Wednesday, 26 September 2012

A Tale

Everything has a story. Even, it would seem, inanimate objects. A story within a story writer.

Shadow letters on the ribbon.

Running my fingers along, peering closely, through squinted lids for possible letters, a familiar combination, perhaps a single startling word; clues of who and what and when. I yearn for a glimpse of a writer past.

It is a child's typewriter from the 50's and I smile as I unwind the long, dry ribbon (which smells faintly of comforting old books) for there in the middle is a long, wound about tangle. Pondering, I conjure up mother or father, a grandparent or a dear much- loved aunt, who half sighs half smiles, rolls their eyes and with a mock groan they free it once more for the eager type typer.

And once more and once more again I am reminded of the reasons we feel the draw of 'Vintage'. It is not, as a derisory comment once thrown my way, a load of smelly, old, secondhand tat. It is a reminding presence, an anchor point for a time not necessarily better but certainly instrumental and it tells us it's tale. We are not better, we are merely the step before.

Our Kindles and smart phones, our tablets and texting will make room for something new, newer, newest and the process will rush along in its unstoppable way, until one afternoon, a child will laugh and wonder why we ever held a lump of plastic and tech to our heads, passing on our news; departing and arrival times; our invites and announcements.

Watching the small folk, when we were gifted a round dial telephone, I marvel at all we have seen, in all but a blip of time line. The telephone of Tomorrow's World rests in my hand. My children try to locate the touch screen, hold the mouth piece to their ears and lose their place in a phone number, before starting the long dialling process once more.

I like the solidity of objects that worked with a machine-like clunk. I like an object that I can pull apart and with common sense and a screw driver, fix. I like an object whose usability is singular, elegantly simple and defining. I don't need my type writer to call my mother. I don't want my Singer to play Mack the Knife.

Neither a Luddite nor a traditionalist; Technology and progression are necessary and wondrous. But I will defend and prize any object happy to be fearlessly what it is and be good at it!

1 comment:

Toffeeapple said...

The happy days of owning a typewriter, of knowing that you were part of an élite society who could not only type quickly without out referring to the keyboard, but could also write and decipher Pitman's Shorthand. Enjoy your little machine.

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