It’s 1987 – and my favourite band in the world (for a few months, anyway) is Def Leppard. I buy the cassette tape of Hysteria and I receive a free badge! It was metal, and triangular, in reference to the album cover/logo. And I loved it – possibly as much as I loved the album. It had pride of place on my pencil case. I used a black felt pen to write band names all over the pencil case and then I had the Def Leppard Hysteria badge in the top left corner, just below the zip.
The badge stayed there for a few years. It stayed longer than that actual tape of Hysteria.
It stayed there until it became an ironic thing, in fact. And then – randomly – it disappeared. It just, presumably, fell off. And I never thought much about it…
Then, a few years ago I started buying badges and sticking them on my bag – a bit of a gimmicky thing to do; a bit of fun. And I found some of the old ones I had from when I was much younger. I found some I had been given – working in music retail, sent with review copies of albums and I was never very discriminating; I loaded up the bag until it became a bulky, heavy eyesore – bursting with badge-flavoured fruitiness.
But it was a fun thing to do on trips to Australia – buy some badges. Prince, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Deep Purple, Motorhead – these were my souvenirs on trips across to visit friends, to see family, to go to the P.J. Harvey concert…
And then there was that time when I became the subject of a badge, or badges…
I believe the badges were made after I wrote about New Zealand’s Premier BBQ Reggae Ensemble. Well, that’s what the guy told me when he sold me the two in that picture there…
You see – I wanted to get a copy of each badge, as a laugh, mostly just wanted to check them out…but when we went down to buy them the guy in the shop started telling me all about the person w
ho had inspired the badges, how sometimes he gets it right and sometimes he gets it wrong (not much of a trick to the tale – you’ll agree). Well, I wasn’t about to explain that the badges were about me, that I was the person they were referring to. There is no way you can do that without sounding like a wally (yeah, ah, actually they’re about me; the badges are about me).
So I listened. And I learned a wee bit about myself. Just as I do some days as a blog-writer. I get all sorts of helpful things pointed out.
And of course the guy serving me was very good at his job. He was friendly and helpful, and he engaged in a conversation – it’s hard to find retail staff who consistently embody those traits.
I remember thinking it would be fun that year – way back – to buy some Sweetman Is Right badges to give to family as part of their Christmas presents. A bit of a laugh, I figured. But of course when I went in to buy half a dozen of the “Is Right” badges this is when I was recognised. I was also told that it was just as well I wanted that kind; they were all out of the Sweetman Is Wrong variety. Lol
Oh, so anyway, badges…I still have a few of them. I wonder, some days, what to do with ‘em. Do you have a favourite rock’n’roll badge that you wear with certain outfits? Do you have keepsake badges of favourite bands – maybe you don’t wear them but you place them on a bag, or keep them, hold them, save them? Or was it something you did – back in the day – but you don’t do it now? Maybe you think it is silly. Maybe you were never into it at all. I found my Arrow Book Club badge the other day. Shit, it made me proud. Seeing it, some 35 years on from when I last remembered it…why, it was almost like seeing an old friend.