She said, he said, they all said…

What the ad said. The inference is clear
As you can see, the sentiment remains the same. Sexism in and of itself does not require exact quotes “all of the time, every time.”

What I want every person to remember about Shere Hite is not the paraphrasing of an undeniably sexist ad campaign, but the monumental body of work she completed over her lifetime which allowed women ( and by extension the people those women chose to have sex with) all over the world to have nicer, better, more enjoyable and satisfying sex lives. She changed things up, for the better, by first giving women a voice through her work, helping to eradicate shame and embarrassment about something perfectly normal and healthy. She opened up the idea that we could redefine what sex meant to us through our own diverse desires. The questionnaire she initially sent out in the early seventies seems out of date in places where it centres on heterosexual relationships and marriage, but you have to allow that as a given, most people would not talk openly about sex, or name the parts of their bodies or even necessarily know their bodies in intimate detail at the time. However, if you take a look at the questionnaire it is still incredibly relevant in 2020. I took the time to type up all the questions relevant to me, and answered them in full. The penultimate question says, “Is there anything on your mind you would like to speak about which was left untouched by the questionnaire? If so, please add it here.” Whenever the opportunity to re-evaluate comes along, I say take it, and don’t worry how long you take. Thank you, Shere Hite. Sisters are still doing it for themselves.

Shere Hite

Typed on Olympia SM2

Shere Hite, writer, sex researcher, legend. Obituary in the guardian well worth a read. Disappointing that her work is so hard to get hold of in hard copy at the moment but digital formats are available. The free sample of The Hite Report available on the Apple Books app includes the questionnaire used for The Hite Report in full.

Shere Hite modelled for an ad campaign by Olivetti. The strapline was, “The typewriter that’s so smart she doesn’t have to be” She was not impressed. I’m not including a copy of that picture here, for two reasons: I can’t find it, and I wouldn’t anyway. We can all be intelligent enough to hug our own Olivettis these days.

All lit up

My copy of Backspaces arrived this morning and I’m so excited. I can’t wait to read all the contributions – a whole book of stories about time-travel written entirely on typewriters? Still pinching myself ( Many many many thanks to everyone who made this project happen). Here it is with the Underwood I used to type my story on. Ok, got to go and put the kettle on and read now!

The revolution (in publishing) will be typewritten.

Mystery box

We saw this nice old box left out on the street. Since it had a sturdy handle and looked like it would make a nice box for storing LPs in, we took it home.

The handle is also the closing mechanism, the sections of the box are secured by tongue and groove along the top edges

Wow! No way you can store LPs in this box unless you rip out all the original features. And we don’t want to do that! The most interesting detail for me is the printed instruction on how to operate the telephone this box once held. Such a shame only the box remains and in a pretty parlous state of repair ( the front section was coming adrift and we glued that back together straight away) .

Is this where the phrase “get on the blower” comes from?
There are some faint pencilled additions to the diagram here and there

We both searched for information about the telephone itself, and neither of us could find anything that resembled this set up. The box will get a thorough but gentle clean. It looks like it’s been home to a few mice at some point.

It’s the little springs

An Underwood Universal I had the pleasure of dusting and investigating over the weekend
One dodgy and loose key
Culprit: missing spring

No matter how much I fiddled and twiddled I could not get the spring back into place. As it wasn’t my machine, and I had very limited time, I secured the spring to the return lever with a bit of fuse wire for future repair. I revitalised the ribbon with WD40 and typed out the details of two repair people I could confidently recommend. Then I made a quick type sample for the database.

The ribbon was super dry so I was surprised that it managed to come back to life even a little bit!
Lovely green shift lock key