Between the Buttons: You Are What You Wear
Rock 'n' Roll's Badges of Honor
(Creem magazine feature: May 1980)
"What button you wear says a lot. People can immediately tell if they might have something in common with you. They may detect a personality quirk that intrigues them, they might even be able to tell whether or not you're worth bothering with."
-(Creem, May 1980)
Flipping through an old May 1980 ish of Creem magazine, I saw this photo spread about rock 'n' roll buttons (or "badges" in Brit parlance) and it brought back cheery memories of the phenonenon's sharp-edged Punk/New Wave heyday during the late '70s/early '80s. Between us, I think my ex-wife and I had all of these buttons at one time or another. (Hey, I even still have the Boy Howdy t-shirt!)
I was always partial to the real tiny pins, like Elvis Costello's eensie-weensie "Get Happy!" badge or the one with his angry mug glaring out of a bright red button. Other faves included "If It's Lene's You'll Lovich!," "Shut Up and Dance" (there was also a "Fuck Art Let's Dance" pin), "Rude Boy," "Rude Girl" ( a good gender-bender button when worn on a boy), anything by Buzzcocks, and "Back To Mono" (the sonic sound, not the kissing affliction - I still wear this one because I believe in the sentiment; besides, in the pre-digital analog days, many Brit Invasion band LPs sounded much better in mono, as Brian Wilson always knew).
But I did break down and get Devo's oversized Balloon Girl Flicker button (pictured on model's back, below) because, well, flicker buttons sell themselves!
I remember buying most of these buttons either at record stores or at area boutiques catering to the New Wave set like the old Lookinglass (across the street from the Congress Hotel in the H&H Building) or DC's Commander Salamander's.
Now I gotta dig my pin boxes out and see how many I have left.
You can never have enough!
See also these links:
Leaders of Men (vintage badges)
Vintage Punk New Wave Ska Pins (eBay)