Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

BB and his womanly tendencies

“Women have handbags. Men have jackets.” is how Plutarch concluded an encomium to his corduroy garment. Pockets support this assertion and Plutarch certainly needs them to store his ever present camera, his ever more present notebook, his Swiss Army knife, the complete Ovid, chewing tobacco and much else.

In which case I fear I must join the ladies. I do have a jacket but I wear it only at light-hearted funerals involving basket-work coffins and Pink Floyd on the CD player. For two or three decades my essentials have been carried in a series of shoulder-bags, each shifting nearer and nearer to the ideal. The current one, a gift from my elder daughter, is made of something like canvas and straightaway meets the first criterion: exterior dimensions at least 10% larger than a sheet of A4 paper.

The larger of two inner compartments holds my wallet, my cheque-book, my coin purse and nothing else. The smaller my mobile phone and two pens, all in integral holsters. The outer flap contains nothing, that at the rear reveals a tiny bit more about me. An address book, Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book 2008, a street map covering Hereford, Ross-on-Wye, Ledbury and Leominster, instruction manuals for the phone, and a 17-page catalogue of my 600 – 700 collection of CDs which requires updating.

Why the wine book? Because I’m weak on Italian and Spanish wines. Why the CD catalogue? Because I can’t remember which Haydn symphonies and string quartets I own and this equips me for impulsively bought special offers. Anyone stealing this bag would look inside and reckon me to be a dull old dog. True. That’s why I blog.

PS: That's Mrs BB's hand.

Novel progress 24/3/10. Ch. 17: 4676 words. Chs. 1 - 16: 73,302. Comments: Clare even more alone.


Plutarch said...

And what about your trouser pockets? A handkerchief, perhaps. But also good for loose coins, rubber bands, paper clips and the like that you don't want to throw away, and have nowhere else for at a particular moment.

I believe that some desginer jacktets are sold with their pockets sown up to avoid their use and so the ruination of the fall of the material.

Relucent Reader said...

As I hear too often on television, "It's European": firstly on Seinfeld, and lately in an auto insurance commercial.

I have a fly fishing vest (aka 'shoplifting vest') which has never seen water, though it has seen many model shows and came in handy when I drove the moving truck Down Here. Many pockets, and has a large compartment on the back....

I use a bag similar to yours when I go into work: it carries several books, my non-electronic DayRunner, cd case,checkbook, wallet, cell 'phone,and many keys. Also: infrequently used eyeglass repair kits, lens tissues, odd pieces of mail, and a layer of pens and mechanical pencils.
Flickr, the photo site, has a "what's in your bag" group.Google "what's in your bag flickr" for hours of fun.

Rouchswalwe said...

After a year of watching and waiting, I have finally procured "the" black leather courier bag with four zippers and a small snap-lid pouch on the front. Now I am able to carry my Swiss Knife, camera, notebook, pen case, mobile, spectacle cleaner kit, thumb drive, chapstick, mirror, various hair clips, and wallet in easy-to-reach style. And, there is space for a book and other things I might find throughout the day (I could probably even fit a beer bottle in it). An added feature is that the zipper tabs are long pieces of leather and the rings in various spots clink a bit when I walk. This bag has whoo-factor in it, let me tell you.

Barrett Bonden said...

Plutarch: Handkerchief and keys only. The point I'm making is that the bag does away with the need to transfer the essentals; they're always there. For more formal funerals (ie, Requiem Mass upwards) I have a suit with stitched up pockets. This doesn't stop me trying to thrust, say, theatre ticlet subs into them.

RR: I have one of those weskits but I'm self-conscious about wearing it in non-sporting environments. As a result I've never tested it to see whether it would bedevil me with choice. How long would I need before I instinctively went to the bottom left pocket for my wallet. Somehow I find the spectacle repair kit intensely poignant.

RW (zS): All of a sudden you have become far more three-dimensional. In my mind all these artefacts float in the air round an RW (zS)-shaped hole. I also like "various hair clips" as if you spend lots of time in the centre of typhoons. I also approve of your jingling walk, like Clint Eastwood in a spaghetti western. In one short comment you've earned yourself a whoo-factor.

Julia said...

I'm a fan of interior pockets for wallet, phone and keys (pickpocket avoidance) but I do carry a bag around with an ever present notebook, pen, and the occasional grocery discovery (a can of black beans or a nice bottle of wine counts here - you never know when you'll walk by a new little store specializing in random food goods impossible to find elsewhere in the city.

If you had a wine guide on your phone would you use it?

Barrett Bonden said...

