It doesn't take much to drag Mike to another epicentre of enthusiastic excess. Here he explores the London Writing Instrument Show.
It’s no secret that I have a thing about typewriters. I spent most of my working life , including my early years as a journalist, clattering away on old Underwoods, Royals and Imperials. I remember the fun of rubbing out mistakes with a special extra-abrasive eraser, later made redundant by messy white Tipp-Ex liquid. In contrast to that nostalgic mechanical clattery, today’s near-silent, micro-throw keyboards are a boring lot.
Dear Reader - The other day I read a little piece by Derwent May on email etiquette. This is a subject that has troubled me for a long time. As we make more and more use of emails, both business and personal, the angst of knowing how to lay them out gets greater. Hi, Dear, Yo and others vie for the salutation while we have a wide choice of sign offs, including Regards, Kind Regards, Good Wishes, Speak Later, Yrs, Mxx, luv and a dozen others. There is simply no accepted fixed rule that really would be useful.
Over time I download and install many helpful utilities to my Mac. Some I completely forget about them and fall into the trap of believing that their behind-the-scenes benevolence is actually something built in to OS X.
In my opinion the Parker 51 is the iconic fountain pen of the twentieth century. Its sleek design and sheer ability contrives to make it timeless. It looks as at home in 2015 as it did in 1955; and it writes just as well now as before.
A few weeks ago I described how I had been reunited with the Parker "51", the legendary fountain pen which I had coveted and scrimped and saved for as a callow youth. The pen I bought late last year, almost a perfect replacement for my first 1959 model, has been a true inspiration and has encouraged me to practice writing every day.
So the spooks of Germany's Bundesnachrichtendientst (don't you just love that language?) are giving up their hackable and wormable computers for good old fashioned typewriters. The standard Bundesnachrichtendienstbeamtersschreibmaschine¹ (more respect for the German language....) will henceforth grace every secure desk as Merkelland fights a rearguard action against the perfidious NSA.