Oftentimes it is only when we step into country churches that we realise that our trainers have developed a squeak. We try to act detached from the squeak, but there it is a constant companion as we step over to read that intriguing bronze plaque. ‘This one died in 1724!’ you exclaim to your partner who will certainly be as interested as you in finding the first recorded dead person in the church. But then you venture forth, checking out a bit of apse or a section of nave and the squeak tells everyone else in the church keeping it quiet (like you’re supposed to), that yes it is you making the noise. You needn’t look around trying to work that out any more. Yes, it’s me with the heretical trainers. Satisfied now? People from the country, meanwhile, know exactly where they are wearing wellies. The welly is consistent, dutiful. True to form it makes a jaunty clumping noise with every step, be they old or new. And the welly will always drag your socks off inside the boot after a short walking distance. Squeak detection rates are low in a typical urban environment due to the high level of background noise on the high street. Buses, cars, chirping chuggers and barking drunks outside the little booths set up to unlock your mobile phones (for a reason as yet unclear – pressing the ‘*’ key, you can perform that function yourself. Possibly it’s a service for the type of person who buys pre-washed salad) all serve to mask sneaker malfunction. It is only if we chance across a reference library, the one oasis of sound pollution in the metropolis, that we stand a chance of spotting the squeak. But, alas, the likelihood is diminishing since the invention of secondary research (research of research) at wikipedia.com.
The answer we think to the trainer squeak will be to take it easy, setting off to ponder the vestry or the font, slightly taking our foot off the gas. But no. Try walking slower and the trainers then just go ‘squea-ee-eek, squea-ee-eek’. We only succeed in achieving elongated, more arresting squeaking.
Meantime, cobblers are missing out on some cashing-in action. They should seek to increase their range of shoe repair solutions (SRS’s) by working out a way of combating the squeak. Somehow. Though one way does suggest itself:
The cobbler hands you your trainers when you go to collect. And then a tape recorder. Great you say. Thanks. But why the recorder?
‘Try the trainers on,’ says the cobbler.
You walk across the shop and the squeak’s still there, every bit as bad as when you handed them in. You prepare to give the cobbler a piece of your mind, but he reaches over and presses the play button on the recorder and says try walking in them now. You begin to pace, the tape rolls and the sound of traffic kicks in with the ‘pfft!’ of a ring pull and:
“Oy! D’ya wash yer own fookin’ salad an’ all?”
“Excuse me, are you drunk? …sorry, I only came down here to see if you could take a look at unlocking this for me.”
“Can I just take up two minutes of your time, sir?... Have a lovely day, sir… Hello madam, can I just…”