03 March, 2011

An ICLC Tradition

A few things have happened recently that have gotten me thinking.  Completely independently of each other, last week was London Fashion Week, and yesterday my friend wrote into the Guardian newspaper and her comments were published online!  Yes, you guessed it, the combination of fashion and the Guardian can only get one thinking about Bill's orange Guardian bag.  This bag has come to be an icon of many good things.  It represents walks with Bill when that bright, safety-orange bag was the only way you could find Bill to catch up with him in a crowd.  It represents what used to be the prize for the travel writing competition at the end of the term.  I remember being a student back in Ithaca seeing these very bright bags around campus and a friend of mine, who had just come back from his semester in London, looking at it mournfully and wishing he were back in London.
Fall, 2009
This is where we encounter the real issue.  This bag is disappearing from our lives.  The Guardian doesn't make them anymore, so we can no longer give them as prizes, and Bill's bag, which he has carried for many years, looks all the worse for wear.  The Guardian bag is becoming more and more a thing of the past.  Change is good, and Bill has a new bag now.  It's made by Manhattan Portage, it's more on the red side of safety-orange, and has a reflective silver stripe across it.  Content-wise, it probably carries about as much as the old Guardian bag, plus has a zip pocket on the front.  The new bag is held closed with velcro and also clips to hold it closed for extra security.  Bill didn't need this "extra security" in the old bag, he claims all he did with that one was carry really old sandwiches to put strangers off of reaching in and trying to steal term papers from him.  My main issue with all of this, though, is that Bill is a historian by trade.  His Guardian bag has iconic status with alums and symbolizes excellence in writing and walking tours all over London.  It's an ICLC tradition and it's fading in our midst.  Is it possible to begin a "Save the Guardian Bag" campaign?
Summer, 2007

I have looked on eBay, on Amazon, on the Guardian's website and come up empty handed.  These bags seem nowhere to be found.  Perhaps there is a museum out there that would like to de-accession a Guardian bag? 

Bill has a birthday coming up.  Any leads on Guardian bags would be much appreciated.

Thanks.
-Claire

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