Hello, my name's Lisa and I live in the lovely city of Cardiff. I work in community arts by day, and write by night. This blog is home to my writing about anything and everything. Most regularly that includes observations on life, music reviews and running based tales. I also post some short stories. It would be great to hear from you if you'd like to say hello.
When you hear the phrase tour t-shirts, perhaps you think of a cool piece of clothing. Some memorabilia from a great gig, furbished with a quirky image, a band logo, some unique artwork. I like those too. They are not the subject of the words which await you. There is a different tour t-shirt which has haunted my adult life. It is brash. At best it draws attention. At worst it is offensive. And embarrassing. The female version is invariably pink. It is a culmination of hateful things, and the fact it exists means it must be worn by the designated, in my case unwilling owner. But that was the past, I am older, I am less tolerant. This is the story of the t-shirt of tour, and my campaign to eradicate them from the face of the earth. Which is ambitious, I’ll admit. At the very least, I will deride them here. And I shall never wear one again.
Pic of a hen party available on the interwebs. I'm not in it.
I ought to explain a little more for the t-shirt of tour rookie. A stag or hen party is usually to blame for the hideous article; activities alone which plunge a cold knife of dread into my heart. The t-shirt is the poisonous icing on an already sour cake. But the hens and shirts share a seemingly fatal attraction. Some people cannot leave home without emblazoning the purpose for said trip across their torso. And just in case they forget their name, that is helpfully printed too, along with a date and location. But not in a straightforward kind of way, oh no. Part of the t-shirt’s un-appeal for me, is the “let’s invent the crudest / ‘craziest’ names for ourselves and our trip” game. Whilst browsing online as research for this article, I came across many a t-shirt company who appear to make their living from t-shirts of tour. They suggest slogans such as ‘Watch Out, Hen Party About’, ‘Sex, Drugs and Sausage Rolls’, or ‘Horny Hen’. Delightful. They will of course, print any slogan of the orderer’s choice, which, from viewing experience around a range of night-time city centres, are inevitably far cruder / ‘crazier’ than anything t-shirt companies are able to display via their website. This kind of crass conduct makes me cringe, and the t-shirt of tour has become, for me, synonymous with all manner of abhorrence; fake tan, blow up dolls, fluff lined cowboy hats, ankle-breaking high heels, overt drunkenness, 'bunny' ears, misogynistic sexual innuendo, nasty nightclubs, and Cardiff’s own nefarious nuclei, St Mary’s Street.
There's a Lisa out there who likes t-shirts of tour.
I am a private person. I blush involuntarily and do not invite the limelight. As such, I do not wish to act as a walking billboard, promoting myself to passers by. If I go on a trip…well, I just go…I do not tell people I am there via t-shirted means. They can see and hear you already stag/hen party gaggle, why draw further attention with illuminous coloured garb? Even less enticing to me are the sorry slogans. I am polite, I was brought up not to swear and definitely not to be lairy. I enjoy using the English Language for hopefully constructive purposes. I do not wish to link myself to the aforementioned abhorrent associations. So why, given all of these reasons, would I broadcast terrible, tacky words upon my being? My DIY psycho-analysis leads me to believe the perpetrators need to validate their ‘fun’having by advertising and enhancing with ‘crazy’ or ‘zany’ t-shirts; “I am having fun, honest, here in Newcastle in 2011.”
I will stop before my writing becomes ranting. I think I have made my point. If you get backed into a sticky situation where t-shirt of tour wearing is required, please join me in my campaign and say no. If you wish to send me t-shirts of tour photographs so they can be publicly derided here, please do so, and likewise, feel free to mail any real life t-shirt examplesso they can be reduced to ash on a bonfire.*
*T-shirt of tour bonfire postal address available upon request.
Some things in life which make me happy include art and words and beards. I don't sport facial fuzziness myself you understand, but associate the look with wonderful North American music, and forever more a romantic association has been created. As sightings of good beards make me smile, so does looking at art which floats my boat. It has long been proven that art is linked to wellbeing, and for me, wonderful words have the same effect - obviously they're the staple of the writerly diet I'm trying to stick to. Imagine my happiness then, when I found beards and art and words* combined in a vision of loveliness by artist and designer Matthew Jackson. In case of imagination extractions - well, I am very happy indeed.
You can find more of Matthew's prints in his shop, peruse his blog or follow him on Twitter here.
*I know, they're actually letters which make up the word beard. Over and over. I'm still excited.
Darwin Deez’s NY born music is funky and poppy, breezy and fun; as such I was expecting a pleasant enough gig on this Wednesday evening. The reality way exceeded my expectations - a live eighties extravaganza! The first in my succession of Cardiff super promoter Swn gigs, this was an enlivening start and surprising indeed. Extravagantly performed group dance routines punctuated tracks, reminiscent of so-terrible-they-are-amazing workout videos, or two decades old school disco dancing, all stylistically enhanced by Darwin’s trademark moustache, ringlets and sweatband. Mash-up covers accompanied the multitude of moves, including artists such as Paul Simon and Enya. The conclusion? A wonderful gig, resulting in a lot more like for Darwin Deez. I challenge you to leave their live performance sans smile.