Crossing the “Ts”

18 Dec

Every now and then I take a long look through my collection of A6 sized notebooks which contain the first drafts of many of these postings. I currently have 3 of these notebooks on the go so that if I go to any place where inspiration might strike it shouldn’t be too hard to lay hands on any one of them.

The reason for reading through them is NOT to reaffirm my own brilliance to myself (although….) but is that I sometimes make notes for new articles while in the midst of writing one. Some of these random thoughts get additional bits added to them to remind me what I really had in mind and it is very easy for them to get buried and forgotten.

 And it was one of those annotated thoughts that I’ve just rediscovered that has inspired this piece.

I think I must have made the note when I last took a stab at my “novel” because it refers to an event from my early twenties that I had “fictionalised” there.

The heading on the note is:


It’s a strange thing but I don’t recall wearing this type of garment until I started work and buying my own clothes – I think Mum probably considered them  “American” and therefore, like denim jeans and baseball boots, not for us!

 Then, having ventured into plain T-shirts of various colours, in 1973 I took the next step.


I went on holiday to Butlins at Clacton-on-Sea (a whole THIRTY miles from home!) and was so annoyed that they still practiced 1950’s style regimentation of paying customers (“Your Breakfast sitting  is 7.30 – if you don’t make it you’ll miss out!”) that I took decisive action!

There were in the town of Clacton quite a few shops selling shirts with a variation on a theme of a popular TV series of the time – Colditz! They featured a stylized picture of Barbed wire and searchlights and the single word “Butlitz”! I wore it for the rest of the week and took great pleasure in receiving glares from the uber-happy Redcoats.

 That particular time was a great one for “message” T-shirts – magazines were full of advertisements for them – and if you didn’t like what was on offer you could have your own done.

 Regular readers may recall my post concerning the origins of Bank holidays in which I detailed getting just such a shirt printed, quite inaccurately, stating “Give Bank Holidays back to the Banks!”

At around that time I also had a Snoopy shirt, the caption of which I forget and one advertising Radio Orwell in Ipswich.

 Currently I have in my T-shirt drawer examples telling the world that I have holidayed in Majorca, Tenerife, Lanzarote and Stonehenge as well as the slightly more geeky one proclaiming “There are 10 types of people in the world – those who  understand binary and those who don’t!”

 The time has probably come to get some new ones but what should they be?

 I’ve been trying to think of some slogans to do with my age group and so far have come up with these:

      1. I believe in Growing  Old Disgracefully! 

      2. When I was young I couldn’t get away with half the crap I can now!

      3. Only a Grumpy old Git on the outside!

Any other ideas gratefully received but while writing this I came up with another one. As far as I know it’s original because no-one is as warped as me when it comes to puns. Plus it’s a T-shirt slogan about T-shirt slogans and you can’t get much more twisted than THAT.

So here it is, are you ready?

 “The T-shirt was invented to satisfy the American People’s right to BARE ARMS!”



Posted by on December 18, 2010 in Uncategorized


2 responses to “Crossing the “Ts”

  1. Cy Quick

    December 19, 2010 at 1:54 am

    Excellent… I love the Growing Old Disgracefully one.

    Three of the Radio Free Plymouth young guys who attended the Free Radio Rally in Trafalgar Square in August 1969 wore tee-shirts:

    Bring Back Caroline

    The Guardian photographer caught sight of them and the three of them made a fine picture on the back page the next day. Very little need for the text of the story! They looked so fed up too…

  2. Vincent

    December 19, 2010 at 10:01 am

    I still have an ORIGINAL “Radio Caroline” t-shirt.

    Of course, if I WEAR it, I look like Simon Cowell (they were TIGHT in those days, being modelled on what the English call VESTS – although the Yanks call WAISTCOATS vests – but they ALWAYS have to call everything something different so they can kid themselves English is THEIR language).

    But anyhay… at this point I will shamelessly plug MY list of t-shirt legends. It can be found at


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