I like tee-shirts. There is so much potential to them. I like the idea that somebody can celebrate or commemorate or proclaim anything at all on their torso.
But I'm rather disappointed by how this potential is used. Just as the magic of the cinema and the printed page is so often wasted on dreary thrillers, the possibilities of the tee-shirt are so often squandered on corporate logos (and not even interesting ones), bad jokes, and smutty captions.
I saw a fellow recently with a tee-shirt that read: "Remember my name. You'll be screaming it later tonight." As well as being unspeakably crass, this seemed remarkably illogical to me. Why would you have to remember a name if you were going to be screaming it within a few hours anyway? It's a bit like saying, "Take a good look around. You're going to be waiting here a long time."
So this week I went to the tee-shirt printing shop in St. Stephen's Green shopping centre and had a tee-shirt printed with four lines from Louis MacNeice's justly celebrated "Snow":
World is crazier and more of it than we think,
Incorrigibly plural. I peel and portion
A tangerine and spit the pips and feel
The drunkenness of things being various.
Not only does this celebrate something about which I am passionate-- the intoxicating diversity of life-- but the very fact that it is poetry pleases me vastly. Poetry should be a bigger feature of our daily lives and I am pleased to do whatever I can to advance that.
I just hope the letters don't wash off in the washing machine. As well as being a waste, it would seem rather gloomily symbolic.