365 T-shirts - the reasoning

This blog should be sub-titled: a journal of my life in geek.

I get my geek on with things about which I am geeky: comic books, Baseball, Ultimate, science fiction, my favorite bands, books I have read and loved, and Jungian psychology to name some of the most frequently traversed subjects.

I began this project simply as a way to count my T-shirts. I own a lot of T-shirts. But how many do I have? Do I have 365? We shall find out.

When I started this blog, I thought about how each T-shirt means something to me. I bought it for a reason, after all. I set myself the task to post an entry about a new T-shirt every day as a way to simply write something every day, a warm up for writing fiction, which is my passion. Writing is like exercise. Warm ups are good for exercise. But after completing a month of blogging about T-shirts, I have learned that this blog serves as a journal; it documents my life in geek, sort of a tour of my interests in pop culture. The blog serves as a tool for self-inventory, for assessment and analysis of self and the origins of self, for stepping through the process of individuation in catalogues, lists, and ranks.

The blog also made me aware that I have some serious gaps in my T-shirt ownership, and I am in the process of collecting some new T-shirts for several of the great popular culture icons that I truly love. Stay tuned.

I was also a bit surprised that people checked out my blog and continue to check it, read it, and even comment on it. I am very appreciative of this readership. Please feel free to share your thoughts in my comments section. I will respond.

Also, please note that I have moved the original introductory text to the side bar. And now, I present to you the most recent entry of 365 T-shirts: a journal of my life in geek. Thank you for reading.
(Second Update - 1310.24. First Update - 1306.05 Originally Posted - 1304.25.)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

T-shirt #238 - The Clash

T-shirt #238 - The Clash

After pushing the warp engines to 139% capacity and shedding excess molecular waste which will shorten the longevity of the unit, Grading Robot has powered down to half power.

It has been a rough week for Grading Robot. Other classes queue up now, but time opens like a flower blooming.

How do you spell relief?

It has been a while since I featured some music on the blog. It has been exactly ...

a week.

A week ago today, I showcased T-shirt #231: my CBGB shirt dedicated my post to Lou Reed.

Okay, true enough, a week is not a very long time.

Before that, although I snuck in some music content in T-shirt #209 after my wife discovered Lucius, a great band, the last blog entry with a shirt that featured a musical artist on the actual shirt front was T-shirt #190 for Stereolab. Forty-one days is a long time between music-themed T-shirts. Partially, the reason for the gap is my fear of running out of music shirts. I have fewer music shirts than ultimate-themed or comic- book-themed shirts. Also, I have been holding back some of my music T-shirts because the love letter I want to write will take time and research. Though I have been thinking, perhaps I need to dispense with writing lengthy love letters for EVERYTHING. Right now, I am trying to create an extended posting once a week. With that in mind, this post will not be too elaborate or long. Though how I define "not too long" may be different than how others define it.

Today's shirt, quite obviously, features ONE OF THE GREATEST BANDS EVER: The Clash.

I could write a HUGE entry about the Clash, my experiences with their music, basics on their history. But I will restrict myself to a couple anecdotes and connections.

Every time I think of the Clash, I think about how when I was in college, I met a guy named George Constas, better known as "γιώργος" or "yiorgos" in Greek (which are both Greek for George). He was from Greece (obviously). He could drink like a fish, and he only liked The Clash and the Psychedelic Furs, of which he would remind us frequently when drunk by yelling "Play the Clash!" or "Play the Furs!" George's English was all right but not fantastic. I never spoke down to him or tried to simplify things so that he might understand them (or talk louder or slower, which is what some people stupidly do with people who do not know English well). I just spoke normally, at my normal speed, with my normal vocabulary, which in my early years of college was extra-pretentious. George always responded with the same one liner: "you stupid fucking Americans; you don't know shit." George was a classic. And he loved the Clash.

These pictures are a bit of a cheat, but I like props. I don't really play the guitar, but my wife and step-son do, and so we have a lot of guitars around the house.


The Clash was one of the greatest bands ever and certainly one of the greatest punk bands of all time. I would argue that the Clash is the single greatest punk band ever and one of the top five greatest bands of all time (Beatles, Stones, Who, Led Zep, the Jam... I know that's six then and leaves out Radiohead, Talking Heads, Pink Floyd, and so many others... I may need to work on this list.)

After starting in 1976, the Clash disbanded in 1986. The band's lead vocalist and spiritual center, Joe Strummer, died in 2002, dashing forever the hope of a Clash reunion and robbing the world of a musical giant.

The Clash are best known for their third album London Calling, which by unanimous agreement sits at eighth place on Rolling Stone's Top 100 Albums of all time list. It's great. Though I love dozens of Clash songs, in picking some videos to share (I was going to just share three and it grew to five before I cut myself off), four of the five are from London Calling.

I saw The Clash in 1984 in Chicago after Mick Jones had left the group.

The music speaks for itself.

The Clash are amazing. I am sure that most of my readers already know their music well.

Last comment on today's shirt: Like my memory of George, which is an instructive anecdote, I always remember Rule of Chris Number Two when talking about the Clash, as I did each semester when I made them one of the featured artists in my women's studies course. I have only written about the Rules of Chris twice before: T-shirt #64: Embrace Uncertainty and T-shirt #103: Aloha. Rule of Chris #1 is the Golden Rule because it's the abiding principle of life and living. But Rule of Chris #2 is "always have a book." Before the modern age when I gained the ability to carry around a computer that fits in the palm of my hand with five times more computing power than my first two computers combined (at least), I needed a book more desperately. Now, I carry a Kindle, which is a computer containing many books, though I often have an old-fashioned, paper book anyway.

I was reading Gravity's Rainbow for a class when I saw the Clash in concert, and I toted a huge, trade paperback sized tome in the pocket of my Army fatigue cargo pants and read many pages while standing in line to get in to the concert. I wanted to get a picture of the book, but I can't find it. If I ever do, I may update here. On a side note, I read Moby Dick between Santana and the Rolling Stones at the Pontiac Silverdome. There was a two hour wait in the three act concert (Iggy Pop, Santana, and the Rolling Stones). This was in 1981. I spent a lot of time reading that damn Moby Dick book.


RULE OF CHRIS #2: Always have a book to read; one never knows when one has to wait a long time for someone or something.

Here are my five favorite Clash songs (though  it was a close call with "Straight to Hell" and "Clash City Rockers" and several others... basically the entire London Calling album).

The Clash - London Calling

Lost in the supermarket - the clash

The Clash - Magnificent Seven - Tom Synder Show 1981

The Clash - Death Or Glory

The Clash - Clampdown 1980

COUNTDOWN TO THE END OF THE YEAR: 127 shirts remaining

- chris tower - 1311.14 - 18:46