Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Haven't been there, didn't do that, got the T shirt

It's almost obligatory these days for leisurewear to be covered with banal and almost meaningless words and images. I tend to avoid such items of clothing, although I do have one such item in my wardrobe, bought because it was cheap and for some other obscure reason that I've since forgotten (see Exhibit A, front of T shirt, above).

Neither the slogan or the illustration has any relevance to my life. I've never owned or even driven a VW minibus / camper van* (although my significant other would rather like to own a camper van, if we had the money). I have no idea where North Shore, if it exists, is (somebody once asked if the slogan referred to the North Shore at Blackpool, although the prominent palm trees and the total absence of trams in the picture would strongly suggest otherwise).

In 1968, I wasn't hanging out with beach babes and gnarly West Coast surfer dudes, looking tanned and dangerously cool in beads, shades and a pair of baggies . I was five years old, in a back garden near Scarborough, playing with plastic dinosaurs, dressed in a bottle green jumper, with a reindeer pattern (probably knitted by mum), distinctly un-baggy shorts and Clarks sandals (complete with socks).

 I thought I was alone in finding the fashion for printing more or less nonsensical words and images on clothing just weird and faintly irritating. I am, however, delighted to find that, mirabile dictu, someone's created an entire blog devoted to the sustained mockery of Meaningless T shirts. I strongly recommend that you dip in and enjoy. Via a splendidly curmudgeonly post at the Enemies of Reason.

*An interesting feature of the illustration is that the VW logo is missing from the minibus. I know next to sod all about image rights and the fair use of trade marks, but I'm assuming that this has something to do with not having to pay royalties to Volkswagen.