This time last week I was on a train, hurtling down to the capital to make my radio debut on BBC 6 Music. Thanks to a lovely group of friends who raised the cost of my train ticket over one night, I was able to say yes to the Steve Lamacq Show, who had contacted me about being an in-studio guest on the popular drive time show.
I spent the weekend washing and drying my entire collection of band t-shirts, thanks to Cilla who dashed in and out, catching any sun to be had on the wettest and windiest November weekend. All packed and ready to go I boarded the Hull Trains service direct to Kings Cross.
Thanks to Lyall Hakaraia who greeted me at the station and proceeded to guide me across the capital to Oxford Circus and then on to Western House. En route I saw a busker at the top of Regent’s Street, sat cross-legged, singing through a traffic cone.
Inside the foyer I spy an impressive wall of plectrums and a framed staff picture which I try to take a selfie with. You will note I am wearing the orange band t-shirt from The Schoolgirls – who I later describe in colourful terms live on air. I had 80 t-shirts to choose from and I chose this niche Hull band because, as so eloquently written by MJ Hibbett, I wanted to ‘let the weird band win‘. Their music isn’t to everyone’s taste but I love their DIY attitude, their dogged energy and belief in what they do. The vibe you get at their live shows is just ace. That and the fact that Jonathon and James are bloody good blokes is why, out of all the t-shirts, I chose to wear theirs. Jonathan’s been on popular daytime quiz show Pointless you know…out in the second round over a question on the Periodical Table.
Sat in the room adjacent to the studio I spy Goldie being photographed by the 6 Music logo, I refrain from taking a snap myself. Asked to unpack my collection, I set about redecorating the space around me. Laying out t-shirts and memorabilia on the table.
While I am doing this Gilles Petersen comes by and congratulates me on the sheer number and variety of memorabilia, t-shirts, badges I have brought to the show. Anxious pacing. I don’t think I sat down once as the minutes ticked by on the clock, fast approaching half past five.
After arranging and rearranging the table Steve Lamacq comes out and greets me. Poring over the collection he picked out the pale yellow ‘I HATE THE SUMMER’ tee by SixNation State. We both pose with our t-shirts by that giant six on the wall. Would appear this is a favoured spot for publicity shots.
Grabbing my notes, a couple of t-shirts and some badges I am ushered into the studio. Headphones on we begin: Listen Again Here. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06phw5z (from halfway in)
Off air, Steve asks me a few questions about Hull. Recalling a few nights at Spiders Night Club he asks me if the legendary club is still going. ‘People are still getting themselves into trouble at Spiders,’ I reply.
You can hear us discussing the difference between collectors and hoarders – I think it is down to quality not quantity – however quality is subjective. My torn and mildewed NME t-shirt is a treasure to me, but to someone else it’d be ripped up for dish rags.
Off air Steve tells me how as a younger man, he would write down the names of tunes as he listened to the John Peel Show, and then give each track a star rating out of three. I did similar – without the star ratings – and made bootleg recordings on C90s. I thank Peely for introducing me to acts such as New Bad Things, Leftfield and the wonderful SRC. Read More
This entire venture all came about from a rather fanciful blog Confessions of Band T-shirt Addict. I’d written for Weird Retro, a site run by arts activist Rich Wilson, that celebrates collectibles and nostalgia. I hadn’t given it much thought, since the initial interest the first week of publishing, then all of a sudden I was asked to contribute to BBC 6 Music’s #Tshirtday the campaign to encourage music fans to wear their old band t-shirt to work.
There was an online vote held by BBC 6 Music for Best band t-shirt ever. Not surprisingly Joy Division’s unmistakable Unknown Pleasures cover, designed by Peter Saville was voted the nation’s favourite: it had my vote too.
Look out for more posts about collectors and collections coming in 2016
The Schoolgirls have a new album out ‘all that we say and do is right‘ go and buy it for your loved ones now! https://theschoolgirls.bandcamp.com/