ostensibly i suppose this post shall, look you see, be one of them "nostalgia" ones. a whole lot of sentimental hygiene, lament, self-wallowing too perhaps. the intention, to be sure, would be to punctuate all this with the odd element of general interest, so hopefully you stick around. which is an odd thing to say as i feel like sometimes more often than not i suggest departure for another corner of the internet.
so, then, once more i have been retrieving items from all the boxed up packaging and that many of my possessions, or if you like worldly goods, remain. indeed, yes, surely i should have unpacked all of it by now, for it has been some time since we crossed the seas. true, yes, quite. but also there is little sense in unpacking things one is not going to use when they are safe and rather out of the way when stored.
every now and then, however, one gets an itch that you simply must scratch to satisfaction. it would seem though i have been affected by such a sensation more than once of late, for reasons i am either unsure of or simply do not wish to delve into.
above isn't so much the point of this post as it is. the mighty fine penknives you see (for there are two if you look closely) are ones my Dad bought me on his travels, both i believe coming off of Switzerland. so they are them "Swiss army knives", i suppose. my understanding would be that i am not permitted to walk the streets of England with these, for if you are caught carrying a blade by the constabulary then a custodial spell and criminal sentence, if not in that order, shall be yours.
normally i would not draw attention to CDs in the background, but the soundtrack for Something Wild is of interest. on the down side the version of Ever Fallen In Love by the Fine Young Cannibals is the standard one and not the boss, accelerated mix they used in the film. conversely this CD features a mix of Temptation by New Order that i've not found anywhere else.
ultimately the point of the picture above is the new plug. strangely i am finding few stores here in England now sell plugs off the shelf. i was, however - at what i feel to be a rather exorbitant £1.99 - able to find this splendid, orange "heavy duty" one.
some optimism was central to the purchase of this most splendid plug. the purchase was made with every intention of attaching, for reasons we will surely see and look at out of interest, it to the item in this rather large (CD boxes for scale and because i did not tidy them up), brown covered box like thing.
what precisely, or even generally if you are not too interested i suppose, is in this box like packaging? accepting that we are all not supposed to be materialistic and that in this world, defiantly i say it is one of my most beloved, treasured and indeed prized possessions.
yes, indeed, a typewriter. my typewriter if you so wish. to be specific, although i would think you can make this out by yourself, it is an Olivetti ET 1250 MD typewriter, proudly showcased as a compact professional typewriter.
the ever important provenance of this typewriter, before we look at it in more detail? a very thoughtful, inspired and forever greatly appreciated gift on the occasion of my 21st birthday from my parents, or if you like my Mum & Dad. bought mostly, you would think, from their knowledge of my love of writing, but partially of course from the fact that my handwriting was, is and always shall be, absolutely terrible.
indeed yes, then, that means that this typewriter is, in the words of Brett Anderson out of Suede in the song Animal Nitrate, over 21 itself. does this make it vintage? well, probably not, but a quick Google search suggests you could not buy one of these in the here and now with any ease. not that everything in this world lives or dies by its presence on the internet.
if for some reason you are here looking for the specifications of an Olivetti ET 1250 MD typewriter, there is what is on the side of the box. a box, and as shall be noted shortly packaging, i have kept and preserved reasonably well. i had to, really. other than wishing to look after it, this typewriter moved with me from Johannesburg to Cape Town and back, and has since moved with me home back to England land.
the main question, relating to the latter part in some sense, is would this typewriter still work? yes i had looked after it and yes it had survived shipping by sea, where it deftly avoided being attacked by Somali pirates or sharks. but it hadn't been plugged in for some 15 or so years; resigned to being safely stored away when i got one of them printer things for a computer.
should for some reason you wish to see the packaging, and we might as well since i have added the picture now anyway, here you go.
yes, true, a good part or aspect of the reason for me keeping the typewriter packaging is that i am something of a hoarder. well, as with all hoarders i suppose i retain stuff for you "never know" when you might need it. in this instance it would seem i was proved correct, though, no?
a pressing question in taking out the typewriter would be whether or not it would still work. would she power up? would the ink i have be not dried out and able to use? one way to find out. although leaving it in storage would have allowed for the blessed relief, delight and satisfaction of a Schrödinger's cat like scenario. should i have left it in packaging, then surely depending on my mood i could have simply assumed it was in working order or it was not to be no more.
of course, in this step by step thing, we now get to have a look at the typewriter taken out of the packaging. and indeed placed on a rudimentary table of sorts to see.
