North-East Fashion Show

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Published by Matthew Davidson on Wed, 27/11/2019 - 9:33pm in

About a year ago I crossed back over the line between obese and merely overweight, and a month or two back I tried on some old clothes that I had been hanging on to for over a quarter of a century. There's a waistcoat which I bought when I was 20 years old, when I had decided that I was going to be that kind of eccentric person (spoiler: quickly grew out of that aspiration, and the waistcoat). Also some t-shirts of NME-approved bands which I had abandoned hope of ever fitting into again - and in any case they were too tattered and moth-eaten to wear - but I couldn't bear to throw out and had a vague idea that I would repurpose into retro cusion covers or something.

Anyway, they're taking up space in my tiny flat and need to pay their way, so here's your unrequested sample of what the marginally fashionable were wearing in 1989:

You're twisting my melon, man. This probably unlicensed shirt repurposed an NME cover photo with a none too subtle hidden message. I'm from up North! E by gum!

This is the tour shirt I bought when, on January 25th 1990 (the date is on the back), I dragged my friend PaulVC along to the Hordern Pavillion to see the Pogues. Thanks to ABC TV's Rage, Paul was vaguely familiar with the hits (Dirty Old Town, Sally MacLennane, etc.), but I suspect was mainly drawn by Paul Kelly as the support act. The Hordern Pavillion was still then a part of the Royal Agricultural Showgrounds, and we watched Paul Kelly from the back stalls, where every Easter there would be elaborate displays of pumpkins, cabbages, etc. displaying regional pride in the bounteous produce of stolen land.

I'd queued for my first ever plastic beaker of Guiness, declaring it unfit for human consumption (as indeed it is when served under those conditions), but fortunately I'd also been drinking all day (as was my custom at the time), and had a backup hip flask of Southern Comfort. (Technically not a drink, but a kind of liquid confectionary which I could not stomach these days, and which the security guard searching my bag at the gate assumed was a sandwich, as it was in a brown paper bag - oh, to be so innocent!)

When Kelly, who is a folk-rock national treasure and whom I do not mean to belittle in any way by comparison to the best band ever, finished his set I insisted that we go down to the mosh pit for the headline performers. In the Hordern Pavillion, the mosh pit is the majority of the audience space, as the terraced seating area is, as I say, designed for pumpkins, cabbages, etc. artfully arranged for the people of Sydney to dutifully file past and appreciate over Easter when everything else is shut.

The band played a blinder. Shane was brilliant, which was not always the case in those days (forgivably, for reasons I'll reserve for another post). It was glorious.

Take me back to dear old blighty… Well, the less said the better. Do you remember the days before "Bengali in Platforms" and "National Front Disco"? Honestly, he used to seem so witty and compassionate. Trick of the light, I suppose.

That Freaky Dancing, just doing me in.

Second album: hmm, yeah but that's how second albums go. Third album: forgivable. Fourth album: only fit for playing in an elevator. Still, I'm always available as a spare pair for the eight-legged groove machine.