Bros Jacket (Material Memory)

Year: 1980s

Origin: Belfast

Donated By: Joanna Harriott

In the 1980s, Northern Ireland faced a recession, high unemployment, and violence during The Troubles, marked by shootings, riots, and bombings. Bros, a band formed in Surrey in 1986, had a significant impact on one of my twin daughters, Nichola, providing her with an escape from the turmoil of her home city. At nearly 11 years old, she became a fan when Bros released their first single, I Owe You Nothing, in August 1987.

Nichola customised a bomber jacket with images of the group, a project financed with her weekly pocket money. Each Saturday, she and her ‘Brossette’ friend purchased badges for the jacket and added bottle tops to their shoes, emulating her heroes. Despite the challenges of getting into Belfast city centre, with security checks, bomb scares, and armed patrols, Nichola persisted.

While some bands visited Belfast during the unrest, Bros chose not to. Nichola wrote to them, receiving a signed poster in return, but it took over 30 years for her to see them in person at The Botanic Gardens in June 2019. Her cherished bomber jacket, customised with pocket money, remains a sentimental family keepsake, impressing her five children.

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