Upcoming gigs

Upcoming Gigs

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TESTT (Durham): April 12th

The New Adelphi (Hull): April 15th

Workshop Theatre (Leeds): April 17th

Hydra Bookshop (Bristol): April 18th

Derby Theatre: April 20th

Harrogate Theatre: April 24-25th

Ovalhouse (London): April 26-28th


London Book Launch at Ovalhouse, April 26th

York Book Launch at All Saints Church, April 29th

Small Fry DIY, Warrington, 2nd May

Spoken Weird, Halifax: 3rd May

Born Lippy, Newcastle 9th May

Shaken In Sheep Town, Skipton: 10th May

Find The Right Words, Leicester : 16th May

Queenie’s Coffee Nights, Huddersfield: 21st May

Gong Fu Poets, Coxhoe: 31st May

Verse Matters, Sheffield: 7th June

Slam Dunk, Hastings: 28th June

Word Club, Leeds: 29th June

Poetry Jam, Durham: 4th October

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

20.15 blog #5: Patchwork People

Yesterday a friend remarked I wasn’t wearing any patches.  Just on my trousers, however.  My hoodie was still covered in patches related to Adventure Time/squatting, TMNT/Anarchy and punk/Roger from Doug.  But she’d never seen me without patches covering my slim (if a tad hairy) legs.

I started wearing patches back at Uni.  Before then, I resisted the call to cover my clothes in patches because I still liked to stream-lined simple approach of a band t-shirt.  I think that’s because I came from a scene where patches were the norm for the punk friendship circle, and at Uni I wanted to stand out more and carve my own identity.

I have three pairs of trousers with patches on.  My black & white patches only, usually an assortment of punk and ska bands.  My folk-punk trousers, consisting only of bands of that genre from across the world.  My anarchy trousers, with three simple yet effective anarchy-related images (Red A, spanner in the works and Sabcat).  My Seen-In-York trousers, a mixture of local and touring bands whom I have caught playing gigs in my hometown.  My hoodies are also themed, there’s the Devil’s Brigade hoodie with black & red patches, and the Against Me! Queer hoodie I can’t wear when I work with kids due to rudeness.

This may seem incredibly obsessive and compulsive to be so rigorous over patches.  They are, after all, simple bits of cloth.  But punk and ska (and metal but…yeah…whatever) are the only genres of music which really push this aspect for fandom.  Mod to an extent, maybe a Strokes or Libertines patch might find its way into a collection, but mainly punks promote themselves through patches.  Why?

Well, punk has always strived for a DIY attitude of self-promotion beyond the mainstream means of communication, and mark of that marketing strategy is to find alternative models of word-spreading.  Zines, hand-made posters and popping your band on a patch.  It also shows a belief.  Punks from across the spectrum of Oi/crust/anarcho/straightedge/boozey all believe in the concept of punk.

I’m currently reading Taqwacores, a fictional book about a fictional Muslim punk scene which actually inspired a real life Muslim punk scene.  The author presents the argument through his characters that the belief in the idea of Islam is similar to the idea of punk.  Now, I’m not comparing a 1400 year-old worldwide religion to three chords, but I think Taqwacores in general is about how one styles one’s identity.

I have always been incredibly aware of how I wanted to be seen and recognised.  As a teenager, I hated clothes with any logo on.  Later, as I got into Anarchistic principles, I realised it’s because to boast that logo is, to me, to place a faith and a belief in that logo.  You are emblazoning a FCUK image across your chest, you must be championing that product.  You’re allowing your body to be a marketing tool.  You become a product too.  What loyalty do you have to brand names?

So it is natural I sport band t-shirts and patches as a sign that this is what I want to promote.  This is what I want you to see.  This is what I want to be associated with.  I have loyalty to ONSIND, Operation Ivy, Rancid, Spook School, The Clash, Jonny Gill etc.

Mischief Brew are one of my favourite bands.  They have a song called Punx Win which includes the lines:

Creep into town,
And it's not long
Before i start to roam.
Seek out the patches on the punx,
Maybe a band I know.
I bet you in five minutes time,
We find that we know all the same
People, places, and roads.
And its not long before I start to feel,
That somehow I can never leave home. 

There have been a few times I’ve struck up a conversation based on someone else’s patches, or someone has chatted to me.  Someone asked if there was a Food Not Bombs chapter in York because of my FNB patch, which allowed them to find out about the FNB efforts locally.

So sometimes I do like to think of myself as a waking billboard, plastered with patches, logos and images.  But these are all images and logo and names which I have actively sought to attach to my clothes, to paint afresh in some cases.  I want to say:  “Hey world!  Check out this band!”

I think it is important to style yourself how you choose.  I think more people should wear patches.  It adds colour and variety, it redesigns and reimagines clothing and just looks fucking cool.

You can buy my patches from my Bandcamp in their various forms.  They look great on t-shirts, hoodies, bags, jackets and socks.

There’s nothing I like better than a good afternoon spent patch-hunting.  Remember kids, patches cost pennies. Pints cost pounds.  Here are some of my favourite Etsy shops for patch-hunting:

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