John Butcher

Just once in a while a  little something comes our way to brighten our lives and we just can't refuse it.  John Butcher is a long standing supporter of fileybay and when we asked him about his journalistic and broadcasting career, we just had to publish his response in full.

John is a presenter on Kingstown Radio (1350 AM) and has a lifetimes experience of travelling in exotic parts which is reflected in his superbly produced programme - Time and Tide.  He is featured on  the Listening Zone  where you may purchase his new CD and find out more about him.  We have reviewed the CD and it is worth every penny, So take it away John:


Hello, Iím John Butcher. Welcome to Time and Tide.

Iíve bought myself a Manbag. Just a simple black job with zips and pockets. Elegant, stylish, practical. The reason is that I got so fed up with having to stuff my pockets with so much stuff. Mobile, keys, money, credit cards, tissues, pens, chewing gum, letters, notebook, ipod, you get the picture. Now I can just open the flap and throw it all in. I donít know why I didnít do this years ago. What I hadnít realised though, was that owning a bag opens a whole new world. The bag takes on a life of itís own.

Women have known this since they first started carrying bags of course, which seems to have been in ancient Egypt. Hieroglyphs show pouches carried around the waist. From there, handbags evolved into all sorts of shapes and sizes, and gave birth to an entire branch of culture. Thereís a lot more to a bag than just something to carry things in. What should it be made of, when will I use it, how big should it be, how much can I afford, does it go with my new frock, what does it say about me?

Ah, thatís the big one. Itís said that a womanís handbag can tell you a lot about her personality. If you like handbags in cheerful colours, it indicates that youíre out-going and sociable, whereas if you choose a handbag in black or brown it means youíre either shy, or a snob. Stating the bleediní obvious, then.

Some handbag psychology isnít so straightforward though. A handbag carried under the shoulder is supposed to show that youíre sophisticated, one with lots of buckles and pockets tells everyone that youíre easy, while bags that are big and bulky show that youíre low-maintenance. That means that I must mix with a pretty rough crowd, because most of the women I know cart everything but the kitchen sink around with them.

Load of tosh in my opinion. But one thing I hadnít bothered to consider when I bought my manbag, was security. If you have your bag stolen you could have just lost your whole life. There are plenty of low-lifes out there itching to get their grubby mitts on your credit cards, your passport, your mobile, your front door keys. Bang Ė bank account emptied, house burgled, identity stolen. Donít keep it all together. And never leave your bag unattended. Bag thieves target pubs and clubs looking for easy pickings. Wrap the strap around a table or chair leg if you have to Ė there have been stories of bags waltzing across floors on their own on the end of a hook and line.

 A manbag is designed to be worn diagonally across the body. This isnít going to stop someone slicing through the strap with a Stanley knife, but you can buy straps which are threaded with steel wire. Another clever idea Iíve seen to deter thieves are transparent bags; not only handy for passing through airport security with the minimum of fuss, but for showing the canister of indelible red dye which any potential mugger is going to get as an extra gift as soon as he tries to open his swag. Bags fitted with fingerprint scanners or voice-activated locks are available, and if you want to get really hard evidence on your assailant you can buy handbags ready-fitted with cameras and microphones. Yours for around £300.

 As you see then, you can expect to find almost anything in a handbag or manbag. Men and women, weíre both the same in that respect. But where we do diverge, is on the matter of style. ďDarling, Iím just going to pop in here, look after my bag will youĒ, and she leaves him holding some dainty, sparkly number decorated with cute fluffy toys. This is when most men will suffer a major sense of humour failure, so perhaps we should work on persuading the fairer sex to opt for something more sensible when weíre out shopping together, a bag us men wouldnít mind being seen with. Perhaps something in the shape of a rugby ball, or a computer keyboard, wouldnít look quite so girly. Just a thought.

 Finally, some handbag trivia. In 2000, a black leather handbag that once belonged to Margaret Thatcher was sold for a hundred-thousand pounds at a charity auction in aid of breast cancer. One owned by ex-Mrs Jagger, Jerry Hall, fetched 700, while a bag donated by Cherie Blair struggled to reach a miserable £350.



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