It’s Friday so it must be Self Made Man day!

This week the North East’s very own Rock Master delivers a lesson in gig attire – harking back to the glory days when you wore your band allegiances on your sleeve…literally. 

Whatever happened to all those denim jackets, proudly brandishing the names of our favourite bands that we all used to wear for gigs?

Denim was “de rigeur” back in the days when rock music didn’t just rule our lives, it dictated fashion, hair length, which pubs we frequented and invariably which girls we’d ask out.

Many of those jackets were splendid works of art, laden with multi-coloured embroidery, displaying the logos symbols and distinctive markings of  rock music’s contemporary acts.

Among the most popular I recall were the album sleeves of Rainbow Rising, Rush’s 2112 and of course the iconic runes which caused such a stir when Led Zeppelin released their fourth album.

(I still smile when I think of one guy in my sixth form who thought Zofo was the name of a band!).

My own denim jacket remained “band-free” throughout my teenage years but it still looked cool despite the lack of adornment, which is more than could be said for little bruv’s effort.

Unlike mine, his boasted some rather impressive embroidery, courtesy of a family friend who was persuaded to sew Richie Blackmore on its back.

The problem was that the jacket was at least two sizes too big for him (very unhip) and, even worse, looked brand new even after he’d had it for months.

For while I wouldn’t be seen dead in anything denim until it had been washed at least 1,432 times, he never did nag our Mum to wash it so his never had that essential worn-in look which negated any positives he thought the Blackmore decor would give him.

I don’t know what happened to either of them though considering I don’t wear denim jeans, let alone jackets of that ilk, I’ve never lost a moment’s sleep about that.

Thirty years on, I’m sure there are elderly mums and aunties across the land, still bearing the physical scars of trying to force needles through tough denim and it’s probably them, rather than their middle-aged kids who are reluctant to throw out the garments because of the pride in their handiwork.

Today, it hardly matters what you wear when attending a gig, where you drink, or if your bald, long-haired or regulation cut.

However, just to prove to myself that I am still clinging on to a thread of my youth, I still possess an old, battered leather jacket which I am tempted to wear every time I go to a gig despite my wife’s protestations.

It’s too scruffy, she says, it’s torn, looks battered. So it ticks all the boxes, says I.

And anyway, beats wearing anything which looks brand new. Fashions may have changed but when attending concerts, that idiom still stands.

Ian Murtagh