I started at the Greymouth Evening Star in New Zealand as a cadet reporter on Monday, December 13, 1965. My first office typewriter was an old Imperial banger someone had dug out of the storeroom and dusted off for me.
Three months later I owned my own Olivetti Lettera 32, and I thought I was just the bee's knees.
I have to admit I was tempted today to think the same of my newspaper career: "Where did it all go wrong?"
After all, it seemed to get off to such a promising start (the letter-writer in the first instance was Roger Allebone, the ABC foreign correspondent who worked as a freelance in San Francisco):
But there have been some very interesting times and many memorable assignments. I suppose there's got to be a book in it, somewhere (These Pat Campbell illustrations, by the way, used to appear with my column in The Canberra Times, which often sing the praises of typewriting).
I carried that Lettera 32 around Australia, through Ireland (where rugby players, smarting at my criticism, were prone to take it apart and send it out on airport luggage carousels in several parts), across Europe, to exciting and exotic places from Fiji to Tahiti, Panama to Barbados, Egypt and Morocco, and back to The Land Down Under once more. It was stolen out of my bright yellow Triumph Spitfire in Dublin, but returned by the Garda Síochána from fences in Meath. Once, at Twickenham rugby stadium in London, I was so late filing my copy they locked the joint up with me still inside. I had to scale a 20-foot high iron gate to get out, but happily my Lettera 32 was thin enough to squeeze through the railings. Believe me, there were many times when I had reason to thank this finest working tool of all.
Highlights would include covering Olympic Games in Seoul (where Brother supplied hundreds of orange 310s) and Sydney:
OK, I confess, it's an NECEven in the late 1980s I was still using an Imperial in my home office:
For the first 38 years of my career, I was a sports writer. But I also wrote about popular music: