Thomthumb84's Blog

My Manbag

Posted in Comment by thomthumb84 on October 11, 2010


Indy - the ultimate manbag model


I am unashamedly fond of my manbag. And more to the point I am totally and utterly dependent upon it. I loathe having to stuff my pockets full with the necessities of daily life – primarily because I am the kind of vain creature who spends who spends time reflecting on how big my arse looks with my wallet stuffed in the back pocket. But even if this were not the case I’d find my bag essential. On a daily basis I am carrying my keys, mobile, book, water, notebook, dictaphone, digital camera, umbrella, fags, lighter and an assortment of uncompromisingly useless pens. In addition to this I am frequently carrying a change of clothes for when I stay at my girlfriend’s house, my laptop, and a packed lunch. Even without my debilitating vanity such a task would be impossible. I find it totally impossible, then, to understand how men have survived so long without a bag. Women have carried them for yonks and are always prepared for anything. Try it out right now. If your in a room of men and women ask if anyone has any gum. Go on. Well? Bet it was a woman who gave you someone wasn’t it? The same is true of anything like that – those little bags are chock full of everything that is needed for daily life. They are like fashionable little survival bags for urban living. I look on in awe and wonder when I see men wander into the office bagless in the morning – where do they put all their stuff? I keep wondering whether they hire some kind of urban sherpas to subtly follow behind them with the daily detritus of pens, laptops, and unnecessarily weighty hardbacks. If not I am utterly stuck on how they survive.

My manbag is, as you can guess, totally and utterly essential. But it does have its down side. For a start I get through them like anything. Considering the amount of shit I stuff in there I have had to deal with broken buckles, snapped handles, and (I kid you not) bursting seams over the years. And the cost of this mounts up. The last bag I bought was a very cool looking satchel (I just hate the term satchel – reminds me of those things you used to carry your recorder in at school- I carry a MANBAG) from Asos. This was a big mistake. Taking style over substance I failed to appreciate that such a suave and delicate young thing could not deal with the harsh realities of carrying my daily necessities. Within a week the metal support bar over the top had torn through the faux leather and the buckle had snapped. This left me with an entirely unsecure flappy thing, attached to a protruding bit of sharp metal that swings limply over my shoulder like an exotic piece of road kill. Despite the general advantage of having a large pointy thing with me at all times to swing around when the rage took me on the tube it was a complete write-off. I wanted to send it back but then how was I going to explain that I was using this rather flimsy bit of fashion as though it were the sort of backpack you take on a five day hike to the Quantocks?

The bag before this suffered a similar fate, although it has managed to survive to a general degree. This was the rather beautiful but oh-too-expensive-for-words Knomo – a present for my 21st birthday and the only bag capable of carrying my previous brick-weight laptop. After six months of taking the strain the side clasp pinged off – almost catching me and three unsuspecting bystanders in the eyes. It too became a martyr to the cause until I managed to create a Frankenstein’s monster of a bag with the help of two climbing karabiners. I still use it but it doesn’t look as smart. I suspect I actually failed to get a job the other day because the interviewer thought it made me look messy (Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself).

In addition to the financial issue I also find myself having to clean the thing out every few days as it slowly fills with receipts, bottle caps, more useless pens, very old chewing gum, a copy of the evening standard from three weeks before, and the odd busted climbing karabiner (I get through them too). If I did not have this additional pocket upon my person I would put this stuff in a bin. Instead it sits in there slowly weighing me down further and further – resulting in my now significant lopsidedness. I also find that these things never, ever, ever, fit into the cradles on the London Bikes. No matter how many times I try and force them in they just don’t give and I end up wobbling along the street (already naturally lopsided) with this thing perched precariously on my back.

Last night I finally came to the conclusion that something must be done. I need a proper man bag -something with a reinforced titanium buckle and strap, and a covering made from the stuff they put on space shuttles. I need something that lasts. But looking on line nothing takes my fancy anymore. I just don’t believe anything out there lives up to the hype. I need to road test these things. Take them out into the mean streets of London loaded with all the useless shit that have become my contemporary working noose. And it has to be under £40….. oh fuck it. Maybe I’ll just use a carrier bag from now on.


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