The Billy Bragg T–Shirt Challenge


The very t-shirt I did not buy


Last week I got a great text from a friend, it was Sunday morning and I was contemplating whether I could spend the whole day in my PJ’s when I noticed there was a message on my phone. As usual I had the sound was turned down so hadn’t noticed it come in. As my phone dumped all my contacts a while ago I wasn’t sure, at first, who has sent it. So half assuming it was some sort of spam I glanced at it before looked more closely. ‘I have a spare ticket to Billy Bragg tonight – do you want to come’. Do I want to go and see Billy Bragg? Silly question, I can’t imagine ever saying know to that. Thankfully the message was signed so I didn’t have to reply – yes please and who are you?

I texted back as fast as my middle-aged thumbs would allow – ‘count me IN!’

I am definitely out of touch as I wasn’t even aware that Billy Bragg was in Australia. I went to the website to see what gig I had agreed to attend (wouldn’t it be terrible if Billy had gone all religious and was doing a bible reading).   The gig turned out to be Billy Bragg and Joe Henry ‘Shine a Light Tour’. The two of them jumped on a train in Chicago and went across the USA getting off and recording train songs along the way. Not officially – they just found a quiet spot and recorded the track and then got back on the train.   How cool would that be, just like being old style wandering minstrels or hobos (there was much hobo discussion during the gig).

How good was this? – Billy Bragg and trains – two if my favourite things. I, of course, caught the train into the city for the gig.

The gig did not disappoint – it was magical, in the amazing Melbourne Recital Centre, even the seats were comfortable. More like going on a journey with a good friend than a traditional gig, I enjoyed every minute. The songs are still in my head and the feeling of just being in the moment, being totally happy and content exactly where you are.

So after all that joy what I needed to top it off, to keep the moment alive was some merchandise.   I love buying t-shirts at gigs, I have draws full of them, going all the way back to Glastonbury 1982. I do wear the t-shirts, although I probably have enough to last about 50 years, it is not like they wear out quickly. I wanted a t-shirt badly but on this occasion I had to watch my friends buy merchandise and step back looking on longingly (Helen step away from the merch). I almost waivered, my friend offered to buy one for me, but I sadly said no, there was no way a t-shirt I did not need could be defined as anything other than stuff. The whole thing was made more difficult by the fact that it was a particularly nice t-shirt, blue, with a train on it. But I am not buying stuff so I took a picture instead. I am still a bit sad about this one…..

PS – Coming soon what happened to my tablet, will I get it fixed?


2 thoughts on “The Billy Bragg T–Shirt Challenge

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