Ever since I stood in line for the Pablo Pop Up, I’ve become intrigued by the business of merch — the buying, selling, reselling and bootlegging of memorabilia. Souvenirs of artistic experiences. In high school, for example, we used to go to shows early in order to buy a t-shirt so we could wear it during the show. In my twenties, I never had the dough to purchase merch (although I once somebody dropped their 24-7 Spyz shirt after a show and I wore that like crazy). In my thirties, I still went to shows, but was over the whole t-shirt thing.
So why am I back in the game? For one thing, the nature of merch has changed. At the Lauryn Hill show, there was no Ms. Hill branded ephemera to be found. There was a table selling made-in-Kenya goods that opening act (and former child soldier) Emmanuel Jal sells to raise money for his various initiatives. I bought this brass necklace by designer Annabel Thom.
They even had merch at the Lawren Harris exhibition at the AGO. For an art show, this shirt is visually uninteresting. But I will go back in a couple of weeks to see if the socks have gone on sale.
In the meantime, I’ll just make my own merch.