Emerging bands still use them for petrol money, we buy them for memories: the band T-Shirt is a multi-purpose thing.
In the same way that I can’t walk past a record shop without going in, I can’t ignore a merch stand. I think it might be part of the Music Fans Condition (like the Human Condition, but more irrationally subjective).
The T-Shirt does so many jobs. It is a declaration of love; a show of loyalty; an ice breaker; a tribal badge; an artistic statement….and in some cases an aid memoire.
For instance, I spent most of my life, cheerfully believing that I have never been to Farnborough (it’s near Aldershot I think). That was, until sorting through some T-shirts a few years back and discovering an old Mega City 4 shirt which looked alright. Turning it over, it transpires that it was a special shirt to mark their homecoming gig at Farnborough Leisure Centre. At the bottom it lists the DJs for the gig. I’m one of them. It was only then the haziest of recollections of the night started to form.
Discovering it though, was like finding a postcard from my youth; a reminder of another era. This, I think, is why I’ve kept so many shirts down the years, even if they spend a lot of their time, stuffed into any available draw and cupboard here at 24 Railway Cuttings.
And this, in turn, was one of the reasons, we dreamt up Wear Your Favourite Old Band T-Shirt To Work Day.
Again, there is something petulant and irrational about the thought process, but back in 2007 when we were being confronted by endless tabloid pictures of hapless actors, TV celebs and catwalk models wearing T-shirts for the likes of The Ramones, Kiss and The Rolling Stones – as some sort of pithy fashion statement – we decided something had to be done.
It was time to reclaim the band T-shirt as a testimony of love and respect, rather than a credible off-the-peg fashion accessory. We would bring down the fly-by-nights and fakers, with a massive demonstration by genuine music fans, taking the form of a national day in honour of the threadbare band T-shirt.
Of course, written down now, it does sound a bit daft, but it turns out, there was something to this massive sulk of an idea.
Ten years on Wear Your Old Band T-Shirt To Work Day, has grown into a real tribute to all those T-shirts that spend the rest of a year in a box in the attic. It’s like brining out your old photo albums; or meeting up with friends from college.
It is a brief moment of nostalgia, but in a lot of cases, a reminder of the lengths we’ve gone to, to support bands we like. And a reminder of why we still do it.
So, if you fancy it….it’s this coming Friday: Wear Your Favourite Old Band T Shirt To Work 2017.
From 7am to 7pm all the records played on 6Music will be linked to a picture of a shirt that one of our listeners is wearing on the day. Just tweet @bbc6Music or @bbclamacqshow using #Tshirtday.