Score by the seashore

There’s a big junk shop I often look into on my way down to the beach. I’ve never seen any typewriters in it but I keep on popping in just in case. Yesterday I almost walked right by and I’m glad I didn’t because after a few glances at rugs I don’t need and lamps I don’t have room for, I saw this looking quite forlorn…

I got my post it notes out and typed a test while other junk shop browsers stepped around me. The test was almost totally illegible with the dried out ribbon

And it looked suspiciously like the platen was as hard as a hundred year old chunk of Parmesan. But there was something about this little Good Companion with its funny pepperpot spool nuts. I could take a chance on it – maybe, if it wasn’t too expensive. When I asked, at the front of the shop I braced myself for “eighty quid” or some similar deal-breaking price. But the price was £25. And it had a case lid. I didn’t bother trying to haggle a fiver off the price. I did my late lunchtime reading in the company of a Good Companion on the beach

Even if she was grotty and grimy, and yes, a bit smelly, I was glad to have her with me. I think she was glad to get some fresh air as well.

I cleaned her up, changed the ribbon. De-gunked the typeface. The w lower case has a chunk missing from the typehead.

Close up under a magnifying glass it looks like an impact injury…

But it’s part of the character of the machine. Serial number BZ564 so I think this is a 1933 model.

A nice little laptop typewriter though the carriage return lever is bizarre and at first I assumed there was something loose or broken.

The case needs a new leather covering for the nasty sharp metal strip

And a fair bit of polish and elbow grease is needed on those fixings. But for now I’ll hide the case and leave the Good Companion on my desk (Not insta ready, this is the real state of my desk today)

something I typed outside in the sun.


I wandered into Heffers in Cambridge, ( UK )yesterday. It’s a wonderful bookshop, and it has a second hand section. I picked up a copy of Sugar Paper Blue, by Ruth Fairlight, and this was the first poem I found…

If that platen had been soft, if the poet had used backing sheets, she probably would have written something else…

when thoughts don’t have time for hitting shift

get up close and personal with your typing next time you hit the keys

The title of this post is the first line of a song from an album released in the 1980s … kudos to those who know it without googling it. Great song and its sentiment is truer than ever. I loved that artist. She lifted me up in my angsty years with her stories and cool blues chords…

Have a great day, fellow humans.

Edit: It seems more and more that people whose work you have loved for decades… disappoint you to the point of tears. The internet reveals the ugly things people say quicker than the blink of an eye.