I’ve always had a bit of a thing for button badges. I blame my mother. She worked for the kids’ TV show Blue Peter for many years of her working life, and the programme is (in)famous for the badges that were given to some viewers.
In my teens I had the first experience of making badges. In Sixth Form I was part of a Young Enterprise company and we hired a badge making machine for a day and took it to a shopping mall where we churned out badges for kids who had drawn their own. It was a licence to print a small amount of money.
In my teens and twenties the button badge was a mainstay of the indie music scene, often giveaways with special edition singles. I have particularly fond memories of one from The Wedding Present.
Every so often I’ve had badges manufactured – most recently for the podcast and we’ve given them to people who have appeared on the show (a tradition I’ve got increasingly slack at in lockdown where all of our shows have been recorded online).
Put simply, I like a badge.
I also like the idea of having a project, an “art” project if you will (although I’m not an artist). And so SAE is born.
The idea is simple. Over the coming year, each month I will produce a badge that somehow connects with some facet of my life. Icons that can be fitted onto a 23mm circle. And then I will be giving them away to anyone who wants one. For no more than the cost of two stamps and two envelopes (and there will be a PayPal option for the lazy or those overseas). The Stamped Addressed Envelope that was so beloved of TV shows in the 1970s and 80s.
Some of the badges may resonate with you, some of them not. I don’t really know why I’m doing it, which is of course the reason why I’m doing it. First one will be announced on 1st December.