there was indeed a most splendid smile and audible laugh as i took it out. i had forgotten that i had beautified my typewriter with stickers. perhaps it is unlikely that any clarification is required, but yes, indeed they are stickers promoting in a visual sense three great things - Teletubbies, Jurassic Shed (i know Park but when you think about it all of the interesting stuff in the film happened in a shed) and South Park. thankfully i had retained the instruction book for the typewriter, for i needed some refresher memory in how to operate key features.
what did i write (or type) on this typewriter? all sorts, really. my first (and only) novel (i don't recall the name, i am not sure where a copy of it is and no it didn't get published as i was very lazy with the redrafting, to the disappointment of an interested publisher), essays, correspondence to several embassies, inner cards for tapes, labels for video cassettes, poems, etc. mostly, however, i guess i wrote (typed) letters.
i was, once, a prolific letter writer and sender. friends and family all around the world. my evenings, by and large, were all about the stereo or radio on and typing. yes, i bitterly and certainly regret that this is no more. sure, in part life has got in the way, but mostly few if any read or write letters any more. electronic means of communications means that we all suffer or are enslaved by quick, simple disposable messages.
that there above was one wall which stood above where my typewriter was. Cape Town, i think, but perhaps i am mistaken. images and sources of inspiration, i suppose. yes, a lot of The Stone Roses, an attempt at domination by Scarface, and the inevitable nod towards Middlesbrough Football Club. pretty much like every wall above every typewriter in the world, once, maybe.
my view would be that the "me" in the letters i typed out was always a far more better, more interesting and considerably superior someone to know than me in real life. not that i ever pretended to be anything that i was not in letters; i was simply able to convey it all better, i guess. a general amnesty, then, to see if it in part slowly puts my soul to peace. i am sorry, truly, to virtually everyone that i ever typed a letter to who knew or met me in the real world and they were most disappointed and frustrated that the person behind the letters could not always be the person of the letters.
and so anyway, progression in seeing if this typewriter still worked. in order to do so it was necessary to change the plug on it. this was referenced earlier, right at the start as point of fact, but a reminder may well be appropriate if not apt. i knew, look you see, that a South African plug would be on it and that i would need to (and please note i did not explicitly state superior) replace it with an English one.
why do plugs have a different size, shape and layout around the world? few, if any, countries share the exact same style. the answer is a relatively simple one of practicality. when electricity was being discovered or invented, and plugs were developed to enable the use of it there was no quick, fast and easy way to share drawings and diagrams. the international leccy boffins could share important safety information via telegrams and what have you, but the nature of the plug and the requisite three pins (earth, live and ground i think) was left to each country alone to come up with. people around the world weren't going to wait for the boat to come in with drawings when they could just knock up prototype plugs themselves based on the knowledge they had.
and so to the business end, one which you may well have already scrolled down and had a look at. perhaps after you have done so you exited this web section and are not reading this, which makes it a shame that i am taking the time to write it.
questions, then. had i put the plug on correctly? would she fire up? were any or all or none of the ink cartridges i had going to still be functional? had the 31,000 character memory survived? answers all, if you are in a rush, all point towards yes. yes, i am delighted to say.
woo hoo, working! there was indeed a thrill, maybe more reminiscent than anything, when i saw she lit up in what seemed to be perfect working order. it was, in the understatement sense of the word, good to see and hear something that was all once what i experienced on virtually a daily basis.made very well, durable and to last, then, these Olivetti typewriters. if i may be so bold, storing them and looking after them proper helps too, somewhat.
right, ok, yes, so the arguably most important aspect was established, possibly in defiance of the theoretical pleasures to be drawn from that whole Schrödinger's cat frame of reference made above. in a worst case, then, i had a working typewriter upon which i may once again arrange to scribe if i was so inclined. the best case would be that the ink worked and that the memory remained, although the latter sounds like a quasi correct Metallica quote.
the fastest test of both was to simply load the paper up into the typewriter, "refresh" my memory on how one got stuff out of the memory, press print and see what happened. this photo of a list of things that i had stored in the memory showed that i was not to be too disappointed, then. well not so much.
goodness me yes, there was and is some reluctance in showing the above. it feels like i am revealing more than i would care to. but, that's awfully presumptuous of me to assume that anyone would care or be so nosey as to look at my personal things, and anyway they are just file names. as interesting as some of the file names are i guess. if lurking around in my past trying to find things makes your future more interesting, knock yourself out i suppose.
