5 things at the bottom of my bag right now
Updated: Apr 28, 2018
I listen to A LOT of podcasts. But there's only one that makes me laugh out loud on the Northern Line, cry soppy tears AND gives me a sense of calm about my place in the world - all at the same time. I'm talking about The Debrief. Each week, comedians Stevie Martin (not in Cheaper By the Dozen) and Tessa Coates guide us through the beautiful chaos of being a twenty-something: how the Hell do I exercise? How do I get organised? How do I get over a breakup? How on earth does a person cook meals for the week on Sunday night?! They somehow give the best advice without a HINT of smugness. I think it's because they're very open about the fact that they're still working it out themselves. My best friend of 14 years, Angelica, and I are totally obsessed and quote it to each other whenever we meet up. Essentially: I'm a fan.
So, I asked Tessa and Stevie if they would give us an insight into their lives through the contents of their bag. Here's what they said...
1. Bio Oil
I have so much of this and I use it everywhere, even though it’s supposed to be for scars, because my skin is dry like the desert. I’m always returning things to Primark when I’ve lost the receipt and exchanging them for Bio Oil because that feels really sensible and more financially viable than buying novelty phone charging cables at the til.
2. Novelty phone charging cables
I have three in my bag right now. One looks like a purple climbing rope, one looks like black leather and one lights up. None of them work. At home I have one in Barbie pink, one in gold and one that looks like a zip. None of them work.
3. Novelty phone charging power packs
What a good idea these seem like, except they take ten hours to charge and then provide seven minutes of battery. I must own a hundred. One looks like a tiny Coke can.
4. Headphone jack splitter that looks like a pineapple
I must have owned this for three years. It just waits in my bag for the moment someone says ‘I wish there was some way we could share our music on this bus!’ Every time I see it it nods to me to say ‘still here. Ready when you are’.
5. Laptop case that looks like an old book
I honestly did not know I had a problem until just now. Also there is a pen that looks like a carrot and my Oyster Card holder that looks like a Penguin book. I need to take a long hard look at my choices.
1. A nude tampon
There is something horribly pathetic and faintly lewd about a tampon out of its packaging. What a WASTE. It didn't even get to do its job. Every time I look at it I say, 'God, I have to get rid of that in case someone goes in my bag for something' but I still haven't. For some reason I feel sorry for it, as if being in my bag at least gives it some form of status among its tampon friends. To bin it without it having performed its sole function feels almost cruel. OK, I'm empathising with a tampon. I need help.
2. Bits of edible paper
I had a joke in my show (May 3rd! May 6th! Look on my website steviemartin.com and come along!) where I eat a book (obviously) so I bought a load of edible paper to put in a normal book. It didn't work. I've done it about ten times now and every time I eat the book it gets a "Yep ok" response and I refuse to cut it because I think eating a book is hilarious. Also I have 100 sheets of edible paper.
3. A cord
Not like a serial killer, but like an electronic cord that charges something and I don't actually know what it charges. Possibly a hard drive? More likely is that it charges those portable phone chargers and I've lost the actual phone charger bit. This is why, when someone buys me something incredibly useful like a portable phone charger, my heart sinks. Either I will lose it completely and forget I ever owned it, or I will keep half of it impotently floating around in my bag.
I have an appointments diary and a notebook which means I'm constantly looking for a pen, asking people for a pen and trying to steal pens from banks. This is because I always forget I have one in the bottom of my bag, meaning my bag is now lined with pens. It's always a shitter when you pull out a blue one. Black is just so much nicer. Oh, and top tip: you don't have to steal pens from banks all the time. Natwest let you nick their pens. There's even a sign saying 'Please help yourself to a pen' which is, I think, the main reason I've remained with Natwest for so long.
5. A fork
I have got very into packed lunches recently after doing an anonymous feature for a magazine on how much the average millennial spends, tracking my outgoings and finding it was all on food. Problem is, you always need a fork and the fork often doesn't fit in the lunchbox so you end up with a nude fork knocking about your bag. And then if you're disgusting, like me, you forget to take the fork out and wash it. Essentially what I'm saying is I am always carrying a fork with dried pesto on it in my bag. And I haven't saved money because now I can't stop buying trainers, but that's another issue.
With Stevie Martin and Tessa Coates (She's playing at Soho Theatre from today!)
You can listen to the Debrief Podcast here (you won’t regret it...)
Interview by Matilda Curtis, illustration by @katemangostar