Peter Jones, left, interviews Beatles Ringo Starr and George HarrisonTwo types of capitals,
no lower-case letters
Just last week, on a visit to Canberra to pick up a carload of typewriters, Sydney collector Richard Amery mentioned he had a portable with two sizes of capital letters and no lower-case letters. By sheer coincidence, tonight a West Australian friend, Ross McGillivray, alerted me to obituaries in two British newspapers for the popular music journalist Peter Jones, who had exactly the same sort of typewriter.
The Guardian wrote that Jones "composed articles and pithy record reviews on a typewriter that had two sizes of capital letters but no lower-case keys". The Telegraph, however, said, "Blessed with a photographic memory, he would never take notes, writing up interviews from memory on a battered typewriter permanently locked on capital letters."
Peter Langley Jones, born on January 6, 1930, died last month aged 85. He was chief writer and from 1964 editor of the Record Mirror, and wrote the earliest book-length biographies of both The Beatles and the Rolling Stones. The Record Mirror was most often the first British publication to spot new trends, including the Motown sound and rhythm & blues.
---------------------Have you tried this yet? It's a lot of fun.
---------------------Ted Munk drew my attention to this Olympia SM7 being offered for sale on eBay for a staggering $C10,000 ($US7687). It's listed by a seller in Oakville, Ontario, called "poetspulpit". The listing states, "This typewriter has never been owned, nor has it ever been used by author Paul Auster. However, he still types his novels on a typewriter (SM9) similar to this one. It was the inspiration behind his wonderful book The Story of my Typewriter. Auster signed this [typewriter] during his visit to Toronto in 2013 as part of the IFOA [International Festival of Authors]."
Typewriters in the news:
From the ‘writing machine’ to the computer keyboard: The evolution of the typewriter Remember being able to type a document without constant distractions from email, social media and the internet?
The strange case of the typewriter tattooed thief and the kidnapping of Piggy the echidna:
Piggy the echidna was tonight returned to her Gold Coast, Queensland, home two days after she was abducted. She was found back in her enclosure at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. A 24-year-old man was "assisting police" with their enquiries.
Two thieves, one with a typewriter tattoo on his arm, had found themselves in a prickly situation after kidnapping the echidna. They were caught on camera breaking into an enclosure on Saturday night. They tried to steal two echidnas before fleeing with the more friendly Piggy. Police described the distinctive tattoo on one of the thieves as "diamond-shaped", but it is definitely of a typewriter.
CCTV footage of one of the thieves, above. The two tattoos below show how a typewriter tattoo might look "diamond-shaped"
The sanctuary said it was difficult to imagine a motive for the theft given the echidna was one of the worst animals to steal. "They are difficult to hold, difficult to feed and they're stinky. There's no market for echidnas. You can't sell them and they certainly don't make a good pet."
Echidnas, sometimes known as spiny anteaters, belong to the family Tachyglossidae in the monotreme order of egg-laying mammals. The four extant species, together with the platypus, are the only surviving members of that order and are the only extant mammals that lay eggs. Their diet consists of ants and termites, but they are not closely related to the true anteaters of the Americas. They live in Australia and New Guinea. Echidnas evidently evolved between 20 and 50 million years ago, descending from a platypus-like monotreme. Echidnas are named after Echidna, a creature from Greek mythology who was half-woman, half-snake, as the animal was perceived to have qualities of both mammals and reptiles.