There's a knock at the door. Not yet nine o'clock and we have a delivery. It's a large rectangular box, light for the size. I assume it must be clothing and therefore not for me. I only buy new clothes when I have to, and then with a resentful acceptance that it is occasionally absolutely necessary.
I carry the box into the living room and hand it to my wife. She says it's for me. Me? I check the seat of my pants to make sure I'm not exposing my buttocks. It's a new backpack, she says.
My old backpack has reached the end of the road. The netted water bottle pockets are more hole than net. One half of the bag zips tight, the other hangs open like a split football. The edges are frayed and padding exposed.
I would have bought a new one. Eventually. Every time I tried to do up the broken zip it would rush to the top of my to-do list only to instantly slip from my goldfish memory. Fortunately I've outsourced part of my memory to my better half.
The new backpack is made of a hi-tech water resistant material. It looks expensive. The olive colour matches my coat. The design and feel of the new backpack screams urban go-getter, not suburban dawdler. It doesn't just have one label attached. It has three. One of them boasts of being designed in San Francisco. My usual brand is what's flung on the returns rack at TK Maxx.
A heavy cardboard label highlights the many cool features. Most notable is that the bottle pockets aren't full of holes. It boasts YKK zippers. The Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikikaisha zip 'adopts the self-locking puller technology'. I assumed all zips were self-locking, that being the purpose of a zip. The construction incorporates Duraflex hardware and hypalon zipper pulls. It's an F16 with shoulder straps.
There's stitching detail on the front that I can't quite figure out the purpose of. I refuse to believe it's merely decorative, it must be tactical. There's a laptop sleeve and a breathable interior pocket for secure storage. That's where I intend to put my passport if I go abroad. The last thing I want is for my passport to suffocate.
The list of registered trademarks is endless. I don't wear a backpack anymore. I've been transformed into the kind of rugged individual who carries a 'packable travel day pack'. That isn't just a bunch of words that when put in a different order say backpack, it's an entire lifestyle choice.
I empty out my sad old backpack. Time to slough off three years of receipts from Sainsburys, the crumpled pack of Moomins tissues, an almost empty 60ml dispenser of hand sanitising liquid which expired in 2022, machine washable face mask and, curiously, a brown plastic spoon. They are ancient artefacts of TK Maxx bag me. I've entered the hypalon zipper pull age.
The new me can never buy a new coat. The old one matches my new bag. From here on, everything must match my new bag.
I have a patreon which I update regularly. Tuesdays and Saturdays I post process and behind the scenes stuff such as Punycorn colour pages. Thursdays I post a one page comic story.
Books. Sate your appetite for new reading material by buying these fine graphic novels from all the places fine graphic literature is sold (book shops, comic shops, online etc). And if you enjoyed them, please write a positive review online. We will be forever grateful.
I still have books out in the world, Kerry and the Knight of the Forest & the awards nominated The Book Tour. Support my efforts through my store – digital comics – patreon or by leaving a positive review online