At the same time I was listening to Rush’s “2112,” (7th grade? 8th grade? 9th grade?) I was looking the part, too. Oh, if only I had a photo. Let me break it down for you:
The big glasses. The size of a SETI dish.
The hair. Do I have to use the word? It starts with an M and ends with a T. Two Ts. Lou Reed wore one, too, so it couldn’t've been THAT uncool.
The jacket. Ah, yes, the jacket. The jacket I wore pretty much every day from 1987 to 1990. Denim, natch. Acid washed, of course. Acid bathed. More white than blue.
Above the left breast pocket a sewn on patch of the Union Jack that said ‘The Who” on it. And the “o” in “Who” had an arrow pointing off to the northeast, like the symbol of masculinity.
Above the right breast pocket a large and genuine pin of Chairman Mao. This was a gift from a Mr. James Muhall, my Chinese teacher. (I took one year of Chinese in 8th grade, one of the only two years it was offered in my school) The only thing I remember from this class was how to say hello, goodbye, thank you and Mrs. But Mr. Muhall (or was it Mulhall?) did bring us in to Chinatown one day to have Dim Sum. It was a small class (4 of us) so we packed into his car and drove in. There was a curious moment during this class trip when Mr. Muhall parked the car in what I now know to be the East Village (we were near CBGB, where I knew Punk Rock, an idiom I was less-than-impressed with at the time, was born). He said, “stay here, folks, I’ll be right back. I’ve got to pick something up from a friend of mine.” We stayed in the car and listened to the radio. We were old enough to be left unattended for a few minutes (there was one kid in the class in 10th or 11th grade) so we just sat there and did nothing. We had no idea where Mr. Muhall had gone off to, but didn’t spend too much time wondering. When he came back we asked what he was doing and he only said, “I had to pick something up.” Only years and years later did it dawn on me — Mr. Muhall was getting weed! How could I not have known that? ANYWAY, the Chairman Mao pin was a gift we all got at the end of the year (he’d spent some time in China) and I wore it and it was, and probably still is, cool. Only once did anyone say anything about it. I was at the dentist’s and Dr. Stern looked at my jacket and said, “Chairman Mao!?? What are you, a red?” I didn’t know what the hell he was talking about. I thought it was a cool pin of a guy in a uniform with a star on his hat. I shrugged and he looked in my mouth.
Below Chairman Mao, around the button which you’d manipulate to get into the right breast pocket I hung a small Led Zeppelin keychain. It was black and had the words “Led Zeppelin” in yellow and the “Swan Song” insignia. . .which was basically a naked man with Pegasus wings flailing his arms and legs around.
Along the lapels of both sides: the little buttons. I had the following. A tiny button which read “Queensryche: The Warning.” Another was just a bullseye which I picked up in a box of 25 cent tiny buttons at The Record Store. (The Record Store on Rte 9 in Howell, nicknamed “The” for short, still exists, but in a new location. It still has a giant Led Zeppelin IV cassette on its roof.) This bullseye pin was an insignia for some local Jersey band I had never heard of, but I just kinda dug it and wore it anyway. I also wore a fairly large yellow eyeball pin. And then, of course, not one, not two, but three Star Trek pins.
One Star Trek pin was an image of Kirk, Spock and (I believe) Scotty, not Bones on the Transporter Deck. Above it read the word “Energize.” Another was just a close up of Kirk which read “The Captain.” The third was of Spock doing something goofy with his hands. I can’t remember what it said above that, but it was something like “A Creature of Logic.”
So this was the front of the jacket. The least embarrasing side of the jacket.
The back was covered entirely with a gigantic, near tapestry-sized patch. The bottom third had something like the lunar landscape, except there was a little bit of color thrown in — some light use of bright purple and green dotting the gray. The top two thirds were black, save for the twinkling of stars and some laser-like outlines pyramids. Kinda like a waveform monitor or the game “Battlezone.” At the top border read, in a registered trademark font, the words “Pink Floyd.” And on the bottom border, the words “The Great Gig In The Sky.”
I remember buying this thing. It was at a head shop (only I didn’t know it was a head shop, I just thought they sold cool rock patches) at the Englishtown Auction, which was a giant collection of tents and trailers selling cheap shit not too far from our house. My mother liked to go there periodically, and when I was told we were going there I said I would only come along if I could buy something cool for my jacket. It took me a loooooong time to figure out which gargantuan back-patch I wanted. When I finally zeroed in on Pink Floyd (my favorite band at the time) I had many within this subset to choose from. Part of me wanted the traditional “Dark Side of the Moon” design. Just a beam of white light entering a prism triangle and coming out the other side as a rainbow. But this one was more esoteric — I’d never seen it before (or since. . .it was probably an unlicensed knock-off) and I liked that it said “Pink Floyd” in large letters lest anyone think for a moment that I did not rock.
The jacket doesn’t exist anymore. I don’t know when my mother threw it away, but I sure wish she didn’t. It should be in the Smithsonian. Or, at least, in Jpeg form on my blog.