This week sees London as the focus for a new imaginary t-shirt brand concept. As part of a mini series, each week we take a UK city and dream up a clothing brand based on it. We’ve already travelled to Bristol, Birmingham, and Leicester so now, it’s time for some imagined t shirt printing for London lyrics.
London T-shirts. London Lyrics
The first things that come to mind when someone mentions the word London, are black cabs, red telephone and post boxes, Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, but let’s face it, those aren’t particularly original icons on which to base a new t-shirt brand. This got me to thinking, what could unite London in a different way? I started to ponder on more specific London based activities and scenes, such as Nottingham Carnival, the variety of fashion styles in and around Camden Market, and the nightlife on Brick Lane. I wondered what makes London, London. So, having never lived there myself, I turned to the opinions of others.
“In London, love and scandal are considered the best sweeteners of tea.” – John Osborne
Which got me thinking about literature and song lyrics, mainly because I couldn’t get this song out of my head:
Thinking that song lyrics would be quite a nice little way develop a focus for the fictitious clothing brand, I went about my way, looking for other examples about the crazy capital. Wikipedia blew my mind with this little gem of a musical playlist, featuring more songs than I could comfortably count either ‘titled after London, or a location or feature of the city’ or ‘whose lyrics are set in London’. Judging by the sheer volume of tracks, I guess the city is an excellent source of creativity for local folk.
So, for the brand. Imagine a typographic style clothing brand who give you a piece of music with every purchase, either on vinyl, CD or mp3, whatever your style and a little story. ‘London Lyrics’ seemed to be a fitting name, as it does exactly what it says on the tin. Think of it as a fusion between the modern day record store, clothing label and mini independent editorial. The t-shirts come with a lyric relating to the city, bringing a love of London and the love of music, together to form a whole new notion of band t-shirt. Here are a few to help you get the idea.
1# The Kinks – Waterloo Sunset
“People so busy, make me feel dizzy, taxi light shines so bright”
This song is said to be about lovers passing on a bridge, as narrated by a lonely passer by. Actually, the song was originally named Liverpool Sunset, as the writer, Ray Davies says that’s where his heart is. It was changed to London, which he calls home.
2# The Jam – Down in the Tubestation at Midnight
“The smell of brown leather
It blended in with the weather.”
Let’s face it, you can’t really talk about England, without mentioning the weather at least once. I love this lyric from The Jam, which brings a clear smell of rain to mind. This track is about an anonymous narrator who gets robbed and assaulted in a seemingly deserted tube station.
3# The Clash – London’s Burning
“All across the town, all across the night
Everybody’s driving with full headlights”
“Black or white turn it on, face the new religion
Everybody’s sitting ’round watching television!”
This one is a true classic and a nice contextual reference too – remember the days of television? Neither is it the only song to make great reference to traffic in London.
4# Bloc Party – Always New Depths
“All the pennies in the thames will not make it how it was.”
Now for a more modern reference with Bloc Party and a more direct reference. Think of these t-shirt designs as some kind of twist on the concept of the modern meme…
5# Born Slippy (NUXX) – Underworld
“Let your feelings slip boy
But never your mask boy”
Who would ever have guessed that Born Slippy was the name of a greyhound the group bet and won on? Famous for appearing quite appropriately on the soundtrack of Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting, the lyrics describe a drunken journey back home through London’s Soho and said to be representative of the techno scene of the early 90s. Although lyrics and electronic music are not often a popular pairing, this band place just as much importance on word as they do sound.
6# Coldplay – Cemeteries of London
“So we rode down to the river where the toiling ghosts strain”
Coldplay take us on a dark journey through the cemeteries of London on what Chris Martin describes as a ‘ghost march.’ Not all views of London come from the bustling streets or looming romance…
7# Red Hot Chili Peppers – Deep Kick
“Two young brothers on a hover craft
Telepathics, love and belly laughs”
A non-British band, you otherwise wouldn’t have found any real association with London at all, however, in 1995 on their album ‘One Hot Minute’, the Chilis took us straight there with this fun lyric.
8# Dizzee Rascal – Dirtee Cash
“Let me take you down to London city
Where the attitude’s bad and the weather is shitty.”
Equally another surprise on the list of Londinium references, Dizzee Rascal has an interesting opinion about the capital, where he filmed his music video.
There you have it, a very eclectic way of representing London, England via the many songs and lyrical opinions of the city through a clothing brand. So, come up with your own brand idea: it’s all a case of mixing a few key ingredients, and telling your own conceptual story. If you have a clothing brand and you want to tell us all about your story, give us a bell at Printsome.
Printsome focus on quality personalised t shirts in the UK, delivering custom t-shirts in Plymouth or personalised top vests in Blackpool and everywhere in between. Printing for graphic designers, brands and many more, you can contact an adviser for a chat, advice or a quote!