Wednesday, July 31, 2013

They're everywhere!

In the London borough of Islington, in your typical Persian-Ethiopian-Cypriot-Vietnamese neighborhood ...

... there's an office above a print shop, full of glorious clutter ...

... with text-producing machines from the early 20th century to the early 21st lurking everywhere ... 

 ... and Jim Pennington is in the midst of them.

 Jim came to London type-ins no. 2 and no. 3 a few days ago. I thought the least I could do was pay him a visit at his digs in return. It was well worth it.

Jim's Imperial 70 was a new experience for me -- these just don't exist in the States -- and it has a very unusual character ... 

... which lends itself to some creative poetry by Jim: 

Under a dust cover was hiding a British Oliver no. 9. Jim had attached the carriage using string especially made for Maltese hunters to tie to the leg of a decoy bird. Of course!

This ultra-wide-carriage Olympia SM3 with sub-elite type ...

... may make it possible for Jim to type "Howl" on a single line.

 ... And when he talks about the Beats, he knows what he's talking about. Yesterday I picked up this copy of Naked Lunch ...

... and today I found out that Jim actually met Burroughs on more than one occasion, and printed a collection of his stories!

Other typewriters in Jim's office include a French-Swiss-keyboard Remington Noiseless Portable, the Arabic Optima and Smith-Corona Clipper shown in my previous post ...

... two Glasgow-made Olivetti Lexikon 80's ...

... and an Italian-made Lexikon 80E.

I've been jealous of Ryan Adney's 80E and was excited to have a go at this one. 

It makes a racket when the carriage returns and needs some other work too, but you can tell that when working 100% it is a very fast, very easy typewriter. I'm impressed.

Thanks, Jim, for a great visit.

After Jim's, I decided on a whim to visit the British Library.

What do I find in the gift shop, paces away from the Magna Carta, a Gutenberg Bible, and Leonardo manuscripts?

Adler no. 7

A Kolibri just like mine!

ca. 1930 Underwood portable

Olympia SM8 next to I Could Pee on This

Remington Quiet-Riter

I think it's great not only that typewriters are recognized as cool props for a library shop, but also that they have to be protected from curious fingers by being kept in plexiglas cases or marked "Please do not touch." Our favorite machines have magnetic power.

Monday, July 29, 2013

London type-in no. 3

Today's third London Type-In was a success, with four maniacs in attendance:
yours truly, Adriana Chua from Singapore (who got the ball rolling on this meeting),
Bikethru, and Jim Pennington. 

Adriana brought a folding Corona in great shape which she used to write a letter. There's a group of 14 Singaporean typewriter collectors who have a letter-writing club. Singapore is unusual in having a relatively large number of typewriter collectors per capita and in the fact that they're almost all women.

Jim brought a Smith-Corona Clipper this time to take the minutes.

He also brought an Arabic Optima that he found on the street in Alexandria some time ago.
Yes, it types proportionally, like my Arabic typewriters.

Adriana made a discovery:

Bikethru has a commentary on his story from yesterday.

And the minutes. 

I actually did receive some apologies from typewriter artist Keira Rathbone, who has been very busy
and unable to make the long trip to these type-ins.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

London type-in no. 2






Story by Bike:

 Photos by Piotr:

Minutes by Jim
(who was ready with carbon paper so we could all have copies):

"Hash tag in the urinal"? Yes, some supposedly Normal Person was texting in the loo.

Tomorrow's type-in is also at a pub. I'm going to stagger out of England as a typing drunkard. Cheers!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

London miscellany and “Populaire” review

London: a twenty-first-century city haunted by many ghosts ...

... including the ghosts of typewriters ...

(seen in a Soho storefront)

Modern architecture in London includes some winners and losers. The Shard (left, finished thought it looks unfinished) is the city's highest building, currently mostly empty.

One place where 21st-century architecture is particularly on view is the south side of the Thames. This composite panorama shows both sides of the river, photographed from the Millennium Bridge, a pedestrian bridge. (Click to enlarge, but it's still not very big. If you want the really big size, e-mail me with a request.)

In the evening, the Thames can be magical.

This morning I went to the famous Portobello Road, which is a good place for antiques on Saturday mornings (get there before 10 to avoid the worst crowds). The scene below is more impressive when you realize that each entrance leads not to just one shop, but to an arcade or gallery holding a variety of booths, sometimes on several levels -- an intricate warren of vendors.

Items for sale include lots of glass, porcelain, books, and cameras:

Typewriters? Not so much, although this gentleman was selling two Good Companions for a stiff £125 apiece.

Other sightings included a Petite toy, an understroke Remington (probably no. 6 or 7), a Royal 10, and a Scheidegger Princess-Matic like mine.

And now the movie review:

The Cincy Typing Challenge this month marked the 125th anniversary of a legendary contest in Cincinnati that pitted Frank McGurrin (Remington 2) against Louis Traub (Caligraph). McGurrin's victory proved the advantages of having a shift key. The event included a typewriter display with machines from Herman Price's collection, my collection, and WordPlay; showings of "The Typewriter (In the 21st Century)"; and contests on typewriters, computers, phones, and the new TrewGrip mobile QWERTY keyboard, whose makers sponsored the contest.