Category Archives: What year is this?

MAD T.K. MAXX


I wouldn’t want anybody spraining a retina trying to decipher the masochistically minuscule red text at the bottom of this absolute head-scratcher, so I’ll transcribe it (sic) for you.

THE RIDE IN MEMORY OF ALL THOSE
WHO FORGOTT TO LOOK BOTH LEFT AND RIGHT.
AND TO ALL THOSE THAT DID! JUST KEEP WALKING…
AS WE WILL KEEP ROCKING THE INTERSECTIONS
OF TEE CITY.
WATCH OUT!

So, putting all the disparate elements of this design together – and feeling like Sherlock Holmes staring at a table laid out with several pieces of apparently incongruous but abstractly connected evidence – I have eventually arrived at the following harrowing conclusions:

This T-shirt fake-commemorates a made-up event that ran, annually, for six years, between 1978 and 1984, before it was presumably banned owing to widespread public outrage. Said event involved “Dare Drivers” barrelling down “26th Street” with a deliberate lack of due care and attention, often resulting in them ploughing into crowds of pedestrians, leaving behind ghoulish piles of twisted metal and eviscerated flesh (as depicted on the spectral illustration behind the main text).

Those killed were then ‘commemorated’ by the following year’s carnage-filled Dare Drive, which generated yet more deaths, which were then commemorated by the following year’s Dare Drive, and so on and so on, until 1984, when the city’s residents finally decided – after six years of sociopathic automotive slaughter – that enough was enough.

Can that be right? Can it? Like the Koran or the Mona Lisa’s smile, this T-shirt is surely open to an almost infinite number of interpretations. Furrow-browed, elbow-patched, coffee-breathed scholars will be poring over this bad boy for decades.

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EVERYONE LIKES A LITTLE 69


What’s the thinking behind fake-distressed, erroneously-dated designs such as this? Are they intended to trick onlookers into being impressed that the wearer has stayed loyal to a garment that’s long past its prime? Or are they supposed to indicate that the wearer feels profoundly alienated from contemporary life, and yearns to escape to some long-gone, halcyon era? Or… what?

Whatever the reason, fake distressing is fast becoming the norm for many high-street clothing chains. How long before this practice spreads beyond the world of fashion? How long before new cars come pre-riddled with rust, or new houses have chic rising-damp built into them? Ladies will wear bras that make their tits sag, men will shave bald patches onto their heads, and eventually we’ll all just be lying around in the street, pretending to be dead.

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CRAPTATHALON


Just as San Francisco has a Department of Water, a Department of Public Health and a Department of Public Works, it also has a Department of Athletics, which is called upon to deal with the city’s frequent athlete infestations and outbreaks of triple-jumping.

1976 (or “Seventy Six”, if you’re numerically dyslexic) was, of course, the year that hurdles pox broke out in Ashbury Heights. A lot of good people hurt their shins and fell on their faces that winter. Let us never forget.

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MORRIS MINOR THREAT

Reckon your neck tattoo and earlobe gauges make you the final word in edgy, anti-authority cool? Well prepare to stand corrected, because this lady’s got “REBELLION 1983” emblazoned across across her flippin’ eyes and mouth! She’s such a militant iconoclast, she won’t even allow herself to see or eat until the Berlin Wall’s fallen, Thatcher’s resigned and Mandela’s been released.

Thanks to Helen Amazing

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“HEYYY DARLIN’, LOOKIN’ FER BUSINESS?”


This is actually part of a set that includes stick-on arm bruises, a hammer to knock your front teeth out with and an apocalyptic crystal-meth habit.

Thanks to Helen Amazing

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ORIGINAL GANGSTAAAWWWW


Style tip:
Hoping that your T-shirt will make passers-by assume that you’re affiliated with a gang of hardened “street warriors” called the Orphans? Striding around with a tousle-haired kiddy in one hand and a frolicking Shih Tzu in the other will do little to bolster your image as a lawless bad-ass. Instead, try accessorising with a broken bottle and a big bag of uncut drugs.

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PRE-MILLENNIAL TENSION


1999 is strangely, suspiciously recent for a randomly plonked-on year – tradition usually dictates a more refined vintage, such as 1964, 1951, or even 1884. With that in mind, I’m going to assume that this T-shirt actually dates from 1999, and that it’s been hanging forlornly in this London branch of TK Maxx for over a decade.

The branch manager – let’s call him Geoff – just can’t quite bring himself to consign the T-shirt to the 50p bin. In its own funny way, seeing The Movement swaying there on its hanger has become something of a comfort to him. Whatever Geoff went through – his divorce; his money worries; that bloody kidney stone – he could always rely on The Movement: it was there when he opened the shop in the morning; it was there when he slammed down the shutters at night.

“For Christ’s sake, come on, Geoff,” says the area manager. “Either mark it down to 50p or stick it in the bin. We need that space for new stock!”

But Geoff would never give up on The Movement. “It’ll sell, I just know it will,” he’ll say, his voice as certain as a bow fired from an arrow. “It just needs a bit of extra help, is all. A bit of time. A bit of encouragement in a nurturing environment.”

Sometimes he’ll spot customers eyeing The Movement – perhaps even rubbing its fabric between their fingers. His heart races. He’ll suddenly perceive The Movement as a watery-eyed puppy at a dog pound, desperately hoping for an owner to rescue it from certain execution. Those hopes are always cruelly dashed, however, as the customer is distracted away by a newer, prettier garment, with a less unappealing year emblazoned across it. At those moments, Geoff finds The Movement’s spirited message of “Best Of Luck To U” heartbreakingly poignant and naïve.

One day, of course, Geoff is going to be crossing the shop floor, making the journey from tills to stockroom, and out of the corner of his eye he’s going to notice that The Movement – in all its faded, misshapen, XXL glory – isn’t hanging there any more. It will have finally found the home it had craved for so long. Its absence will feel vast and overwhelming.

His feet welded to the spot, Geoff will be taken aback by the tidal wave of melancholy that crashes down upon him – stirring himself into motion, he’ll probably have to dash into the stockroom lavs to have a quiet little weep. But ultimately, sadness will be replaced by an immense and enduring pride. His little bird grew up, flew the nest – and soared.

Thanks to Will Jack

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