ID badge lanyards and the memories they hold

The poet T.S. Eliot wrote in his poem ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’ that our eponymous hero ‘measured out his life in coffee spoons.’
In the 21st Century it’s perhaps easier to imagine we measure out our own lives not from the evidence of coffee mornings, but the tickets and flyers of parties attended.

This is the memorabilia of our own youths, however in paper form such ephemera is likely to get lost, or dissolve with time… along with the phone number of that girl you met at Creamfields that you are desperate to find. How much better, therefore, to keep this evidence laminated and therefore resistant to the vestiges of time that so ravaged dear Mr Prufrock. ‘I grow old, I grow old,’ he lamented. ‘I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled’.

These days such fashion choices will go down a storm in Hoxton and Shoreditch and will no doubt result in an appearance in Wallpaper magazine. However, for us mere mortals, lanyards have become tokens of our past and its musical adventures. In fact, were it not for the plastic dependability of the AAA pass, you might be at pains to recall if you were even at the party at all.

Speaking from a personal point of view, I have spent approaching 20 years writing about gigs and festivals around the world. And when my MacBook has kindly deleted the photos…. when all paper evidence has been lost… when even the memory itself starts to dissolve, what are we truly left with? Even when some daft American President leans his coffee mug on the wrong button, and the apes finally take over, my lanyard will still exist, some quasi-religious evidence that yes, I was once at the Homelands music festival.

My lanyards are like dependable plastic postcards, taking me back to soggy Glastonbury fields of times past. Suddenly the tunes come back; the faces, the smiles. I kept almost all the passes from every event I ever attended. They lie one by one, hung on a long nail hammered into an office wall, assembled evidence of a past less ordinary. They are badges of honour, tickets to one’s own past and its grungy soundtrack.
It is perhaps not surprising that lanyards and backstage passes are now even collected, via sites such as They may even have one or two of mine that were dropped along the way. They may even have the number of a very pretty girl from Creamfields…

Id Badge lanyards