Choose life suicide awareness shirt The day George Michael died, I did what any mourning child of the 80s lost in the logic of late-capitalist consumer-fandom would do: I bought a t-shirt. A few clicks on eBay and I had ordered myself a copy of the iconic t-shirt made famous by Wham! in the 1984 music video for their smash hit ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’, with its stark, black-on-white imperative, CHOOSE LIFE. ‘Outfit for 2017 sorted’, I announced on Facebook. It was a small symbolic way to give a figurative finger to all the high-calibre pop culture losses of 2016, from Bowie to Prince to Cohen to Carrie. During their lifetimes, each of them had in some way given the finger to bourgeois morality, which had made me love them. CHOOSE LIFE
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But it was also a means for me to galvanise my optimism in preparation for 2017: The spectre of Donald Trump and the global rise of right-wing populism. It was a way of connecting visibly the peppy imperative refrain, ‘Wake me up!’ before we go-go down that road, because the world has been there before and we all know where it can lead. ‘didn’t pick you for a pro-lifer…’ quipped an American friend when I posted a proud selfie in my commemorative fashion garment, which I had immediately adorned with a pink triangle pin (in remembrance of homosexual victims of the Nazi regime). In the photo, taken at Midsumma Festival, I beam smugly at the clever triple-layered statement I’m making: GAY on GAY on GAY. In my mind, George’s t-shirt had always been associated with the campaign against AIDS.