Part One: The English Gentle man
Edward Marks is a seasoned English gent, a true survivor of his tradition. He retired from the British army after forty years of dedicated service where he achieved the proud status of Sargent Major. Now in retirement he resides peacefully with his memories in a small village on the edge of the downs. Today, Mark is carefully planning a hike across the downs and laid out on his single bed a suitable collection of clothes. He will be wearing a Harris Tweed Jacket and cap, Flannel Check Shirt, Olive Green Moleskin Trousers and hiking boots, perfectly suited a walk in the country side. Before leaving the house there is one more very important thing to address, selecting a suitable shoulder bag to carry his requisites. This inanimate object is a faithful companion and without it Mark would feel great loss and discomfort. He reaches out and removes a green canvas bag with leather straps from his collection hanging from wooden pegs in the entry hall to his home.
Now the bag is ready to perform its vital function. Mark gives his choice bag a little shake and inspects the inside for any remnants of last use. He places the bag on the kitchen table in front of a selection of objects, all of which will sustain him on his days outing; ham cheese and tomato sandwich, wrapped in wax paper, one orange, wrapped in an old kerchief, a leather pouch containing Old Holbourn tobacco and papers, flask of piping hot tea, sketch pad and drawing pencils and finally a spare hanky.
He is now fully prepared to step out into a perfect spring day. Slinging the bag over his left shoulder he feels great comfort and satisfaction, there is an odd kind of security one gets from the shoulder bag. And, even odder is the attachment to it, though tattered and torn it may be and long past a use by day. The old faithful bag will lie next to similarly tattered sneakers and many failed attempts have been made to discard them, an impossible task.
Part Two: The New York Stock Broker
In complete contrast to the tranquil nature of Edwards Marks peaceful surrounding in the English Countryside, across the Atlantic Ocean Marcus Steiner, a young positively aggressive stock broker is in a similar mode of daily preparation. Markus graduated from Harvard with first degree honours in finance and economics. His very life feeds on success; his whole existence is driven by adrenaline. He is on a career path consulting in the share trading market. It’s a cut throat industry and only the tough survive. He rises very early in the city that never sleeps.
After a protein rich breakfast has been fully consumed he performs his ritual Yoga exercises and religiously chants a few self-motivating scripts to prepare him for battle on the stock room floor.
Marcus is now standing beside and laid out before him are collections of clothing, he carefully selects the most appropriate to reflect his powerful intentions of the day. A finely tailored blue Marino Wool suit, crisp Egyptian cotton shirt, red and blue striped handmade silk tie, dark brown leather shoes with matching belt. Now it’s time to select that all important companion men’s bags to house electronic communication devices, pens, business cards, latest financial review, wallet, pens and dark glasses. He slings the bag over his shoulder with a great air of confidence and steps out onto the crowded streets. Marcus is capably ready to take on the finance world he thrives on, enclosed in his leather bag all the things that reflect his intentions and critical information at hand to demonstrate his skills.
Two individuals at the opposite end of a scale and from vastly different cultural influences have something in common. They both rely heavily on a similar companion (the shoulder bag) though its contents vary, it performs the same function. The bag originally born out of function has now become a fashion accessory in an ever growing demand. You will see men of all ages carrying them by hand, dangling from shoulders or clinging to their backs. Do you have a favourite companion bag?