Monday, 11 November 2013

The loss of the Band in the Brand

On friday Primark released a helpful blog that explains just exactly who those bands are that you can now buy the T-shirts, cushions, even bed spreads of in their store and why they are just so cool. At no point do they suggest any of their albums, or god forbid, listening to them.

To a seasoned music lover such as myself it would read rather patronising but to the average Primark shopper I'm sure its a helpful guide to who's who and what's what.
It opens on the Ramones explaining they wore jeans and had a lot of hair, and are labelled as the first punk band, I would say it was Television in my opinion, the band Malcolm Mclaren liked so much he decided to rip off their look and give it to the Sex Pistols, but this has no matter to the designers, workers, or patrons of Primark.
The only good thing about these designs is at least they have the original logo, Johnny, Joey, Dee Dee and Tommy all taking pride of place in the circle and no mention of Marky Ramone or, thank god, CJ.

Other bands mentioned include The Beatles, who wore 60's suits throughout their career apparently, The Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, and many more whose entire career has been handily whittled down into one unimportant sentence with no mention of the music they created.
If you would like to read these useful descriptions you can do so here -

Primark aren't the only guilty party, H&M selling Guns and Roses, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Joy Division and even The Sex Pistols T-shirts in case butter money isn't quite enough. H&M's main target being the slightly more discerning shopper who prefer the wider ranges of british (and one american bands) music at a slightly higer cost than Primark charges.

Topshop probably selling their band tshirts at a similar price to those once independant music store owners who would stock a wide range of music t-shirts aimed to be bought by people who liked the music. Here you can nab insensitive two armed Def Lepard baseball tops which would be shunned by their one armed drummer, sleeve flapping in the wind uselessly...

Roxy Music, Slayer, David Bowie, Blondie, The Doors, The Who, and many many more have been given this mainstream cheap culture make over and you can now declare you know of music via your chest at the small cost starting from £8.00.
Courntey Love even manages to make yet another quick buck out of her long deceased husband by allowing Nirvana T-shirts to be sold at such a bargain price.

Most of the younger kids wearing these would have heard of these bands somehow, if it's from the cover versions ineptly sang on Glee specialist episodes where they learn week by week that there was music before GaGa, they do still love GaGa tho, and belt out what were once iconic songs to fill a primetime spot on Americas Tuesday night television. 
If they aren't fans of Glee, and these days who isn't, maybe they saw their favourite celebrity wandering the streets wearing a band tshirt that you can buy cheap on the high street, thank god for paparazzi eh, or how else would you know what to wear?!

I remember a time when you had to go to specialist stores to buy tshirts of the bands you liked, usually they wouldnt have your size so you chose to either wait or buy it anyway to cut up and fit to your body. 
I made friends with the guys who owned these shops, I spoke to them a lot and when I could afford the prices it used to cost for such specialist items I would get them as I loved that band and their music so much.

I recall one visit to the store with my then boyfriend at the time where I found a Clash 'Know Your Rights' tshirt in my size, happy as I was my ex declared I had to prove I knew how that song went before I could buy it. Of course I did and was allowed but felt my rights had been exercised that day. I wonder sometimes why it took me so long to leave him, that day should have been the one. 
It was a common thing then that music lovers everywhere would question your knowledge on the bands you were advertising across your person, asking you to name an album, who the band members were, where your ramones T-shirt may come in handy, or tell them your favourite song of that bands back catalogue.     
I wonder sometimes if someone somewhere is still doing this, or if they have all spontaneously combusted after so many recent attempts, leaving behind only a smouldering puddle of resentment. 

I used to own a lot of band T-shirts, and still have some. My favourite was a bright yellow X-ray Spex tshirt that I bought from a small punk shop in liverpool, which featured Poly Styrene dancing across it, which I wore when studying art at university, all chopped up and tied back together. I don't recall whatever happened to it but I wish I still had it. I also bought and wore a Crass tshirt, not being a fan of Crass I admit, but I liked Gee Vaucher the female artist who designed their album covers, so wore it and still have it regardless. 

I keep these tshirts usually tucked away deep in my drawers, a memory of what once was and who I was back then, maybe I'll wear one on a rare occasion but if I ever decend to Primark I will never leave with any of their incarnations. Unless, that is, they make a Rolling Stones Tshirt featuring the Marianne Faithful news paper headlines at the time.
Who can go wrong with a Primark Mars Bar Party?

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