Converses – must be dirty to be cool. When I hosted a student radio show, I always asked my guests what their first impression of the UK was. Many cite the gloomy weather, the multiculturalism, the buses that run on time (an Indonesian student) and the buses that don’t (a Swiss student).
My first impression, however, was that English boys wore dirty shoes. I remember gawking at the muddy PUMAs and Converses in my first Politics tutorial, not listening to the discussions but analysing the shoes poking out from beneath the tables.
My first pair of sneakers were black and white checkered Vans. I brought it to a gig and made sure as many people as possible stepped on it. After six months, it was all bruised, battered and ready to be worn like a true English boy’s.
Once, I took it home to Malaysia but it got kidnapped by my Mum and scrubbed clean. I was so horrified that I made sure the contents of my suitcase were not tampered with in subsequent trips back home.
My next pair of sneakers are going to be Converses, because after all these years, they never manage to go out of style.