Saturday, 6 October 2012

I need a second skin/something to hold me tough

I gave my trusty punker jacket its last rites last night. 7 years of wear and tear had reduced it to shreds, and though I was loath to let it go, the huge split along the seam on the left arm was irreparable. It was a cheap, tacky thing, covered in zips and pockets, too shiny to convince as real leather, and I loved it. 

I bought it from Primark for a tenner, and customized it with a scatter of badges. It was one of my favourite gig jackets: stretchy enough to squeeze a jumper underneath it in winter and slim enough to pack away for the journey home after sweat-pit venue shows. Primark products aren't famed for their longevity, so I was surprised when it lasted past its first year. It was an anomaly in my Primark shopping experience. It was a survivor.

I find Generation Primark's disposable clothes culture disturbing, and not just because their threads are solely responsible for clogging up the rails of once-decent charity shops nationwide. Cheapness doesn't bother me at all - I was raised on thiftcore! - but I tend to wear my clothes till they fall apart, so I expect good mileage outta them. I treasure threadbare knees, frayed edges and torn, worn holes the same way that older cultures value wrinkles: as battle scars, honour badges, a sign that someone (thing) has truly lived. I invest in clothes emotionally, and am always surprised when others don't. They're intimate, familiar things, pressed close to our skin, our sweat, our heartbeat. They are comforting constants, witnesses to the minutiae of our everyday frustrations and pleasures, soaking up the years of our experience, holding a thousand memories in their stitching. 

When I think of my jacket, I think of all the adventures I had wearing it, all the music I experienced with it. I think of how I pinned my 'i went to yr concert and i didn't feel anything' badge to it's lapel after filming the Keep On Livin' karaoke video at Unskinny Bop's Mo Crackers event. I think of how sweaty I got wearing it at every punk gig I ever attended at The Fighting Cocks. I think of how my girlfriend used its loose belt ends to pull me in close, for a kiss. I think about how I'd stash it under the DJ booth at Club Rogue while setting up my cds for the night, cavalier about the culture of mold spores it'd fester in during my set because I was a young, drunk, queer punk and cheerfully at home in the filth of smelly, mildewed basement clubs. So many memories wrapped up in this one crappy/precious jacket! And so sad, to say goodbye.

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