Yesterday afternoon, I found myself wandering around the eastern end of SoHo (i.e. just west of Bowery) and was struck by a t-shirt hanging in the window of a shop on the corner of Elizabeth and Prince called Quality Mending, a sort of bespoke vintage outlet, from what I can tell. The shirt in question featured the artwork from Oingo Boingo’s 1983 album, Good for Your Soul (frankly, not their best effort, is you ask me, but whatever). Being a sucker for t-shirts (as slavishly documented in this category: Opinionated Rants About T-Shirts) I decided to go investigate.
They didn’t have too many vintage shirts on display once I made it inside, but I did see a few familiar ones — a distressed tank-topified version of the Ramones’ Road to Ruin design and an old Adam & the Ants model among them, but I was genuinely intrigued by the one below, that was hung in the window facing Prince Street.
Though somewhat written off in Britain as being too poppy to be proper punks (though I wouldn’t suggest they were any more poppy than, say, Buzzcocks or The Ramones), Generation X were a big favorite of mine. I vividly remember the summer of 1981, when my grade school pal Brad played me “Ready, Steady, Go” off their eponymous debut album and it genuinely blowing a new part in my hair. Those insistent drums, surprising harmonies and chugging guitars totally won me over, produced with blunt resplendence by Martin Rushent, who’d also go onto to twiddle the knobs for 999, the Stranglers, Buzzcocks, Altered Images and The Human League. I dutifully raced to the Crazy Eddie on East 57th street (my then go-to for import LP’s) to fetch a copy of the LP for myself.
Even the cover was awesome — a smeary, saturated sepia portrait of the band looking spiky, sneery, leather-clad and ready for a tussle.
The album itself was crammed to the hilt with amazing, urgent tracks — not only “Ready, Steady, Go” (which still gets my blood pumping), but “From The Heart,” “One Hundred Punks,” “Kleenex” (another blinding favorite), “Day By Day” and more. It may have lacked the vitriol of Never Mind the Bollocks, but there was no disputing the blast of reckless, punky energy that was Generation X.
I was, of course, somewhat befuddled to see the band’s vocalist, Billy Idol, suddenly turn up on “Solid Gold” later that summer to sing a comparatively tame rendition of Tommy James’ “Mony, Mony,” but that’s another story.
So, anyway, being a big ol’ fan of Generation X, there I was staring at this excellent t-shirt with the cover art from the 7” single of “Day By Day.” While I already have drawerfuls upon drawerfuls of dumb punk rock-shirts, my curiosity was still piqued. I reached up to look at the price tag dangling just below the collar.
Apparently, the folks at Quality Mending believe this fetching-if-inarguably-weathered garment is worth a paltry $678.00. Yes, you read that correctly — SIX HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-EIGHT DOLLARS.
I don’t even care if the shirt came off of Billy Idol’s back,….anyone who spends that type of money on a goddamn t-shirt is an abject douchebag.
As much as I love that shirt, to that particularly pungent brand of bullshit, I have to express a hearty Ready, Steady, NO!
Practically shellshocked, I staggered back out onto Prince Street. I happened to glance that all the shop’s vintage clothes (that, presumably, would include the Gen X shirt) are 70% off. That means, I guess, that it’s now priced to move at a mere $203.40
Actually, why don’t you save yourself the $183.09 and get the very same shirt here. You’re welcome.
Let’s pretend this all didn’t happen, shall we?