Quite a while ago, my blogging buddy SWC and I went to the cricket, and as usual we decided to do one of our ‘Mucking Around ICAs’ each, when the 11th song came on the iPod. My 11th song was The Cure (SWC’s was Blur by the way and he has so far refused to write it). So I contacted JC and said I would write him an ICA on The Cure. Then I went to Australia so it got parked.

Last week I decided to write it. However I started this story as an introduction and realised that it was quite a long story in its own right, so I decided to send this in on its own and the ICA could follow.

A very very long time ago, I had a jumper. It was old, battered, baggy and black. It was an almost exact replica of a jumper that Bob Smith from The Cure wore. I loved that jumper. Girls loved that jumper. I am not ashamed to say that I called that jumper ‘Bob’, after the aforementioned lipstick smudged singer from The Cure.

One night I went to a pub in Leeds called Churchills, it was a big pub frequented by the alternative crowd, largely because around ten pm the upstairs part of the bar would be transformed into a nightclub and an indie disco would take place and occasionally a band would turn up and play. I would wear Bob over the top of a band TShirt alongside a pair of black drainpipes and a pair of Doc Martens and try and look cool in the corner. I would then wait for the DJ to play The Cure or the Pixies or New Order or if I was feeling daring Ministry and then I would launch myself on to the dancefloor, Bob’s sleeves causally pulled down over my hands in order to give myself a bit more mystique.

I used to have a great time at Churchills, it was one of the few places left in the city that served snakebite and black, a legendary if not slightly lethal drink adored by the alternative and big haired crowd. Basically cider, lager and blackcurrant – which gave it a purpleish hue, Goths loved it obviously. Now that night in question I drunk a little bit too much snakebite and black (let’s be honest two pints was enough for anyone – if the ridiculously strong cider didn’t get you the sickly sweet Ribena substitute would). I knew I was drunk because I danced to a New Model Army track and no one danced to New Model Army and still expected to be considered cool at the end of the night. About two am I left Churchills, I’d like to say I left on the arm of a beautiful girl called Angela (who as it happens was a dead ringer for the singer from The Cranes but this being 1990 she didn’t know that yet), but I know I left alone but manage to share a cab home with a bloke called Gavin – I know this because he vomited on the pavement outside my house and the stain was there for about a month afterwards.

I woke up in the morning and felt like death. My head pounded, I was all shaky and clammy, about midday I started to feel a bit more human and I realised that I was cold, so I turned to my go to warmth (I was a student, heating was too expensive) – Bob – I mean it would have stunk of cigarettes (back in the days when you could smoke in a pub) but it kept me warm. So I went to the chair in my bedroom where clothes would have been slung last night.

Bob wasn’t there.

I had a vague recollection of taking Bob off when dancing to The Stone Roses. I’d popped it in the corner where I was sitting, just by where the lovely Angela normally sat with her mate Gemma. Oh God, Bob.

Now, I know what you are thinking, “Man up Badger it’s only a jumper”, and you are right, but that jumper was unique, sort of. Well ok, it wasn’t, it cost me a £2 from a charity shop, but I loved it, apart from my copy of ‘Substance’ on double vinyl, it was probably my favourite thing in the entire world – it was certainly the warmest thing I owned.

I sort of hoped the lovely Angela had taken it home with her and next week (After she’d finished cuddling it for a week) she would come up to me and smile her sweet smile and hand me the jumper and take me by the hand and we would walk into the moonlight, bangles jangling – but in reality I knew that I had left it on the long seat thing in the corner.

So ladies and gentlemen, I got the bus back to town. I sat there sulkily (still hungover) with my Walkmen attached to my ears. I think for some inexplicable reason I had ‘Babble’ by annoying Derry punk popsters That Petrol Emotion on the stereo, this didn’t improve my mood.

I got to Churchills around 2pm. It was open, thankfully, but the upstairs bit wasn’t. So I meekly asked the nice lady behind the bar if she could check if my jumper was up there, in the corner by the long seat, she reluctantly agreed. So I sat there at the bar for what seemed like a decade, cradling a lemonade, the sugar helped quite a lot to be honest, and then she returned.

She was holding Bob and I could have hugged her.

She handed Bob to me and then she said “Me Grandads got one just like that” and crushed what was left of my cool. I mumbled a ‘Thanks’ and walked out of the pub. I got roughly twenty foot around the corner before I stopped and popped Bob over my head.

Five minutes later, as I approached the bus stop, I saw a familiar face, the lovely Angela, sat forlornly at the bus stop, looking bored.

