Thursday, December 1, 2011

Most Memorable Presents: Rad Cap.

Welcome Fruitless Pursuit's huge holiday coverage! We are all hyped up, sugar-craving, trigger happy consumers and we are hoping to cram as much festive tomfoolery into December as your sensitive stomachs can take. December is the greatest month of the year!

I'm going to get the (shiny decorative) ball rolling with our new regular feature where contributors reminisce on some of their most memorable (for good or bad) Christmas presents. What truly surprised you? What horrified or disappointed you? What was right, or wrong, or still sticks in your mind?

For me, it was the heady year of 1995. I was 19 - a young man trying to forge my identity in the world - and for the first time becoming really interested in music and starting to develop my own unique tastes. Cassettes were long dead, but MP3's were still a mystery. If you wanted music on the go, then a discman was probably the preferred method of delivery. Unless...

My grandparents sent me a "Rad Cap". It was like a big old trucker cap, but it had an AM/FM radio sewn onto the side with a tuning dial and a volume knob. It had tiny built-in headphones but - before you go thinking it was too discrete - it had an extendable antenna that slid out of the top, making the wearer look like a 1950's moon man.

But this is where it gets better.... If it wasn't already rad enough, it was light grey and had a bold pink graffiti style logo on the front that said: "Rad Cap", so really there was never any doubt about how audaciously radical it was. Everyone knew it just by looking at it, and for a young single man finding his way in the world, what an incredibly powerful statement.

All images of said cap appear to have been suppressed (possibly for fear of inciting a rad-riot). So here's my artist's impression:

Of course, I never wore it, but I did keep it for many, many years (and was recently distressed to discover that I could no longer find it). I've always loved my grandparents very dearly, and they weren't afraid to be quirky, and they always tried (and usually succeeded - I can't think of any other gift that I didn't love). But I will never forget that Rad Cap, which really did shock and intimidate me as an awkward young man, but managed to weirdly fascinate me as well. As my grandmother said, "Now you can have music wherever you go."

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