Julia: Ah, but would you buy a tin of black beans and/or a bottle of wine when setting out on a business trip? Come to think of it - black beans; I'm familiar with red, butter, broad, borlotti but not black. Must consult le chef de la cuisine.

I see where your wine query is leading - easing me gently into the purchase of one of these all-singing, all-dancing phones. The reason I have Hugh Johnson is because of the quality of his info (and the compactness of the book) so it would depend on whether I could get that from the phone. Have you been able to resist acquiring Apple's latest? Is it the iPad? I take it that if Hugh Johnson became an ebook it could be downloaded on to an iPad. Hmmm.

Sir Hugh said...

I have downloaded a wine app to my iPhone which seems quite comprehensive. It also enables you to make your own lists up. I think it will also receive updates as required. If you want to put it through its paces contact me and we will see what it comes up with.

Julia said...

If I spotted a can of black beans I would definitely buy it before a meeting if that's when I found it. Good food supplies are gold dust! When I can find the beans, we make black beans and rice from a Mexican recipe and very much enjoy them.

So far I've resisted an iPhone as it is a bit wide for my hand and I kept hoping Apple would fulfill their own rumors and come out with a smaller model. I'll stop waiting and get something in that range soon though as we are starting to develop applications for them and I need the street cred (or should I call it meeting cred?).

herhimnbryn said...

Over here, such a bag is called a 'Murse' (Man's purse). Only the Australians could come up with such a description!

The Alchemist has a similar shoulder bag made by Timberland. I encouraged him to purchase it when we were last in the UK. He was not keen....but I had become disenchanted with carrying all his stuff (or 'kit' as calls it), in my now small shoulder bag. He is now a convert to the manly shoulder bag.

Lucy said...

Tom has a cuboid thing he always refers to as his camera case, though it has long since ceased to contain anything but a very small compact Nikon which could easily go in a pocket. Mostly I think it has his large collection of spectacles - distance, reading, bifocals, spare distance, computer glasses..., hearing aids which are more often there than in his ears, and I think quite a lot of packets of sugar and artificial sweeteners pilfered from restaurants and cafes. It's a fairly ghastly thing, sticks out too much and knocks into things, and not easy to carry, like most shoulder bags it is bad for posture and an encumbrance. Your soft flat grey bag is much more stylish and practical, very nice.

I have the third and best so far model of a pear-shaped bag which can be slung across my front, so being easy of access and secure. It has in addition to money, notebook and phone, a roll-up cotton shopping bag, compact camera I hardly ever use, lots of keys to other people's houses (I don't quite know why...), occasionally a small bottle of water or a waterproof coat, there isn't room for both, and quite a lot of black plastic dog-poo bags, which I tend to stock up on when I pass a dispenser of these, which are still quite rare here. They are as often used for secreting chips and other scraps off our plates in restaurants to compensate Molly for being left in the car as for their original purpose.

Barrett Bonden said...

Julia: It was meeting-cred of which I spoke. The fact that you're able, insouciantly, to take a tin of beans into a sales pitch, combined with the qualities reported to me direct from Prague, forces me to conclude you aren't in need of any electronic artefacts to enhance yourself. Daniel into the lions' den and it was the lions who drew back.

HHB: Murse tells me something about Australian men. That they should feel the need to differentiate between their bags and those carried by sheilas (Is that slang still current?) seems a little worrying.

Having cut my bag contents down to a minimum I too resent having to carry other people's kit (Good techie word; no problem with that.) and you are to be applauded by encouraging the acquisition of a manly bag. But I am concerned about this recently revealed blogonym. Whereas I remain in awe of chemists (organic or inorganic) I feel quite different about alchemists. The word seems to suggest they do what they do by cheating. Mind you, if he has discovered the philosopher's stone, I suppose he's entitled.

herhimnbryn said...

His first name is Al. (for short). So, he had to be a chemist didn't he?

Yes, 'Sheila', is still used in some parts of the country (deep joy!).

There's a new post up over at my place, via the Alchemist...

Barrett Bonden said...

Lucy: You slid in as I was answering Julia and HHB. The contents of someone's bag are often the most precise guide to the person carrying it provided they are honestly listed. (The last five words are added deliberately since I did omit one item from my list - a form of medication which said rather too much about me than I cared to reveal). Tom's bag sounds like a revolt against a life devoted to particles: an expression of - symbol of - retirement. I like the idea of the multi-faceted poo-bag. I never saw the French responding to the idea of doggy-bags but I don't know why. The more demotic French restaurants are often well-populated with dogs, especially on Sundays.