it was, overall, thrilling to see that the ink worked and the memory had been retained. sadness, too, however. there are certain things gone, probably deleted by me. well, that 31,000 character memory is finite, and in real terms is probably only about 4KB - just about the size memory you found in an Atari 2600 cartridge. i think at least. sadly, then, one of the things deleted was a play - more of a Rock Opera, i suppose - i once composed about David Lee Roth being declared emperor, and grand high priest, of metal. Spiros said it was the greatest ever play what was ever written and that he would "bust the ass" in court of anyone who dared disagree.
rather strangely, for someone with precisely zero musical talent or ability (although i would like to think taste at the least), that was the second Rock Opera i was involved in writing. the first, some time before the typewriter, was a boss one i did with my mate Woodsie. the name of it and much of the content escapes me, but it was all about a bloke that worked in one of them railway station signal box things, and his efforts to extract money whilst pretending to be on the sick with a bad back. we based this on a real life case of someone in that role saying they were doing this, when me and Woodsie approach the signal box to use the telephone due to a distressed (as in not working) car. there was not really such a thing as mobile phones then.
yes, that there is a picture of me at my typewriter, all before the beard and whilst wearing a most splendid Reservoir Dogs t-shirt. all my ones of The Stone Roses must have been in the wash or something. a rare picture, perhaps, as so far as i am aware this is the only picture of me what i have that shows me at my typewriter. every day i look at the world through my window, etc. this could be me just naturally assuming, expecting and seeing the worst of me, but i don't seem to appear all too thrilled to be disturbed from my scribe. i never really was open to the idea of being interrupted as i typed, and am still not. unless it is disturbance of furtherance of cigarettes, coffee and/or a change of vibes.
sadly my vibes unit does not seem to be too visible here, although the eagle eyed or studious will have clocked the aerial. it was a boss JVC tape and CD deck; one that my sister got for me one Christmas towards the business end of the 90s. if the business end is the middle to late part. normally any new stereo equipment i get has something very specific played on it first. to honour and remember a very dear friend that would be Waltzinblack by The Stranglers. with this stereo, no. at the same time, and this will probably tell you what Christmas or year this was, i got the debut album off of Black Grape, It's Great When You're Straight....Yeah, so that got played first. the first music it played, then, was the intro to Reverend Black Grape, as i am certain that's the first track on the album.
for those of you using a device and/or browser which allows you to play video off of this blog, here you go, a treat of sorts - a few seconds of video of the typewriter printing something from memory. after a few experiments and reading the book to see how to do that.
what's printing? a rewrite i did of Candle In The Wind in honour of Falco, Austria's second best ever pop star, who sadly passed away in an accident in 1998. many of you will, i speculate, recall that rewriting Candle In The Wind was the fashionable way to honour the noted deceased in the latter 90s. the equivalent today is, i suppose, mumbling something on that Twitter thing.
i did indeed write to the Austrian ambassador of the country i was in at that time, expressing sadness and sorrow that Falco had passed away. an image of that letter being printed from memory is in the last image for this particular blog post, coming up shortly.
so, the typewriter is out, it works, it functions and can be used. now what. i am not sure. ostensibly i wanted it out for a specific purpose; a project i am undertaking for which i thought some photographs of this would be quite nice for.
after i have done that, i remain uncertain. perhaps i should write on it once more? who knows. it could be done for a laugh, for old time's sake. maybe it will remind me of all good that some might say i once was, could let me be that person once again. the medium which you communicate through does much to dictate your mood. well, it does for me.
earlier i mentioned that i had conducted some preliminary investigation across the web via the conduit of Google. whereas it seems one cannot purchase this typewriter the ink cartridges are accessible. certain places would seek to charge south of £4 for them, whereas others look towards a cost north of £17 for the same. were i to resume using this typewriter on a regular basis, then, should the whole device hold out then it is sustainable in the least in terms of getting the requisite ink.
why do this? i mean why go to all the effort of writing this, with pretty pictures et all, and share it when it could all be described as private? not sure. for some reason many, many of you come and read all that i put here, and so instinct carried me through to write this. perhaps it all comes from that hit and hope, shot in the dark sense that someone who once knew me sees it and is kind when they recall me. or maybe it's just interesting.
let me not worry so much about that last aspect and simply press on. on with things to do, etc.
for whatever reason you did so, know that you have my thanks for stopping by and reading.
be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!