I speak about music related things with my most indie-est of snob hat on – and I’ve spent good money through the years on band t-shirts, but that’s the thing – they’re band t-shirts of bands I like.
If I were to cast my mind back to the 1970s when I was dressed by my parents then I fear – I really do – what bands I could have been dressed in. (I wouldn’t object to an ELO one though these days)
So is it fair to dress up my child in a t-shirt featuring a band she’s probably never knowingly heard? Yes yes, I did have a Fender t-shirt for her when she was one, so I have been suckered into all that, but to me having say, The Rolling Stones on a t-shirt isn’t cool or funny – unless that child happens to love a bit of Jumping Jack Flash, that is – I’d much rather see a take on it which says “my parents bought me this” such as Nippaz With Attitude ‘Colic Youth’ which I still think is hilarious and one of the best things I’ve ever seen – and even the AB-CD ones in the ACDC font are funny.
It’s a bit like when Top Shop started selling band t-shirts. Bands most of the ladies who wore them probably didn’t even own the record of – it’s set off some kind of trend and I DON’T LIKE IT. Ladies, have you really heard The Ramones? Really really? How many Ramones does it take to change a lightbulb? Answer me that. If you know the answer then I’ll forgive you.
Now the indie purist in me thinks that you must have an element of being there, bought the t-shirt, got the records and are not just some kind of random fashion accessory as it looks pretty. I still have a lot of old band t-shirts – my oldest probably dates back to around 1988. (n.b. my t-shirts have never been replicated in Top Shop) – you’ve got to LIVE that music a bit. So I’ll see a three-year old in a Stone Roses sweatshirt and I want to say “aaaargh! Your parents think it’s cool and funny but you weren’t there in 1988 at Leeds Poly! I WAS! It was GREAT! I bought one of those t-shirts when I was eighteen, I had a fifty pound note in my pocket and I bought that and one with the lemon on the front and stood drinking at the back of the gig with Noel Gallagher and the Inspirals guitarist Martyn and you know what, you won’t understand a BLOODY WORD OF IT because your parents bought you this but it means something to ME and they’re helping dilute it that little bit more. But also in 1990-whatever it was at the Pilton Party when they played and there was NOBODY there and it was AMAZING, but child, you have no idea what Elephant Stone is, and you never will. ARGH”
But I don’t. He’s only three. He’d probably look at me oddly.
Instead, I buy my daughter a Beatles t-shirt from TK Maxx for Red Nose Day 2013 and immediately contradict everything I feel strongly about. I’m a bit like that.