I’ve never been an especially provocative person. I have my pointed opinions and passionate beliefs, but I’m also a pronounced introvert. As a matter of instinct, I’m not interested in calling attention to myself. Cars, clothes, really any outward trappings are chosen for functionality rather than flashiness or any sense of style whatsoever. This makes it a little curious that a regular member of my collegiate t-shirt rotation had the phrase “Fuck = Love” emblazoned across it.
The t-shirt referenced the title of the 1989 single released by the Australian band The Trilobites. They were on an independent label Down Under called rooArt, notable at the time because it was the brainchild of Chris Murphy, the manager of INXS, at the time of the country’s greatest success. It was also notable, from our perspective at our humble little outpost in central Wisconsin, that they were engaging in enough of a full-court press on college radio that their releases were actually making their way to us, hardly a guarantee among the smaller labels. When I started at the station, the fine Young Blood compilation was in rotation, and we routinely received and then gave airplay to the label’s other released.
We also got packages of other stuff from the label: stickers, pins, t-shirts. When the “Fuck = Love” shirt arrived in a padded envelope, I had made it onto the stations executive staff and was therefore in line to be the beneficiary of such label largesse. I was also actively interested in getting as many rock’n’roll t-shirts as I could, using them to replace whatever generic assembly of cotton torso-coverers that I had wadded into a corner of my dorm room closet at the time. I was usually oblivious to the questionable message I donned, though I did wear it less and less once I got out of college. In part, this was because I found myself incapable of explaining the point of the phrase any time I was asked about it. The white t-shirt was eventually consigned to the rag basket when it went through the wash with a piece of bright red clothing that was new enough that it shared its fresh color with all of the other garments in the load. In retrospect, I think the pink version of that shirt was probably pretty cool.
(Disclaimer: This song is being posted with the understanding that it is out of print and entirely unavailable, at least in the United States. Maybe it’s a different story in Australia. Considering that the band hasn’t released any thing since 1992, and their lead singer has spent most of that time working in television, toiling on such programs as The Footy Show, I kind of doubt it. However, if someone with due authority to do so asks me to remove this from the Interweb, I will gladly comply. I should also note, in the interest of due credit, that this particular audio file doesn’t derive from my personal collection. I gleaned it from some strange corner of the Web.)