...yes, it's a strange addiction.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Feeding the Addiction: Recent Sightings

Well, it's been a little over a month since I started this blog, and I'm still under construction here. I really need to get myself in gear.

And speaking of gear....

I'm always on the look-out for interesting examples of notebooks, fountain pens, organizers, etc - especially in movies and TV shows. And lately, I've had a lot of sightings. Probably helps that I watch a lot of older movies and "classic" TV shows - those made back before Blackberries and other electronic gadgets became so popular. Last night the hubby and I watched one of the Inspector Alleyn mysteries on DVD - A Man Lay Dead from 1993 - and there were several very enjoyable (dare I say exciting?) "supply cabinet" moments:
  • Inspector Alleyn's fountain pen. He's signing off on police files with it, in his first scene. Couldn't tell exactly what model or make it was, but it was hefty and black. Most likely a Parker pen. The series is set just after World War Two, so it would have been pre-1950s vintage. The Brits are, after all, pretty fastidious about prop details in their shows.

  • Troy's sketchbook. A gift from Alleyn to his lady friend, the artist Agatha Troy. It's a lovely one, with a marbleized cover in pink and gold tones, with what appeared to be a leather-wrapped spine and corners. And, of course, her sketches in said book helped solve the case.

  • The two mysterious Germans and their notebooks. They're observed comparing notes while sitting at an outdoor cafe (or pub, I suppose). One had a small soft-covered book that was almost certainly a pocket-size Alwych notebook. The other had a larger, thinner black-covered book, approximately A5 size. Looked a little like a Moleskine, but without the rounded corners. Have there been Moleskines with square edges? And were Moleskines the notebook of choice for the Cold War era espionage community, too?

  • Inspector Alleyn's leather notebook. Most noticeable during the questioning of the guests at the country house where the murders were taking place. Tan leather, again looked to be approximately A5 size. No clasp. Couldn't tell about ring size or placement. Possibly an early Filofax?

  • Leather address book. Sighted briefly in a couple of scenes when Troy was searching the apartment of one of the suspects. Flat, square or rectangular, black covered, white interior pages. Couldn't tell much more about it, but I like to think it was a Letts.

Other recent sightings:

The Vicar of Dibley. Not sure which episode this was. At a meeting of the Parish Council, Geraldine has to consult her Filofax at length. Looks to be a personal size Filo, black, mid-1990s vintage.

Seinfeld. "The Pilot" (2), Season 4, Episode 24. Studio exec Russell Dalrymple (played by Bob Balaban), at the taping of Jerry's TV show, is seen toting what appears to be an A5-size Filofax. Beautifully overstuffed.

The Ninth Gate. In his attractively weather-beaten book bag (which I'm told is a reproduction of a 1930s-vintage French ammo bag), Johnny Depp carries around a very nice leather organizer (below). This one also looks to be approximately A5 size. Tan or brown leather, and no clasp that I could see. Wonderful movie, and not just because of the book bag and the notebook.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

So What's This All About?

Ever since I can remember, I've been fascinated with office supplies. Not just pens and pencils and paperclips. I love paper and notebooks of all kinds. Diaries, journals, and calendars. Account books and ledgers. Rulers, erasers, staplers. Notepads, sketchpads, scrapbooks, file folders, scissors, letter openers, pencil sharpeners and glue. If it can be written on, written with, or used to produce, enhance, or store writing, I'm a fan. I surf Flickr, looking for photos of Filofaxes, well-appointed desks, and eye-catching stationery. I peruse the Levenger's catalog like some gardeners study Burpee's annual. I can very happily spend the afternoon just wandering the aisles of our local Staples store, or lose track of time in the office supply section of Wal-Mart or Target.

Fortunately, I'm married to a man who shares my fetish to some extent. Years ago, during a move from Austin TX to Baltimore MD, the moving company managed to lose several of our large packing crates. Very sad - gone were some of our favorite clothing, my collection of 45 rpm records (including much original Elvis and Jerry Lee), and most of my jewelry. But the thing we mourned the most was that box of cherished office supplies that never made it to its new destination! All our writing equipment, Scotch tape, and Liquid Paper - LOST. Probably delivered to someone who wouldn't appreciate it nearly as much as we had. Or worse - piled in a storehouse somewhere along the way, never to be unwrapped again. Sad, scary thought.

OK, you can see I'm obsessed with "supplies." I guess it all started with that first list of school supplies back in the First Grade, and just grew from there. I remember being so excited at the end of every summer vacation when my mother would take The List (and me) out shopping for a new stash of pencils, tablets or notebooks, construction paper and crayons. I was thrilled and just couldn't wait to use the new STUFF. Now that I think about it, that may have been one of the reasons I always loved going to school! School supplies made me literate!

So I've decided to start a blog devoted to my obsession (I already have a book blog, devoted to my other obsession). I haven't quite figured out exactly what shape it's going to take, or what sort of posts I'll come up with. That will all emerge over time. So stay tuned - more to come.