Tees Up

As summer is over I wasn’t going to put up any new t-shirt designs until next year, but I’ve sold a few in the past month so I guess it must still be warm somewhere. As usual this is only $14 for a limited time so get it now. Early Christmas presents maybe?

Download: Procession – New Order (mp3)

This was New Order’s second single but is less well known than it’s b-side “Everything’s Gone Green” probably because the latter points more toward the direction the band was to take. It’s a slight song but I always liked it, especially those lovely synth washes.

Tees Up

Two new designs for your wearing pleasure down the Funky Disco. Get them while they’re only $14.

Download: Funky Music Sho Nuff Turns Me On – The Temptations (mp3)

Commercial Break

One look at an old photo of London will tell you the past was a dirtier place: Soot-covered buildings, smog, everyone smoking. But I never knew it was so bad that sweets came in specially reinforced, anti-dirt wrappers.

Download: Trash 2 – Roxy Music (mp3)

This was the b-side of Roxy’s 1979 comeback single “Trash” and is a mellower take on the same song. I prefer the original but I quite like the broody atmosphere of this version.

Tees Up

New t-shirt designs on sale. As usual get them while they’re hot and only $14.

More Tees, Vicar?

Two new designs on sale, get them while they’re hot and only $14.

I have more planned in this range. Any requests for other genres? Funk? Prog? Handbag House?

Tee Two

Now on sale in a variety of styles and colours for the initial low price of $14. My riff on the famous campaign that we all ignored.

Tee Time

In a bid for global domination of the LondonLee brand beyond blogs and magazines, I am expanding into selling my own t-shirt designs (watch out Amazon, I’m coming for you).

The first, Every Day is Record Store Day, is for those who don’t need an excuse to spend too much money on music and comes in a variety of colours for both men and women, all printed on top-quality 100% cotton shirts. It’s now on sale at my online store for the initial low price of only $14 for the first 72 hours and $20 after that — so get them while they’re hot. I have lots more designs coming soon all with the same sweet early-bird deal, so stay tuned.

Shirts are printed, sold, and shipped (including internationally) by the reputable on-demand service Teepublic. It’s secure and easy as pie, they even accept Paypal and will exchange if there’s a problem.

This is the closest I could get to a pop song about t-shirts.

Download: Wearing Your Jumper – A Craze (mp3)

Sleeve Talk

There is some dispute about who originally coined the word “Yuppie” and when, but it first came into widespread use around 1983 and as we all know became one of the defining words of the 1980s: synonymous with “designer” lifestyles, conspicuous consumption, and Phil Collins albums.

But when Heaven 17 released their debut album in 1981 I doubt anyone knew how the decade was going to turn out. That was the year of the riots in Brixton and Toxteth, IRA hunger strikes, unemployment reaching 2.5 million, and Maggie Thatcher being the most unpopular Prime Minister in polling history. Though the wedding of Charles and Diana and the introduction of the Sinclair ZX81 home computer were signs of things to come, it’s fair to say that year the country was still struggling to escape the 70s.

After leaving The Human League, Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh first appropriated the language of big business by giving themselves the corporate-sounding name British Electric Foundation (known by the faceless acronym “B.E.F”), and the sleeve of Penthouse and Pavement presents their recruitment of singer Glenn Gregory to form Heaven 17 as some kind of business merger. The copy proudly declares this to be “The New Partnership That’s Opening Doors All Over The World” in cliched, vacuous marketing-speak, while the power-suited band strike generic stock-photo “business” poses — shaking hands, on the phone — like it’s the cover of a brochure for some dreadful multinational corporation.

The “Heaven 17: Sheffield, Edinburgh, London” logo is apparently a Dunhill pastiche, and the same year those other Left-wing pop intellectuals Scritti Politti were doing similarly subversive, post-modern riffs on luxury brands with their own record sleeves. Heaven 17 took it even further by dressing as businessmen in photo shoots.

While this was all meant as a Lefty piss-take of capitalism and the pro-business rhetoric of Thatcher and Reagan, it turned out Heaven 17 were being unintentionally prophetic in their choice of visuals. Soon the power-suited, hair-slicked-back style of corporate tycoons made the leap from Wall Street and The City to become a mainstream, aspirational look driven by the new breed of go-getting Yuppies. Pop groups started wearing wearing Armani and pinstripes unironically, and the nation’s wine bars were full of young men looking like cut-price Gordon Gekkos in double-breasted suits from Next.

The 1980s ended when the stock market tanked on Black Monday, and coincidentally around the same time Acid House came along and the youth threw away their suits and chinos, and traded them in for dungarees and Smiley t-shirts. Personally I found that all a bit nursery school but it was better than looking like an accountant. Heaven 17 meant it as a conceptual gag but way too many people took it literally.

Download: Play To Win – Heaven 17 (mp3)
Download: We’re Going To Live for a Very Long Time – Heaven 17 (mp3)

What’s it all about?

The sentimental musings of an ageing expat in words, music, and pictures. Mp3 files are up for a limited time so drink them while they're hot. Contact me: lee at londonlee dot com




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