Tel Aviv Pride Parade 2019

Went to the Tel Aviv Pride Parade 2019 with the wonderful Tel Aviv Urban Sketchers group. Met a lot of lovely, joyful people in the crowd, and managed to draw two watercolour sketches before the heat and crowds got to me.

People were so kind with their remarks and the vibe and music was just awesome. Tel Aviv Pride is just one more reason to love my city.

Beautiful, happy people:

Happy Pride day!

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Tel Aviv Pride Parade 2019

In Case of Loss

One of the most iconic things about Moleskines is the “In case of loss, please return to” on the front endpaper. You are supposed to write your name and address on the supplied four lines, together with an enticing, but not too enticing reward. According to Adrienne Raphael this feature of the Moleskine sees little use. If you’re Casey or Van Neistat you label every notebook cover with Whiteout, offering a cash reward.

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I just write my name and email, and with “let’s talk” in the reward line. I started filling the “In case of loss” at first because at the time I could barely afford to buy a Moleksine and they were really difficult to obtain, so I wanted a chance to get them back if I ever misplaced them. Over the years filling these lines has become a habit, a ritual that makes the notebook mine instead of just another notebook. I never thought that I would come in use.

Until last year.

I used my Moleskine to journal during a night flight from London to Tel Aviv. In the rush out of the plane I didn’t notice that I forgot my notebook in my seat pocket, together with my beloved Ti Arto. I got home at around 3 AM after a sleepless night, and crashed to sleep. When I woke up a few hours later and realized that I lost my journal you could hear my howl around the block. I beat myself up and then contacted the airline (the brilliant British Airways), as well as the Ben Gurion and Heathrow lost and found, in the faint hope that someone found my notebook and didn’t toss it out with the garbage.

A few hours later, while I was still mourning my loss, I got an email.

The Customer Service Manager on my flight had found my notebook, saw my email address on the “In case of loss” page, and had emailed me. There are good people in the world, and one of them was the manager on my BA flight.

Two weeks later my journal arrived through the mail, and I nearly cried when I saw it.

You see, when I first filled that from page this wasn’t a special notebook. I had bought it on sale, it wasn’t a favourite limited edition of mine, and I had just randomly selected it from the shelf when I filled my previous Moleskine.

But then I wrote in it.

By the time I lost it the notebook contained memories of my dog, which died two months before, notes from my London trip, ideas for a short story, and a lot of snippets of everyday life. It had become meaningful, irreplaceable.

So when you crack open a new notebook, any new notebook, take a moment to jot down your name and email at least. You may plan on only using it for grocery lists right now, but you never know what the future holds.

In Case of Loss

This Week’s Long Run: Baby Ducks, Baby Geese

First long run in over a month (I count only runs 7k and further as long runs). Set out a bit later than I probably should have, but the heat wasn’t too bad. This sort of mistake is not something that I’ll be able to afford in a few weeks, so I have to start getting used to getting up and out of the house in the pre-dawn again.

The Tel Aviv port almost always has something going on in the summer months, and this week was no different. A local gym chain set up a pop-up outdoor gym, which looked pretty impressive. I might swing by, if only for the experience of working out in this view.

 

I missed seeing the river in the morning: low tide, Egyptian geese, fishermen trying their luck. In the evening the swallows flit between you and any other passer by, but at this time of day they’re gone and even the geese are sleepy.

That is unless you’ve got a family to feed. Mom and dad Egyptian geese kept a close eye on the toddlers as they groused near the bike lane. There are very few bikes around at this hour and the two that passed them were very respectful and gave them a wide berth.

In the water two mallards were taking their family out for a swim. It appears that one of the little ducklings is a little adventurous.

That’s it, another week, another run. It’s good to be back.

This Week’s Long Run: Baby Ducks, Baby Geese

Tactile Turn Aluminium Glider Review

I use a lot of machined pens at work, mostly because they make taking dull meeting notes a bit more fun. Fountain pens just aren’t pragmatic for meeting notes because I have to cap and uncap them every minute or so (and the Pilot Vanishing Point has the most attention grabbing click that you can imagine). Pencils are for real thinking — problem solving, brainstorming, designing — or doodling during long phone calls. So I have a fair amount of non-tactical machined pens, and they see a fair amount of daily use. So of course I’ve reviewed hardly any of them…

The Tactile Turn aluminium Glider is a pen that I bought during the popular Tactile Turn Slider and Glider kickstarter a while back. I’m not a fan of Tactile Turn’s naming convention, as I find it confusing, but I am a fan of everything else about this pen.

I purchased the blue aluminium Glider, which uses Pilot G2 refills and came with a 0.38 Pilot G2 refill, and splurged on a Damascus steel bolt.  The pen is well designed, well balanced, and features a ridged texture that makes it extra grippy. It’s a joy to write with, and although it has some heft it’s still comfortable to use over long periods of time.

The Damascus steel bolt isn’t just pretty, it’s added texture make the bolt mechanism an even better fidget toy than it already is. Click away thoughtfully at meetings to keep yourself awake, or just count the number of rings on the pen to pass the time.

