The noble and ancient art of the shoe shine, long absent from our cities, has made a welcome return with the launch of Spit ‘n’ Polish Shoeshine booths. The first booth was opened at Marylebone Station in London. Spit ‘n’ Polish Shoeshine is the brainchild of Ronan McCarthy, who plans to put a shine back on what he sees as the scuffed footwear of a nation in need of some boot blacking.
McCarthy turned down the offer of £108,000 on popular noctovisual programme Dragons Den, perhaps threatened by the shiny faces of the eponymous “Dragons”, yet he appears to be doing a sterling job without their assistance. A booth is shortly to open at Heathrow’s Terminal 1, with more planned for the capital and other principal cities in the UK. McCarthy got the idea from his travels in the United States, where having one’s shoes shined is as important a daily habit as brushing one’s teeth.
The Spit ‘n’ Polish Shoeshine experience aims to banish the memory (cherished by some) of a boy from the lower orders hunched over one’s brogues. Instead, they aim to offer “a highly modern and stylish booth, providing a cutting-edge retail setting, each one operated by a uniformed, well spoken and professionally trained shoe care specialist.” While one’s Oxfords are buffed to perfection, one may idly peruse the newspapers, watch digital television and, most impressive of all, “even a mobile phone charging unit is integrated”.
The Chap only hopes that dozens of poorly dressed teenagers pop into Spit ‘n’ Polish, like the slaves to any new trend that they are, and emerge with irremovable black stains all over their plimsolls