THE LAST WORD
Retired former editor Neil Haverson has evolved into new man. And now, he’s even got a man bag to prove it. Here he explains everything ...
With Neil Haverson
The quotes of Groucho Marx always make me smile.
“Marriage is a wonderful institution, but who wants to live in an institution?”
Or: “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.” One in particular strikes a chord: “Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them ... well, I have others.”
There are, indeed, times when I feel a bit of hypocrite. Several years ago I made a declaration upon which I have since backtracked.
It was in the very early days of mobile phones. We were shopping for curtains when that wretched Nokia ring broke the silence. As people did in those days – and some still do – the owner began bawling into his phone as if he was on a storm-bound trawler in the North Sea.
I turned to Mrs H and stated categorically that I would never have one of those damned intrusive things. No sir, I wasn’t going to be the owner of something that shattered the peace. And why would I want to have a conversation in the presence of the general public?
Fast forward and I am now the owner of a smart phone. To Mrs H’s annoyance, I constantly check emails, keep up with the news and deliver hourly reports on the weather.
I left home without it the other day and felt completely exposed. How had I once been able to go out without the ability to contact base to clarify such critical issues as which cheese I was supposed to buy?
Mind you, they are now so commonplace. The various ringtones are quite entertaining, and let’s face it, we all love earwigging someone else’s conversation, especially if things get a bit fractious.
And I don’t know how we would have coped without a mobile when the car broke down on a remote part of the Isle of Skye.
When I retired, another principle was shelved. I bought a gizmo I had vowed was just a luxury. I invested in a tablet.
Years ago I would attend meetings with colleagues who had no more than a folder plus a pad and pen. Then they were coming in plonking down their mobile phones. They bleeped and chimed as emails rained in around the room. Occasionally one would ring. “Excuse me, I must just take this.” Probably the wife saying don’t forget to get some milk, but it looked impressive.
And then they added tablets to their paraphernalia. At the slightest query they would be tapping away on the screens, vying to be first with the answer. I would scoff at such antics.
Now I can be seen late at night checking when the next season of Poldark will be aired.
But my ultimate sacrifice of a principle has just occurred. I have a man bag. There was a time I would be on my soap box pontificating that bags are for women. Won’t catch macho me with one over my shoulder. Then laptops bags were everywhere. They morphed into men’s bags.
My son got one for college. I was weakening, but for years I held out.
I began to crack during the summer when I went out without a jacket. A chap has important things to carry. A wallet stacked with credit, debit and loyalty cards – well if you don’t carry them all you can bet the one you want is at home. There’s the phone, of course; car keys, house keys and then I’d buy something and cram into my already bulging pockets. I must have looked deformed. So now I have a smart black over-theshoulder bag.
Oh and guess what. It’s got a pouch for my phone and a compartment for my tablet.