American Motorcyclist Association.
I’ll ‘fess up to owning a Laurel and Hardy t-shirt when I was a child. I also had one with Humphrey Bogart saying something memorable from Casablanca. Damned if I can remember what it was now. This was as far as I would go with my counter-culture wardrobe. Most of my school friends were of similar mind. They opted for plus fours, smoking jackets and a fine selection of Arran-knit cardigans. Life was so different in Scotland then.
Of course, there were some who sported denim jackets decked out in assorted patches imported from America. These mass-produced novelties of old men saying things like “Keep on truckin’” or cartoon dogs offering advice about not eating yellow snow always struck me as frightfully quaint yet rather dumb. I suppose I was just confused as to what these badges were supposed to mean. But what did I know? I was merely an innocent child out of step with the current fashion trends.
Soon nearly every youngster across our fabled tartan nation was dressed-up like Joseph in his amazing Technicolored Dreamcoat or at least a brazen tatterdemalion. These patches all signified the same thing. I am unique. I am an individual. These are my likes and dislikes. And look, haven’t I got a wacky sense of humor?
Sad to say, all of this fun passed me by far too quickly and I missed out in the pleasures of actually becoming an individual. My taste in t-shirts was understandably laughed at by those far more in tune with the heady zeitgeist of the day. Laurel and Hardy could never compete with some twee tee saying Pepsi was the “real thing.”
Most of the fashionable peeps wore the American patches and t-shirts. Soon, these were rivaled by our very own homegrown patches declaring a love for the Bay City Rollers or tops saying “My girlfriend went to Arbroath and all she got me was this lousy t-shirt.” That kind of thing.
Those crazy delights of that faraway decade can be enjoyed with this fine selection of adverts selling counter-culture t-shirts and some ads and fine examples of the quirkier patches which were then available. If this whets the appetite then I suggest a visit to Mitch O’Connell’s blog which will leave you positively sated.
Gilda Radner in CREEM magazine t-shirt ad.
More crazy delights from the heady 1970s, after the jump…