Thursday, 1 August 2013

T-Shirt Friday 20 !

...A BJH on wholemeal to go, please!
Well T-Shirt Friday has been on a two week summer sabbatical, it's now fully refreshed though and full to the brim with stories of 100% cotton and polyester wonder! 
So the last T-Shirt Friday had a rather back-to-basics approach to it, did you get the rather back-to-basics T-Shirt Friday Quiz Conundrum though? There were some very good guesses, ranging from the cotton fields of the US right through to the marvel that is India... the real answer though is rather surprising. did you get it? The answer is... China! and we have a winner too! possibly due to her adventures a little while ago now in said country... Miss Russell wins theT-Shirt Friday Quiz Conundrum badge of honour! Well done Miss Russell! 
In 2007 alone China produced 35.8 billion bales of the stuff! Loads and loads of cotton t-shirts worth! If you did get the question right or even wrong come to that! ... what will you do to celebrate? A suggestion might be to wear as many items of cotton clothing that you have in your drawer or wardrobe all at the same time! Whilst balancing a china plate on your nose!... You could do that... or you could just have a nice cold beer or wine at your local pub!

Today's T-Shirt can be found directly on: http://www.bjharvest.co.uk

Some time ago now... in fact when I first started working as a young graphic designer in the music industry, we would have a visitor come and join us every now and then, in our little broom cupboard of a studio. The other guys would chat away with him... He had a running joke with Marv about designing sleeves for military band compilation albums (which he did) and Reginald Dixon's, 'Dixon Magic', Wurlitzer albums (which to my knowledge he didn't design, Marv?) This unknown chap, would regale us with stories of the music industry, while taking out his lunch box and eating sandwiches. After a period of him visiting, it became obvious that the sandwiches were in fact prepared in anticipation of him coming to our office. He would sit with us for hours on end, just chatting away. One such story that he told, was to do with him and his band... (which he took quite some care not to ever mention their name for some reason...) falling into financial difficulties and he, reluctantly having to sell stuff off... his house was even put up for sale, passionate about trying to keep the building and hoping for some resolution to his money woes he decided to put perspective buyers off by placing a number of large salmon wrapped in newspaper under the floor boards, the smell after a couple of weeks was so bad... he told us... that the place was left unsold and his hopes were answered with his finances coming back to some normality, thus the house remained in his possession!!!
Every now and again his visits would be cut short by our MD slinging him out on his ear... he would come into our office, see the sandwich munching chap and say... "Right 'Woolly', what are you doing here again?"... It became more and more obvious that they knew each other. It was only later after doing a little bit of design work for 'Woolly' (which I hasten to add never got used) that I figured it out... this Tupperware wielding bloke was Stuart Wolstenholme other wise known as 'Woolly' Wolstenholme, Keyboardist (although actually a multi-instrumentalist) with Barclay James Harvest. 
It also came out much later that he struggled with mental illness and he very sadly passed away in 2010... I'll never forget those moments though, when he came to Eagle and we got to spend time eating sandwiches and just chilling with a truly talented musician and writer...

In 2010 we found ourselves at Victoria Station and approaching the gate for the Gatwick Flyer, Miss Russell was off to Italy, Milan to be precise, to go to visit her publishers and work on a project. We approached the chap to ask for our tickets, straight away his eyes fixed on the t-shirt I was wearing... "Blimey!" he said, slightly startled... "I haven't seen a Barclay James Harvest t-shirt in years" I laughed not really knowing what to say..."Great band, saw them loads of times, a couple of times at the Astoria", he went on to say... "Mind you, don't think anyone would know who they are now..." he almost finished his question with an answer, possibly with the realisation that I might know who they are as I was in the t-shirt... of course though, there is that classic thing of people wearing t-shirts of bands and not knowing anything about them... more often then not though, that falls into the category of someone wearing a 'Rolling Stones' tee they have purchased from Primark, not with a rather obscure band that not many people have ever even heard of... which is perhaps what he was getting at....? I agreed with him to try to add weight to that very fact "Yes... great band"... Miss Russell laughed and as we walked away having purchased our tickets, She said her now infamous line "People always comment on your t-shirts".
We arrived at Gatwick and joined the queue for check-in, as we turned in the line, the lady behind us exclaimed "Oh! Barclay James Harvest! haven't heard of them in years!" "I had my first dance at my wedding to a Barclay James Harvest song!", She paused "'Gone To Earth', was my favourite album of theirs" She said " Don't hear much of them now..." almost echoing what the ticket man had said earlier "Yes" I agreed, we chatted for  a bit longer and Miss Russell returned from having handed in her baggage, She laughed having heard the beginning of the conversation with the lady and myself finishing off her story. Miss Russell shook her head and laughed again, finding it funny that two people in not so much as 45mins had commented on the same t-shirt. Miss Russell flew off to Bologna and I headed back on the Gatwick Express, the ticket man had gone by the time the train got back to London... For sometime after though, I thought about those two people, whose lives had been touched in their own way by Barclay James Harvest and by default Woolly Wolstenholme, even if BJH don't mean as much to anyone as they did back in the 1970's, they have still left a trail of cherished memories and that really is all that anyone can hope to do... nothing that we do is done in vain... to quote Dickens.

Well here we are again! it's that time, it's the T-Shirt Friday Quiz Conundrum! which this week is: what label were Barclay James Harvest originally signed to? Hmmm bit tricky that one....

Would you like to know more about Barclay James Harvest? : 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barclay_James_Harvest
More on Woolly Wolstenholme: http://www.woollywolstenholme.co.uk
More on Reginald Dixon (check out the Dixon Magic album cover!): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reginald_Dixon


P.S. It should be noted that it's a 'John Lee's Barclay James Harvest' tee that I own. As shown below... original BJH shirts seem hard to come by...