Tactile Turn 2018

The only logo on the pen is very cleverly hidden beneath the formidable clip. The clip, the pen and the anodization have endured well so far after months of daily use. It is worth noting though that this pen doesn’t bash around in my bag like my Big Idea Design pens do.

The Pilot G2 0.38 spattered to its death prematurely (sadly quite common with this refill), so I grabbed a Muji click gel pen with a 0.5 blue black refill (which is a white label Zebra or Uni-Ball refill), cut it to size and I couldn’t be happier with the combo.

There are so many machined pens in recent years, and quite a few of them have bolt mechanisms. The Tactile Turn Glider is so far the best that I’ve tried:

  • The bolt mechanism is smooth and engages easily and only when you want it to.
  • The Glider’s shape and weight make it a good looking pen that’s also usable.
  • The ridges are both functional (providing traction that prevents your fingers from slipping) and add an interesting design element.
  • The clip is industrial grade strong and durable, and the anodization seems to be very durable as well.
  • The Glider is very well priced, making it the perfect introduction to machined pens.

If you are looking to buy just one machined click pen, the Tactile Turn Glider should be it.

Tactile Turn Aluminium Glider Review

Moleskine Bruce Chatwin Songlines Anniversary Limited Edition

In 1987 Bruce Chatwin published “The Songlines”, his classic travel narrative about Australia. In the book he describes his favourite notebooks, moleskines, which he purchased at various Parisian bookstores:

In France, these notebooks are known as carnets moleskines: ‘moleskine’ in this case, being its black oilcloth binding. Each time I went to Paris, I would buy a fresh supply from a papeterie in the Rue de l’Ancienne Comédie. The pages were squared and the end-papers held in place with an elastic band. I had numbered them in series. I wrote my name and address on the front page, offering a reward to the finder. To lose a passport was the least of one’s worries: to lose a notebook was a catastrophe.

In 1995 Maria Sebregondi read this account and decided to try and revive those moleskine notebooks as a brand. She approached a small Italian design company, Modo & Modo, and in 1997 the Moleskine (capital M) came to life.

In 2017 Moleskine came out with a collaboration with Vintage Books that celebrated the 20th anniversary of Moleskine and the 30th anniversary of “The Songlines”. The result is stunning, and perhaps a bit thought provoking.

Moleskine created a version of “The Songlines” that looks like a hardback Moleskine, including the elastic band and the back pocket, and contains the full text of the book, an excerpt from Chatwin’s biography about his trip to Australia, an explanation of what they owe this text and how they see their future, and several blank pages for notes. To this edition they attached a plain, large softcover Moleksine. Not a limited edition Moleskine, just a regular plain softcover Moleskine. We’ll get to that decision later.

The paper band on this edition is phenomenal. There’s no B-side (this came out before Moleskine started to play with the B-side of their paper bands), but it’s extra wide and extra long and embossed so I kept it in the back pocket, as it’s so pretty.

As you can see, “The Songlines” book is considerably thicker than the softcover Moleskine that it comes with. The text is 293 pages long, and together with the biography excerpt it comes to 320 pages long. Then add the blank notes pages and you get a considerably larger “notebook”. It’s still very well bound, with the pages opening flat and the standard Moleksine paper. I wonder if the size of the book made them realize that they can create a Moleskine Expanded. In any case, it’s a really fun book to hold.

On the back cover the paper band explains the history of Moleskine with “The Songlines” and what this edition celebrates.

When you remove the paper band you get two simple looking Moleskines, one embossed with Chatwin’s name, the title of the book and the publisher’s name. The second is a regular plain softcover Moleskine, and in between the two is a cardboard separator with “Enjoy your travel writing” written on it.

Here are the book and the notebook side by side.

The spine of the book, with the Vintage books and Moleskine logo.

The beautiful, beautiful endpapers of “The Songlines” book.

The title page:

At the end of “The Songlines” there’s an explanation of what Moleskine’s history with this book is.

The excerpt from Nicholas Shakespeare’s “Bruce Chatwin” biography:

The notes pages:

And the back end-papers:

This brings me to the peculiar and somewhat thought provoking move of including a plain large softcover Moleskine with this well designed and produced book. To be honest, I was disappointed at first. Why wasn’t this a limited edition with the same colourful end-papers? Why was it a softcover and not a hardcover Moleskine, like the original 1997 notebook?

After giving it some thought and reading “The Songlines” I think I can guess why. This edition is about the book, not so much about lionizing Moleskine as a brand. It’s a tip of the hat to the man to whom which the company owes so much. The notebooks he describes don’t seem to be half as well designed as Moleskines (no rounded pages, no back pocket, no ribbon marker), and they appear to be softcover plain or ruled notebooks. Moleskine brought out their equivalent, and I kind of like the gesture. There’s another, much less quoted moleskine scene in “The Songlines” that I think that this applies to:

‘Nice notebook,’ he said.

‘I used to get them in Paris,’ I said. ‘But now they don’t make them any more.’

‘Paris? he repeated, raising an eyebrow as if he’d never heard anything so pretentious.

Sometimes keeping it simple and being aware and respectful of your inspiration is all that’s required.

Moleskine Bruce Chatwin Songlines Anniversary Limited Edition