South Park Self

Pangaea Reunion Tour

wolverine_nun asked for more t-shirt deconstructions, foolish lady, and because they are really more fun than is probably strictly legal for an unofficial academic, I am deliriously happy to oblige. She does encourage my known proclivities very gratifyingly.

The only reason I don't wear this shirt all the time is because I incautiously bought it a size too small, and my current state of tummy sag and resulting fabric strain renders it inaesthetic in the extreme. But it's another excellent example of vintage John Allison laterality, i.e. it's a Scary Go Round one, this time still perfectly available.

Pangaea is, as any fule kno, the hypothesised supercontinent from which our current continental configuration springs. Way back in the mists of time they were all wodged together, and then they drifted apart, presumably because of artistic differences. The t-shirt's image of a "reunion tour" thus plays with parallel notions of groups forming, drifting apart and reforming, re-imagining the continents as a band, and creating the fan or roadie t-shirt which commemorates such a hypothetical endeavour. (To fully play out the joke the shirt would need to have a list of gigs on the back, although they would all read "Earth" plus various dates. It would be entirely in Scary-Go-Round character for one of the venues to be "Mars".) The visual impact of the design, particularly in the font choice (spiky, informal, slightly hand-written) plays very nicely on the kind of image branding a music group habitually creates, and its illusion of personality and authenticity; the re-united continent itself is a slightly bizarre equivalent to an actual band photo.

The implications here are much more subtextual and less obvious than they are in the Nosferatu shirt, but are nonetheless kinda entertaining. I think there's an additional, implied joke revolving around the notion of "super": the shirt builds on the form/separate/reform joke by potentially conflating "supercontinent" with "supergroup", in a nod to the continents' current discrete existence. More importantly, though, it stuffs around with notions of nostalgia, the re-creation of something from a distant past in a present which doesn't really have a place for it. Reunion tours by long-defunct bands are always faintly sad; very few of them seem to recapture anything like the value of the band in its original iteration. Of course, a continental reunion tour would go way beyond sad into catastrophic seismic and political upheaval.

Nonetheless, I love this shirt because I would totally be there for a Pangaea reunion. The joke is effective because it appeals to the kind of science geeky wearer who not only knows what Pangaea is but thinks it would be way cool for the continents to get back together, in the teeth of the odds. In that they're no different to the kind of geeky band fan who will be there for a Rolling Stones reunion, in their authentic early tour t-shirt, in the faint hope of recognising the old magic. Both iterations of "reunion" celebrate the special knowledge and emotional investment of the fan concerned, their existence as part of an elite faithful whose commitment endures beyond the mere drifting apart of continents and into their geo-politically unlikely, hypothetical re-formation.

Bonus background info: the creator (not to be confused with the Creator, since we're talking about continents) notes, on the blog post where he tinkers around with the design: "Do you remember in 1982 when Pangaea got back together? It was insane. Eurasia and Australiasia all snuggling up while North America complained that South America's feet were a. cold and b. in its ear." Which makes it sound more like a relationship (one of those complicated polyamorous ones) getting back together than a band, and is incidentally even more insane. Personally I want this t-shirt to actually read "Pangaea Reunion Tour 1982".

Additional bonus, unlikely layer of meaning: after writing all this, I am bloody well going to lose some weight so I fit into this t-shirt again. Which probably means I shouldn't have eaten all that malva pudding. Bugger.
  • Current Mood: contemplative randomly analytical
How do you deal with costs of shipping and duty? Do you order in bulk, and just grit teeth, or do you have a Sooper Seekrit Shipping Address that avoids duty?

I'm dyin' for the 'time traveller essentials' shirt, but cannot stomach being hit for duty on the shirt. Unless you know of a UK dealer?
I tend to order in batches, and go with the teeth-gritting. Alternatively I have them sent to my mother in the UK, and she brings them out when she visits. It probably doesn't help to know that a lot of my SGR shirts came from John Allison's UK store, which he shut down about six months ago to move over to TopatoCo...