Sunday, 9 October 2011

Clack Clack Clack Ding

It had its own hardshell case, the base of which it was permanently attached to, and a handle so that you could carry it around like a misshapen briefcase. It was a child-friendly size but still had serious heft and weight to it (which meant that you weren't going to carry it around very far). It sat in the bedroom and, despite being loved, it was infrequently used. It was my junior typewriter and the sound it made was music to my ears.

Of course, the digital age is a wonderful thing with its ability to instantly provide those wordy sentence type of things to an at least mildly curious audience. There was something, satisfying, however, about the force of effort needed to push the little letters towards the ink-filled ribbon and spear that little inky character down on to the unsuspecting paper. The machine had its little quirks too that were equal parts endearing and frustrating. When you pressed the "j" key, it would usually bring up the "k" as well and the two would then engage in a race to see who made it to the inky ribbon first. The "s" key was ever so slightly misaligned so always appeared on the page just a tiny fraction lower than the other letters. This was more than made up for by the noise of the thing.

The clack of the keys as the letters whizzed up and down, the ding of the bell as you reached the end of the line, the whir of the roller as you pulled a sheet of paper out. All these things made you feel like an old-fashioned reporter in an old-fashioned film who's just about to yell out "Stop the presses!"

As with many a childhood gift which is the result of much pestering on the child's part, it wasn't used anywhere as much as it should have been (which I'm sure drove the parents mad after they'd shelled out for the thing). In my slight defence, I suffered then from something which still affects me now - fear of a blank page. The will to write is strong but, when faced with the prospect of actually committing ink to page / screen, sometimes the blank page comes out on top.

Underused it may have been but my typewriter was still cherished. As much as my trusty and much-used pen and notebooks are these days.

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