Luke Acland tells his tale about the beginnings of the Beige Brigade. Photo: Charles Anderson

‘I was there when the Beige Brigade was born’

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Every few weeks we sit down with someone with a story to tell at the Vic Brewbar. We call it ‘Burgers Beers and Banter’. This week we speak to Luke Acland who has a small but important part to play in the beginning of a New Zealand cricketing phenomenon.

“It was 1998 and I was at the halls of residence in Christchurch for university. This story is about New Zealand cricket and the beginnings of the Beige Brigade.

The following year I started flatting with Mike Lane. He received a package and it was former New Zealand cricketer Bruce Edgar’s uniform. It was a beige one-day uniform. He was an opening batsman and famously he was at the opposing end during the underarm delivery. It was horrendous piece of kit in 1999. But now it’s fashionable.

The package had a note saying: “You are the only person I know who is stupid enough to wear this.”

He was right. Mike wore it everwhere. I feel like we all got jealous that he was getting all this attention. So, we nagged and nagged and nagged him. I remember one day we got home from a lecture and he was sitting in the living room with our flat mate’s Singer sewing machine. The beige kit was sitting unpicked on the floor. He had made patterns of the kit out of Tui billboards and stitched us up all our own beige kits.

You picture the sort of character of man that might do this. That was not Mike Lane. So, we went on tour wearing this. And in Taupo’s Owen Delaney Park, that summer of 1999, we lost horrendously to Zimbabwe and the New Zealand Herald didn’t want to cover that so instead they did this major spread on us saying “Glory days of the beige brigade”.

Mike just started making these outfits. It went nuts, it was a thirst for this throw back of New Zealand cricket.

We all lived in Wellington for a short time and it just exploded in popularity – Mike said The Beige Brigade became the largest supplier of beige stubbies in the whole country. They sold thousands of these shirts. It’s been pretty phenomenal.

So yea, I was in the original Beige Brigade. Now I’m just a lawyer. But I’m pretty sure I got an interview with a law firm because I said I was a founding member on my CV.”

Have you or someone you know got a good (but appropriate) pub story to tell? Email editorial@ nelsonweekly.co.nz with the gist of it and you might find yourself treated.