Sunday, 21 February 2010

little things that matter

There are, as I've mentioned, certain small things that help make our lives easier - or, indeed, more pleasurable.  Recently starting a blog has helped me start making sense of the noises in my head - no, I'm no madder than anyone else, but it's good to have a reason to write, even if there's not really anyone much out there listening/reading.  At this point I should thank all those who do read and make comments - that's where the real pleasure comes in.  I do wonder how some people find these blogs without being told.  Maybe I'm just naive.

I consider writing like this an opportunity to write about things I care about and if fellow travellers join in, then all the better.  It also allows me to reach out and join discussions and try to join in with some of our more academically-minded (gifted?) friends.

Anyway, to the point of tonight's blog.  The photo is of three of my favourite small things.

The Moleskine notebook:

I was aware of Bruce Chatwin's penchant for these fellows and I'm so glad they were rescued by whoever bought up the name and products (an Italian company).  I use them extensively now as my notebook.  As a (very)amateur songmaker and (very, very) amateur sketcher I carry one of these around with me wherever I go.  It means that if I enter a pub or am out wandering around and need to sit down; if a passing fancy requires me to jot down a few words of doggerel or, indeed, scribble a quick sketch of a mountain I'm looking at, then I always have a notebook to hand.  If you have read a previous posting about songwriting then it is obviously important for me to have a notebook handy by the bed (and you if you're of that persuasion).  I use the black, hard-back edition with an elastic band bound in to hold it together.  I also have many of the thin ones in various pockets and in various amounts of usage - some are full of song ideas, others small sketches.  When I was off  "ill" the other year, I found it essential to carry one around with me to keep a note of my thoughts.

The Pocket-mod:

The little calender you can see is a "pocket-mod".  A wondrous invention - a sort of origami Action Man's diary.  It's a sheet of A4 that is printed off with essential notes/useful templates that act as a form of pocket organiser.  Mine includes a page of guitar tab (in case I come up with a killer riff) and various "To do" task pages.  I carry mine around as well as a Moleskine so I can record messages/ideas and contact details.  Oh, and killer riffs of course.  Find it on

Rotring Artpen:

For many years I have dithered about with Staedtler and Rotring pens (and pencils - another story for another time).  Usually I have used their cheaper pens as my ancient Rotring Rapidograph and I never got on.  Earlier this week we parted company as I managed to break the ink reservoir on it (it was over 30 years old).  However, the Fine-pointed Artpen is a magnificent beast.  Already it feels natural to hold and write/draw with.  Most of my sketches tend to be of mountains or trees. Maybe in a month or two I'll post a few sketches just to see how I'm getting on with it.

Then again, maybe not.


Mike C. said...

I like Moleskines, too, especially the A5 plain notebook, but: why (oh why) do they perforate the pages of the second half of their smaller "cahiers"? It's madness, unless maybe you're in the habit of giving away / selling your random thoughts and shopping lists.

I have also liked Rotrings, but these days prefer those pigment ink fiber tip pens that come in packs of different line widths (Staedtler and Aristo do good ones). I don't know about you, but I've found Moleskine paper just a little too absorbent to cope with "real" ink -- too much show through (though I'm in the habit of only writing on the right hand pages).

Ah, stationery... I can settle down with an art supplies catalogue as happily as a teenager with a copy of Hustler...


Dave Leeke said...

I've been using the Staedtler pack of pigment fineliners(0.1 - 0.7) since I bought it in France a few years back. I also like their Triplus "mobile office" pack which I always have with me at school. I can instantly whip out a highlighter or fineliner whenever they're required. I like the fact they come in a stand-up box too.

As for the Moleskine/Rotring ink problem, I have yet to try my Artpen out in the notebook.

I also only write on the right hand pages. It seems natural.