‘The 1980s were nothing like as appealing as current TV series make them seem’

Marian Keyes has a Sudden Wild Enthusiasm for ‘belt bags’ not to be confused with 'bumbags' which are like testicles -'useful but not beautiful'

The grand stretch to the evenings fills me with so much distress that a few years back I set up a political party: People Agin Spring! Our emblem was a bowl of ReadyBrek and we stood on a platform of “Darkness at 5 o’clock all year round, so everyone stays inside, eats complex carbs and watches telly.”

In three short hours, a Twitter account garnered 59 followers, until abruptly I lost interest – due to depression triggered by that spooky evening light lingering too long in the sky.

However! Mother Nature’s consolation prize for spring is the arrival of all the beautiful new things in the shops. Suddenly the leftover s**te, at 90 per cent off, is swept away by a tsunami of pretty, fresh, pastel-coloured clothes, shoes, and – best of all – bags.

This year, though, I’ve been anxious because of the launch of a bag that can trace its lineage all the way back to the bumbag of the 80s. This, my friends, is the beltbag.


Simpler times

Now, a short history lesson. I lived through the 1980s first time round and they were nothing like as appealing as current TV series are making them seem. (Five words. Ay ay, ay, ay, moosey.) Back in the late 1980s, we wore bumbags, like as our actual handbags, not just holiday things, because – and please be kind – we knew no better! Simpler times, simpler times.

Wearable bags are convenient but bumbags remind me of testicles – useful but not beautiful. So you can understand why the heralded arrival of the beltbag has had me worried sick.

Unfortunately among the new arrivals, there are some bumbags. But others – which we will concern ourselves with – are very different: still small enough to be worn (even across the chest or back), but they’re shaped like elegant purses, come in beautiful colours and are threaded through pretty leather belts with delicate metal buckles instead of foul plastic chunky slots. (As if they were seatbelts. Like, I mean.)

Lots of fancy designers – Miu Miu, Moschino, Gucci, Sportmax – have done versions. (I would sell my granny for the Valentino version. Pink, tanken yew.) Naturally the high street are sure to follow with their tributes. So far I’ve only seen the Topshop offering – but isn’t it beautiful? And *speaks out of the side of my mouth* … in the right light, with a few jars on board, could probably pass for Versace.