Mrs JO’B went to Supergrass and all I got was this lousy tea towel!
Updated: Sep 2, 2021
While being locked down, socially distanced and (gimp)masked has helped me avoid the dreaded lurgee, unfortunately it’s left my rather ragged immune system open to any old bug. So, whilst I remain thankfully COVID free, I have been wiped out by your bog standard cold (my immune system is much less snobby that I am). The biggest downside of this being that I had to miss seeing Supergrass last week.
I stayed at home spluttering, hacking cough and repeated covid tests shoved up my nose and down my throat to ensure I wasn’t dying. Meanwhile, cough free and with enviably dry nose, Mrs JO’B headed off with two friends and had a ball (yes, she did indeed want to go out Gaz. No, she did not want to stay home).
Thoughtful as ever, she brought me back a gift – a Supergrass tea towel. What else do you get the middle-aged music fan? Possibly it’s a subliminal message about doing more drying up, but more importantly, it’s another addition to the ever-growing list of peculiar band merchandise I seem to acquire.
Nowadays, bands have exhausted the traditional extra ways to bring in cash Re-issue! Re-package! Re-package! Double-pack with a photograph, extra track (and a tacky badge)….
Back in the day, you bought a t-shirt, possibly a badge and maybe a hat? Nowadays, bands produce branded versions of EVERYTHING. I still have not got over seeing the Jesus & Mary Chain selling tea towels at a gig – how did they go from riots to drying up?
You can see the future as they need new products to bring in the cash that Spotify and others have stolen from artists. I see a future where stalls sell Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Incontinence Pads….Primal Scream’s Personal Pension Plan….Blur’s disposable contact lens and of course, Happy Mondays’ Erectile Dysfunction tablets - “Pills, Thrills & Stiffies”….
But here are a few of my favourite bits of merchandise, that I genuinely love and wish bands would do more of.
I still love badges. I am less inclined to stick them on my nice jackets these days, but I like the discreet sign to people around you that you are part of their gang. These days my favourite badge lives on my Fred Perry satchel, a little Tim Burgess. It’s a discreet nod to a national treasure.
9. Sergeant Pepper Grinder
Brilliant birthday gift from my friend Simon, though sadly comes without a little salt for my friends.
8. Toy Yellow Submarine
Again, a brilliant old birthday gift. I love it and my heart always sinks when friends with small children come round and they want to play with this “toy”…..it’s not a toy….it’s my Yellow Submarine! Fortunately, none of the little buggers have managed to break it yet
7. Kate Bush Mug
Who wouldn’t want to drink out of a dancing Kate Bush every morning??? Thanks Stevey!
6. Marillion Coasters
To protect your surfaces from the warm wet circles….thanks Ros and Mark!
5. RUN DMC Figures
Hip-hop legends protect my socks and pants each night. Very good of them to do so...
4. New Order’s Power Corruption and Lies
As is well documented, this is probably my all-time favourite album and its cover is as beautiful as the music it showcases.
It’s a reproduction of A Basket Of Roses by Henri Fantin-Latour, a fixture in the National Gallery’s permanent collection. When the National Gallery refused permission for the image to be used, Tony Wilson, Factory Records’ legendary owner called the gallery director and asked who actually owned the picture. When he was told the people of Britain own it, he replied then the people of Britain want it on this album. He got away with it (as he did with so many things).
I doubt the National Gallery expected the image to end up as my lampshade (along with three other NO/JD covers - thanks Clare and Paul), a record mat and best of all, on my Dr Martens….the latter are my favourites, as I get knowing looks from men of a certain age whenever I wear them.
3. Hello, Is It Tea You’re Looking For?
Not quite as good as the butchers allegedly called Halal, Is It Meat You’re Looking For?, this is pretty bloody good – it’s a cup and teapot combined. Awesome!
2. Handwritten lyrics
Lloyd Cole has started writing out the lyrics of his songs for fans - a brilliant idea and I love my Rattlesnakes lyrics more than you'll know. Such a super-cool idea - his wife Beth also very kindly arranged for him to write the lyrics of Perfect Skin (without charge) as first wedding anniversary present for our friends Sasha and Adam.
1. Homemade Joy Division Oven Gloves
For my 40th, my friend Nicky made these using a stencil and some Ikea oven gloves – bringing to life one of Half Man Half Biscuit's greatest lyrics - Joy Division Over Gloves. If they look grubby, it’s because they have been used regularly and are still going many years on (a bit like HMHB themselves). As the great men sang “Get Your Joy Division Oven Gloves, Hallelujah”!
I love all these things and I will use/wear them listening to the associated wonderful music and dance my legs down to my knees….