I don’t know.
There’s a man who walks some Staffies in the cemetery nearby. He’s often fairly drunk, and often fairly drunk early in the morning after an all-nighter. He supports Arsenal and we used to have a chat but his new younger Staffie and Rudi didn’t really get along so I started to keep a distance.
Now these boots are lined up along the wall outside where he lives. I haven’t seen him for a while, and he always wore trainers as far as I recall, usually with an Arsenal top, so I don’t know what the shoes and boots mean. None of the indiviudal pairs quite have the pathos of Van Gogh’s ‘A Pair of Shoes’ but as a collective they come pretty close
Alcoholism is a sad business. There’s another hard drinking man on the street who also has Staffies. The dogs fling themselves around in a frenzy of barking when you walk past the flat. The tv is always on and even when the windows are closed you can hear the dogs being yelled at to ‘Shut up!’. If the windows are open you can smell the beer. Sometimes the man goes off to prison for assaulting someone. Then he comes back and picks up where he left off. I see him, or his partner who cut off all her long hair like a penance, walking round the corner to the offie to stock up on beer from time to time. In five years, I haven’t once seen them walk a dog.
As yet there hasn’t been a row of shoes in their front garden.