Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Favourite Shirts

I threw out my favourite shirt this weekend. It was a thick, wooly, green and brown checked affair that I'd had since I was a teenager.

Below is a PARTICULARLY unflattering photo of me wearing said shirt in 1996, taken by a former colleague and linked to on Facebook (yet another reason to hate that site). Seriously, I've posted some terrible, terrible, NSFW things on this blog in my time, but this is definitely the most disturbing.














And yet, as much as I hate that photo, I can't help but feel a swelling in my heart and a weight behind my eyes as I look upon it now... because I'm wearing my favourite shirt.

That shirt and me, we went through so much together. As the years went by, it became my official "winter walking" shirt. I'd come home from work, change out of my work clothes, put on that shirt (over whatever T-shirt / undershirt I'd been wearing all day) then head off up into the hills. Whatever the weather. I'd wear a coat too, but even if it was just a kagool or an anorak, I wouldn't ever feel the cold. Because that shirt was THICK. It was WARM. It was like a wraparound security blanket. It was like a hug from an old friend, and during its prime, I didn't have many friends - certainly none that would be prepared to give me a hug. It made me feel comfortable. It made me feel a little less alone in this vast, cold, uncaring universe.

But nothing lasts forever. After 20 plus years, that shirt was little more than rags. I'd patched up the elbows, resewn the buttons, ironed out the creases so many times... there wasn't anything left holding it together. I'd worn it out. For the last year or so its remnants have hung in my wardrobe like a spectral tatterdemalion, unwearable but unthrow-out-able too. But there comes a time when you have to switch off the life support and say goodbye. No charity shop would have wanted it, so with heavy heart I consigned it to the wheely bin. Guilt, grief, regret... all these would follow.

Goodbye, old shirt. Thanks for the memories. Have a Haircut 100 song on me...


The Sagittarian said...

Very brave! I have a pair of delabidated old boots that walked me round Europe about 18 years ago, and haven't really done much since but I can't bring myself to throw them out just yet....

dave said...

I feel for you Rol. I really do. I had to throw out my favourite old shirt earlier in the year. MY lovely old Pixies Trompe Le Monde shirt, bought the same day as the album on it's release day, was consigned to the bin after much heartache and argument with the wife. "You never wear it" "Of course I don't, it's a collection of holes and ink stains held together with somne scraps of cotton, but it's what the shirt means, it's the memories it cones with that I need to keep."

It went in the bin, as a shirt with 8 neck holes is not a shirt it's a dishcloth.

Steve said...

Wheelie bin?! Have you not heard of archiving? Of personal ephemera? That shirt could be a museum piece in years to come when you've made your millions writing...! Go and save it from the landfill now!

Blimey. I'm having a flashback to Toy Story 3. That's not going to help, is it?

dickvandyke said...

Silly sod!

Mind you, I feel the same about the wife.

Rol said...

Sag - exactly... and your boots took you a lot further than my shirt, which generally went up one side of Deer Hill and back down the other.

Dave - see, this is why you will always be cooler than me.

Steve - more likely it'd be evidence for the prosecution.

DVD - it's not too late to get her out of the wheelie bin. They dustmen don't come till this afternoon.

dickvandyke said...

If they turn up!

At least I've put her in the 'green bin' for re-cycling purposes.

rb said...

We held a little "service" when my favourite polka skirt finally fell into many pieces. I still couldn't quite bear to part with it and used it as a protective "rag" round my Brompton when I flew it back from Australia.

My mother used to use old knickers as rags to wipe round the bath - vile habit. She did wash them first but even so it was very off-putting having a bath with a pair of faded knick-knocks sat on the side. But your old shirt could be used for that kind of thing to ease the traumatic separation.

Rol said...

My mum used to do that too.

CalvinPitt said...

I have that same issue. There are some shirts or pants (or especially sneakers) that have served me so well, I hate to get rid of them. I had a t-shirt my mother bought me in Toronto I wore around the house until there were two holes in the front, 2 in the back, and oil stains all about. I had to toss it eventually, because I wasn't even sure I could wash it without it disintegrating.

My dad usually saves his worn out clothes for rags. Handy if he's changing the oil in the car, or cleaning his chainsaw, I suppose.

kelvingreen said...

I can't find my Spider-Man shirt. In fact, I haven't seen it since I wore it to the opening night of the film. I suspect that some unilateral throwing-out may have occurred.

Steve said...

I like the sneer :)

m.lawrenson said...

That must be an old photo. I think the only piece of technology pictured there that's still used today is the hole punch.

Rol said...

Calvin - I think it'd hurt more using my old shirt for oily rag purposes... better just to say goodbye.

Kelvin - I haven't seen it. Honest.

Steve - no one else did.

Matthew - actually, I'm still using that computer...


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