Strolling down a street in Oran, Algeria in 1975, I screech to a stop in front of a shop that sells sports stuff. In the window there is a yellow ‘Spirotechnique’ diving bag. It looks incredibly cool and somehow I feel it will make me look incredibly cool if I sling it over my shoulder and boulevard around the place. It is also amazingly expensive. Anything imported was crazily expensive in the struggling economy of pretty newly independent Algeria. I don’t have the money. I wait until the next pay day, terrified that someone else will buy it and steal my cool.
I have had this bag for 36 years. I don’t think I possess anything else that dates from that era. The bag is incredibly tough. It carried everything I owned for several years and then babies played in it, it transported books, toys, guinea fowl chicks, but never hardcore diving gear. It never did what it was made to do. It was always on the outside. It was never one of the lads.
one of the lads (British & Australian informal) also one of the boys (American informal)
Ally McCoist: I can’t be one of the lads anymore if I’m to be the manager
Being one of the lads is very important in British culture. You belong, you are supported, you are right. My bag was none of these things until today. Filled with hardcore diving gear, heading out over the East China Sea, after 36 years, my bag became one of the lads.