People want to know: has Jarvis got a brand new bag?

Retro-chic sex idol Jarvis Cocker made perhaps his most complex image statement yet when he was spotted backstage at a Blur gig with a little strappy oblong number draped over his arm. A handbag? So it would seem, but Jarvis's people are denying all knowledge. "Are you sure you don't mean his satchel?" asked his PR representative. The Melody Maker news desk were none the wiser, but helpfully suggested that the phantom handbag might contain Michael Jackson's home phone number.

Jarvis Cocker is a pop paradox: lyric genius, nylon-wrapped lounge-lizard and big girl's blouse. One moment he's crooning about how many suburban housewives he's seduced over their candlewick, the next he's on Shooting Stars, throwing individually-wrapped cheeses "in the style of a girl" through the mouth of a giant cardboard Judy Finnegan. If he doesn't have a handbag, he should get one, as it would not only counterpoint the Wildean nature of Cocker's crushed-velvet aestheticism, but give him somewhere to keep his packet of Spangles.

Although they've always been popular on the continent, handbags for men are still seen in this country as tantamount to transvestism. Unstinting in their regard for chunky black record bags with discreet club logos and briefcases with oh-so-exciting combination locks, British men remain unpersuaded by the minor flood of butch(ish) little bags emerging from American design houses like Calvin Klein and Jill Stuart.

Alex, 24, is a surveyor and plays football at the weekends. "Are you sure these are for men?" he asks, looking in disbelief at a cutting on the subject from American Vogue. "That one is really hideous," he exclaims, singling out the black zip-top faux-Octopus bag from Genius Dilletante. He's less than flattering about some of the others: Jill Stuart's soft- sided plaid bag might have been "made out of a golfer's trousers". All of them are far too dinky to carry a copy of Loaded. The "real man's" natural revulsion for evening accessories also asserts itself in Paul, 22, a student, who contends that everything a man needs, he can keep in his pants: "Men don't really use bags unless they're going to work or away for the weekend. But even if they did, you wouldn't catch me going out with any of these hanging off me. I wouldn't get away with it." But what if he was Jarvis Cocker? "Ah, well, that would be different".

Matthew Sweet

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
booksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Business Anaylst

    £60000 - £75000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: Business Anal...

    Long Term Primary Teacher - Stockport - Start ASAP

    £90 - £135 per day: Randstad Education Manchester Primary: Experienced Primary...

    Science Teacher

    £100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Science Teacher - South Es...

    NQT Secondary Teachers

    £100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education is actively r...

    Day In a Page

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

    US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
    Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
    Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
    Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

    Neil Lawson Baker interview

    ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering