Wednesday, 12 October 2016

People’s history of pop

Like many people my age, I often watch the music documentaries on BBC4 on a Friday night. Sometimes I enjoy these programmes. Sometimes I hate myself a bit for succumbing to cheap nostalgia. More often, I hate the presenters or the talking heads who half the time Weren’t There and most of the time are men. One of my friends even calls it “middleagedwhiteblokenight”.

The People’s History of Pop is a bit different. Not enough different, but a bit is a start. Because it’s not about presenters (although there always is a celebrity presenter) or about talking heads, but about fans.

“The story of pop told by those who love it the most”, they say.

There are still more men than women, but at least there are women. (I’d love to see a show called Women’s History of Pop. How about it, BBC?)

Last week’s episode was 1976 to 1985. There was a woman new romantic, and a woman Durannie, and a woman Smiths fan, who said “I changed as a person, in front of my family’s eyes”. There weren’t any women punks though, which was sad.

They’re still asking for people to appear in future episodes, but I must have missed the memo for this one.

When you’re on the show, they get you to talk about your memorabilia. So this is what I would have talked about if they'd asked me. What would you take, if it was you?

1. Silver jubilee milk bottle top

Silver jubilee milk bottle top

In 1977, my idea of punk fashion was charity-shop clothes worn with home-made badges and found objects. My favourite found object was a silver jubilee milk bottle top, which I wore safety-pinned to my Oxfam shop black blazer. It was supposed to be a tribute to the Sex Pistols, not the Queen. Or ironic. Or something. I’ve still got it – complete with safety pin.

2. My badges

Badges for punk bands

Punk rock medals. I used to have a lot more, but these are my favourites and I’ve always kept them. As you can see, I was a big fan of Jonathan Richman. The Slits and the Raincoats had to be included, too.

3. I can’t show you a picture of this, because it’s in the loft and I’d need to climb over a lot of boxes to get to it, and my climbing days are over. It’s a Ramones T shirt – a bit faded and a bit shrunk (and even if it hadn’t, it still wouldn’t fit me now), but never to be thrown away. I’ve had it for nearly 40 years and I can’t remember where I got it. But it definitely wasn’t Primark.

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