Sunday, 27 June 2010

‘I Don’t Wanna Be Friends With You – Shop Assistants (1986)

“Say you want to leave while you still like me.
Is this what you do to the people you like?”

People say that it’s hard to find presents for me. It’s not. Just buy me badges – or buttons, if you’re reading this in the US.

At school, my bag and coat were covered in badges I’d bought in Kensington Market and Carnaby Street. Or made myself, by cutting pictures from the music papers. They always featured the names or album sleeves of obscure indie bands, such as the Shop Assistants. It was all part of my social vetting process. A nod of recognition would spark a lifelong friendship. More often than not though, it was shrugs of indifference from my Bon Jovi-loving classmates. My friend Chris took another approach and would try to antagonise the teachers with badges declaring his love for Gaye Bykers on Acid and Alien Sex Fiend.

Let’s take a peek at my bag and coat today. ‘Home is where the record player is.’ ‘Can’t sleep; clowns will eat me.’ ‘Ninjas are watching you.’ And a fab weather-worn Moomins badge my friend Tarnie made for me (and some woman on a train once wanted to buy).

I recently lost a wonderful Pat Phoenix badge that I’d had since school days. Shop assistants (ooh ... nice bit of symmetry there) would often ask me who it was … and then quickly wish they hadn’t bothered when I used to start recounting tales of 'Coronation Street' from the 1970s. Anyhoo … now you know what to get me for Christmas.

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