Weekend typewriter foraging

At the very back of a junk/antique shop this half-naked Aqua Darling was hiding in a corner, in its case. I was so excited to find it I forgot to snap a picture… 😀 I only started taking photos when I couldn’t work out what the make was and brought it to the table you see it on in the pictures to find the serial number and decal for detective work later in the day. I misread the decal on the back at first and was puzzled about my Erika 3 find (note to self, wear specs when typewriter hunting). The ribbon cover was missing and the shredded dry silk ribbon was all over the place. I spent a little while respooling & going over the mystery machine and liked it a lot… but the missing cover was a deal breaker. The woman in the shop wanted £35 but said she’d go down to £25. If the ribbon cover hadn’t been missing I might have been tempted, even though the typeface was nothing special. And even though I have a No More Machines policy, or a One In, One Out at the very least. The colour was great. The action was nice. There didn’t seem to be anything wrong with the typewriter that a new ribbon and a good clean wouldn’t fix. The case was in fairly good condition too. I’m guessing this machine is an Optima elite, circa 1958. Fun to find anyway. This particular shop was right opposite a typewriter repair workshop & supplies place in Bexhill – the real reason I was in the area, but I got there too late on Saturday afternoon to buy the ribbons I needed. Next time! The early bird catches the typewriter ribbon.


Reading about Reading

Reading on the beach, St Leonards on Sea, England

in front of a screenIt was glorious weather for April last weekend when I was down on the south coast in East Sussex. I spent a couple of hours on the beach reading about reading, and finding myself feeling a little uncomfortable with the realisation that my own ability to ‘go deep’ into a book has been compromised in the way Birkerts describes. The acceleration to my own fractured attention, even when I am offline, correlates to the moment I invited an iPhone into my life last summer.  The ambivalence I feel toward this device that is now barely ever out of my sight, hearing, or hand often gives me a headache, often elicits a groan of self-reproval. My preferred writing technology is the typewriter, & my preferrence is to read on paper. I struggle now to achieve this as if it were a challenge and not second nature, and I hate to admit it. But I do see how this little device has changed me, and I don’t want this modification, as Birkerts says in his book.

Sven Birkerts interview

Thanks to Richard Polt for bringing Sven Birkerts to my attention via The Gutenberg Elegies, another deeply fascinating and insightful book.