50 Tunes For 50 Years: The Jam

It was 1980 and all I wanted in the world was a Harrington jacket. To feel the tartan lining on my skin, the buttons by my neck and cruise the streets of Frinton on my, er, hand me down Raleigh Shopper looking the dogs. In my Stay Press trousers of course. Sadly the local jumble sales rarely saw a donation from a generous Essex mod so I had to wait till my eleventh summer and a trip to Swindon with my Nan for the purchase of my baby butch lifetime. I was overjoyed with my Buckler inspired jacket (it was always the drummers for me) and doubted anything would match the joy I felt that day. Until. Until one Friday lunchtime in our Year Three Tendring High School lunchtime youth club/ disco when sat in front of last nights recording of Top Of The Pops, I discovered The Jam had hit the top of the charts with Going Underground. Finally, the look matched the swagger as my band hit the big time.


Looking back it is easy to see why this disco-obsessed, house DJ loved my Jam. The sweet bass lines, funky as hell that backdropped Weller’s lyrical genius were a start. A Start! I still can’t be thankful enough for. Three lads from Surrey who reached into my Essex childhood and made me believe in the smart and sartorial, regardless of my gender. Suited and booted became my safe zone, giving this baby dyke credentials, the jumble sales I once scorned providing my desired apparel as I settled into my comfort zone. All I needed now was to dump the Raleigh Shopper and convince my Mum Monkey Boots were regulation school attire. Yeah, that would take some time, but thanks to The Jam I had made a start. Bruce, Rick and Paul, delivering to this baby butch all the mod cons.

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