I am inspired by Ted Munk's To Type, Shoot Straight and Speak the Truth blog post on the typewriter Tom Robbins used to write Still Life With Woodpecker to finally 'fess up that I actually own (albeit temporarily) a Remington SR-101. Ted reasoned - convincingly, I believe - that the typewriter was not the (fictitious) Remington SL3 (SL = "Still Life", 3 = third Robbins book) that Robbins claimed he had used, but the much (justifiably) maligned Remington SR-101. Although he didn't name me as the author of it, Ted linked to my ozTypewriter blog post on the SR-101 ("The $340 million Typewriter").
At the time I wrote that post, almost exactly a year ago, I never would have believed for one second that I would shortly after be given one of these absolutely awful machines. A chap I met through the University of the Third Age sports history lectures offered to give me "two old typewriters". When he and his wife walked up my stairs carrying these gifts, I saw straight away that one of them was a magnificent burgundy "crocodile skin" Royal portable from the 1930s. It was in immaculate condition. I also identified the other immediately (having blogged on it a few weeks previously) - it was a dreaded SR-101. But what could I say? One takes the (very) good with the (very) bad. I was at least curious as to how it compared to an IBM Selectric.
The SR-101 had no power cord with it, but I quickly found one and tested it out. Holy Cannoli!!! I almost jumped out of my skin - in fright. The thing went totally haywire. It had a life completely of its own, with the platen spinning around, churning through paper, and the print element racing backwards and forwards, all without any help from me. So I quickly switched it off, promising myself I'd "get back to it one day". That day came yesterday when the Reverend Ted blogged on the Robbins book. And I was sorry it did. The thing is behaving even more badly now than it did when I first tried it out. Now it doesn't even type properly (the first time I tried it I got one word typed every six lines or so).
Anyone want a Remington SR-101? Free. Works. It's just a little bit crazy, that's all. There's certainly no "still life" about it.