Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Bags, Bags, Bags!!

In the last couple of weeks I have become the proud owner of three, yes three new bags. I'm not talking about Tesco carrier bags here, I'm referring to quality ones, the proper stuff, the real McCoy. I've never been a bag type of bloke in the past. I've made do with suitcases bought for fuck all from the Pettah, I've carried around the dodgiest of fake designer label rucksacks bought from House of Fashion (real Diessel you know) and I've ventured into manbag territory but only really dipped a toe in the water. Toe dipping's all well and good but sometimes you have to hold your breath and dive into the water don't you?

The first of this trio was my new "Crumpler" rucksack thing. I bought this lovely MacBook, from which I type now, and realised that I needed a good quality backpack effort to take on any trips. One which would hold my camera, my new MacBook, iPod, about 9 drum magazines (essential for the average drummer on a long haul flight) and a pen. These are more or less the essential items for a long haul journey, in my case most of these journeys are to Sri Lanka, hence the requirement for pen space; I need a pen to fill out the immigration form thing that gets handed out just before the meal is served and I have now got so sad that I can think about these things when choosing a bag. The carefree days of wind in the hair, devil may care attitude and excuse me can I borrow a pen are long gone, replaced by a man of responsibility and respect, a fellow who carries a pen with him, albeit one of those cheap transparent disposable ones.

This rucksack is a piece of design in itself. It's the sort of bag that unscrupulous fellows would nick even if there was nothing inside it, just to get the bag. So I'll probably get a cheap Tesco carrier bag or similar to carry it around in. It's got all sorts of compartments, a special filling on the bit that goes against your back to make it feel comfortable, a compartment for the MacBook, with it's own "sock" thing to put the MacBook in. You can probably even put a PC laptop in this although I wouldn't recommend such a crime against fashion.

It's also got a rather fetching and distinctive lime green and black colour scheme, it doesn't even look gay. All I need now is somewhere to go, avec Macbook, and I'll be sorted.

After all my fears and trepidations over the whole manbag issue I'm now a bit of a manbag convert. I can carry one comfortably, feeling at ease with myself and I don't worry about being mistaken for a Frenchman or one of those Italians from Italy. Frankly they're bloody practical these manbags, us blokes can carry a magazine or two, a wallet, some keys and all manner of other things and we don't have to worry about bulging pockets or losing things. Unless we lose the manbag of course. I've rapidly advanced to the level at which I look at "nice" manbags in shops. I look at them and wonder whether that one will suit me, whether the brown will look better or if the black one will bring out my youthful good looks.

So there I was the other day. A normal day really. I was in Camden Market desperately attempting to keep control of a group of fourteen thirteen year old girls. I'm not used to this type of thing. Thirteen year old girls are evil, they've got attitude and they're not afraid to use it. In the midst of the chaos and pandemonium I left the pack. I strolled around Camden Market for a spell and got captivated by a little Chinese bloke selling bags. Before I knew what was happening some money had changed hands and I had become the proud owner of a trendy multi pocketed manbag, replete with leather bits, labels, zips and functions galore.

I rejoined the pack of evil female hormones and got dragged off to an all you can eat Chinese buffet place, where the group proceeded to put the restaurant into liquidation.

The last bag is the one I'll use the least, yet the most expensive. It's a sexy Samsonite suitcase. I don't know why I bought it. One of those whim things, or because I've never owned a decent suitcase before. Someone recently called me a "Pikey" because I don't own quality suitcases. My air travel life has consisted of living out of suitcases bought from the Pettah. You know those ones, pockets everywhere, wheels that almost work, a strap that says "Olympic" and a combination lock with no instructions. And, if they did have instructions they'd say something like

"Try to set the number, it doesn't matter because the lock won't work and can be broken with no force whatsoever if required. But, if you own one of these suitcases no one will break into it. They know that the only thing inside will be frozen lamprais anyway."

But I reckon this Samsonite one cost me about sixteen times the price of a cheapo Pettah one. There's little chance that it will last sixteen times as long, even if it does I doubt whether I'll still use it by then. I must confess to a sad fascination in the quality of its zips, the feel of something that hasn't been stuck together with sellotape and the sheer novelty of a combination lock that both works and has instructions.

There you are. Three new bags, all a bit extravagant and all highly practical.

Now I just need to go somewhere!