasons for wearing heels
  • They make the wearer appear taller (OK, true)
  • They make the legs appear longer.
  • They make the foot appear smaller.

According to my calculations, the cons outweigh the pros here.

As I limped around the store last night, the unjustness was hard to ignore. My male colleagues were having no movement issues, because they were all in flat shoes. Smart shoes, but FLAT ones. There they were, skipping around with smiles on their faces, not a care in the world. There I was, using the till point for support as I tried desperately not to sink to the floor and cry. There's no equality in this work place. Fill all of the guys' shoes are filled with broken glass prior to their shifts and then I won't be as bitter.

People tell me I'll get used to it. I don't believe them. I'm just going to have to accept that my time with my tootsies has come to an end. They've had a hard life anyway. It's probably for the best. At least now the tangy scent of blood will be the only smell coming from them...