Yes, dear reader, that was me, back when I was tearing down the pop posters from my bedroom wall as soon as I became 18, a man no longer a boy. There I was, on my 18th birthday itself, grabbing those silly juvenile band posters, ripping the wallpaper behind them in my hurry to erase all sign of my embarrassing teenybopper tastes ...
Or rather, nothing of the kind happened. I'm not quite sure what was adorning my bedroom wall when I was 18 - possibly a Blondie poster which I'd had from about the age of 14, possibly an Undertones poster as well - but I'm pretty sure nothing much changed at the age of 18. Or 19. Or 20.
At one stage in my late-teens/early 20s I had a "Why?" anti-war poster and - I think - a Dead Kennedys poster. Possibly a Crass one. Dunno now, my mind can't seem to form a proper picture. Maybe it's too uncomfortable - summoning up memories of juvenilia like this ...
But, but ... what is this Buzzcocks poster nonsense I now see before me? A poster just sitting there in my present-day flat - in a different time and a different place (different kitchen) - the flat, indeed, of (gulp) a 54-year-old man?
Ever fallen in love (with a poster you shouldn't have)
Yeah, it's a good question. To explain: having been given the Love Bites poster by an acquaintance more than 30 years ago (in about 1985!), I've held onto it ever since. Having rather half-heartedly put it up in a rarely-used bedroom in my parent's house for a few years, for most of the past three decades it's languished on a shelf, folded up and ... just kept there.
Because ... well, it's a Buzzcocks poster. Like a deeply-lined face, this tatty old item is scarred by fold lines and its corners are torn, full of drawing pin holes and falling to bits. So like its decrepit owner, it's in a shocking state, but still, it's a tangible link to (my increasingly intangible) past. For one thing, the Buzzcocks retain their ability to float the boat of this particular ancient pop mariner. And for another, I've always been rather touched by the fact that the poster was given to me in a moment of real generosity by a bloke I didn't know too well who was then a local (Coventry) music scenester who might have been aloof and ungenerous but actually wasn't. How nice.
But, though a link to my past and referencing something still musically relevant, these very "straight" major label promo posters are just so undeniably ... dull. No doubt in this case intended to tap into the Smash Hits pop-new wave market for which United Artists were so clearly grooming Shelley, Diggle et al, and featuring a fairly pleasing Malcolm Garrett design, it's still a deeply uninspired product.
Uninspired but increasingly valuable. As the marketisation of all things punk continues, I understand that pristine Love Bites posters are now selling for in excess of £300 (I should think mine's worth about 30 pence). Offered money for mine, I'd rather rip it up in front of the would-be buyer than sell it - not from nostalgia, but because this commerce in music merch leaves me cold.
No, let's put away childish things like the selling of old records, t-shirts and other music merchandise. No more commerce from nostalgia!
Instead, let's act like adults. Like my kind benefactor all those years ago, give these things to people if they want them and you don't. And in the meantime if you want to "remix" your old Buzzcocks poster with a few sub-Linder/John Heartfield adornments like I have - then you should!
Yes, re-arrange it, cut it up, put it back on the wall. History is punk and your future and your past are presently disarranged. I wouldn't always recommend trying to surf on a wave of nostalgia for an age yet to come, but sometimes ... it's worth a try.