“Hi” I said. Slyly pulling the sleeves of Bob over my hands.

She definitely smiled……

The Upstairs Room – The Cure

Gigantic – The Pixies

Everything’s Gone Green – New Order

Big Decision – That Petrol Emotion



  1. Nice. I had a similarly-important jumper, although mine was purple, can you believe?

    I also used to work with a bloke who lost his wedding ring in a pub/club called Churchill’s (not the same one). That turned up too, which is just as well as he wasn’t looking forward to explaining to his wife why he’d taken it off in the first place…

  2. Ah I love this. It’s easy to fall in love with a jumper. I already know I love Bob. What happened to him? Please don’t tell me he unraveled one day.

  3. I happen to know for a fact that Bob is framed for eternity and hangs on the first floor of the Goole museum of indie. Next to the hat that one of kaiser chiefs once wore.

  4. I bet Jacques will have a similar type of story that will be set in Aberdeen or Edinburgh. He certainly had a jumper he was particularly attached to…and don’t get me started on the hair, strands of which are secured in a glass case in the very same museum in Goole…..

  5. As a Man City fan, my jumper is a obviously a blue one, purchased around 30 years ago when my physique was a little less developed than it is today, shall we say. It did its time at various gigs, now it just comes in useful when out hill walking in cold weather. It is also joint top of Mrs Gog’s “when are you going to throw that thing away?” list along with an Inspiral Carpets “Moo!” t-shirt of a similar vintage.

  6. That is a great story and a great bit of writing. Reminds me of an old plaid flannel shirt I had in college. It didn’t have a name but it was thought of as the ‘happy’ shirt as it had some undefinable mood-elevating quality. It was constantly borrowed and passed around among friends until it disintegrated.

  7. I have a problem with this story
    Namely that Babble is a great record and That Petrol Emotion were not annoying.

    I went to see The Stone Roses at Reading Majestic and Ian Brown threw his grey cardigan off stage. I caught it and then wore it religiously around campus for the rest of the year, as it was Ian Brown’s cardigan.

    Then someone showed me photos of the gig (it took a while to get photos developed in those days). At no point was Ian Brown wearing a cardigan and i realised someone had probably just thrown their cardigan on stage and Ian Brown threw it off again.

    I stopped wearing the cardigan.

  8. Aberdeen early 1980s. Manic Pop Thrill is the better That Petrol Emotion album of Babble before they got that American twat lead singer with a Public Enemy teeshirt. I had a black thick v neck jumper and a pair of black suede shoes with a buckle and thick soles. With my white jacket, I thought I looked cool. Hair flecked or spiked. I also had a black smock with a ruffled neck which I thought was cool until I saw Nick Kershaw wearing one. All stank of fags, got borrowed and never returned. I frequented the Neil Lounge at the Student Union and the Venue. I also had friends who did a club night at somewhere in Market Street. The guys to avoid were the Aberdeen Casuals had Pringle jumpers, Pepe jeans with the plastic key fobs and Stanley Knives. Later in Edimbra it was neds is Barbour jackets who supported the Hibees.

  9. TPE had an American lead singer from the outset, Steve Mack. He was on Manic Pop thrill and the preceding singles.

  10. got a bleaching coming out of the Wimpy on Union Street from a couple of Casuals, Skol Cup Final Sunday 1987. Came off the Glasgow bus went in for a Wimpy King Size on my way back to Kepplestone. They heard my accent when ordering my food and obviously assumed I was a hun. I stupidly told them to fuck off when the abuse started and a kicking ensued and I lost my food.

    Never had a minging jumper but did have a beautiful La Vie Claire cycling top, vintage 86 which I loved, treasured and hand washed.

  11. I picked up a new Armani jumper at a 2nd hand store, still with the ridiculously expensive original price tag on it, for virtually nothing (I was at University, so buying an Armani sweater normal price was like walking on the moon…) and casually had it thrown over a couch when a girl I wanted to impress came over to study. She only saw the original price tag, didn’t see the cool I had hoped for and never suggested to study together after that again….
    Giorgio – so much to answer for.

  12. JTFL – thanks for the correction. I didn’t see them live until 1988 but loved the 1st album which someone taped for me.

  13. Lovely post! The Cure itself is a bit like that old jumper. Not as cool as it once seemed, and no longer unique; but it always feels good to put it back on, or to share it with someone for whom it is new. I won’t forget the time my son asked, “Dad, have you ever heard of The Cure?”

  14. That story totally made my day – funny how we get attached to articles of clothing.

    Gonna mix myself a snakebite and black now – cheers.

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