In Praise of the Band TShirt #1

Not Me

Come Home – James (Fontana, 1990, Taken from ‘Gold Mother’)

In Christmas 1990 Santa gave me a James T-shirt not dissimilar to one in the picture above. I think I wore it non stop for about a month. I thought I was the coolest kid about (in reality I was awkward, socially naïve, sported a haircut that was worryingly like a mullet (well I trying to grow it long), and had only just got round to removing the Milli Vanilli cassettes from the drawer full of tapes I had). It was a worn like a badge of honour, even though I had to explain to curious grandparents who James were and had to tell complete strangers about twenty times that I wasn’t called James.

Of course back then James sold more T-shirts than they did records, to the point that my T-shirt was neither cool or unusual because loads of people were wearing them, including bizarrely my P.E Teacher, Mr Arnold. The ‘es’ of the logo could sometimes be seen underneath his white shirt.

Mr Arnold was too many a complete bastard. Largely because he made us do laps of the sports field in the freezing cold or kicked footballs at us if we spoke whilst he was teaching us on the pitch. He also bowled a mean leg break, something I found out in the annual staff vs pupils cricket match, when he sent my middle stump flying just as I was getting comfortable on 7 not out.

Anyway, one school disco, I turned up in my James T-Shirt and this would have been about a week or two before ‘Lose Control’ came out and us cool indie kids (there were four of us, two James T-Shirts, one New Order shirt, one Clash Shirt) sat on the benches at the back and tried out best to look cool and pathetically fail in any attempts to impress girls, when over walked Mr Arnold, a pissed off look on his face, because he had to babysit half drunk teenagers on a Friday night and not be down the pub beating people up, which we guessed is where he spent most of his Fridays (like all P.E Teachers, right?).

Lose Control – James (1990, Fontana Records, Taken from ‘Gold Mother’)

I’ll be honest, we’d had a can of cider each and we had a slightly hazy look about us because of it – it would have probably have been Merrydown Cider lifted from my dads cupboard and downed in about two minutes on the way to disco. We quickly stuffed our mouths which polo mints, and tried to not to look scared when Mr Arnold sat next to us.

“Two things”, he said with a Northern growl, we shuffled along a bit in case he tried to kill us with his bare hands. “Firstly, James are on the John Peel Show next week, you should probably check it out.” A pause. A double take. “And secondly, because you four appear to have developed decent taste in music, I shall choose to ignore the fact that I saw you drinking cider down the alley behind the butchers before the disco, have a good night, lads, remember Peel next week.” and with that he wandered off to harass a lad wearing some Fila Trainers.

Sit Down – James (1991, Fontana Records, Single)

1 Comment

  1. JC says:

    Mine was green.

    Cracking story. Beats the reaction at one of my school discos when my mate, trying to smuggle in a half bottle of vodka under his jacket, stumbled over a stair at the main entrance and watched in horror as it fell out and smashed onto the concrete floor. He then argued until he was blue in the fact that it was water in a vodka bottle as he was only trying to look cool.

    Neither of us were allowed in.


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