Posts Tagged ‘typewriters’

Typewriters: they’re awesome and you should get one.

Monday, November 11th, 2013

A version of this post first appeared at One Night Stanzas in December 2008. (Back then the first line said “at this moment I have five manual typewriters.” Erm…)

Guilty secret: I am obsessed with typewriters. At this moment I have thirty-one manual typewriters, including my latest acquisition, a freakin’ gorgeous Olivetti Valentine. Why am I so obsessed with typewriters? Well, they’re noisy, heavy, impractical and difficult to use, but they’re also the ultimate poet’s accessory. Allen Ginsberg hauled a massive Underwood 5 around with him; William Burroughs typed on his own namesake, and was The Good Doctor ever without his trusty IBM SElectric…?

Why should I get a typewriter?
Well, I’ll be honest with you… if you think you’re going to be sitting down to write a 600 page novel on your manual typewriter, you might want to think again. It doesn’t matter what you do (Margaret Atwood apparently used to sit her typewriter on top of a wad of newspapers), it’s going to be noisy. It’s also going to be a pain in the butt to type on, particularly if you’re used to the feather-light keys of a laptop! Around about 1950, typewriter manufacturers started to advertise “noiseless” and “light touch” typewriter models, but even these are pretty cumbersome. You also have the typo issue - there’s no room for error with a manual typewriter, unless you’re cool with crossings-out and tippex! So if you’re planning on doing any serious writing, you might want to consider an electric… quieter, zippier and generally easier to work with.
However, electric typewriters are nowhere near as cool, and in a world where everyone has some kind of word-processor, a typewriter’s main appeal is its cool factor! Personally, I think manual typewriters are incredibly beautiful — I have mine sitting around my house making the place look pretty. They’re also a serious feat of engineering… try opening one up some time and inspecting all the weights and springs. A manual typewriter makes a laptop look boring.

How can I get hold of one?
Manual typewriters are ten-a-penny if you’re not fussy about make and model, so you don’t need to look to far to find one. Try checking out thrift stores or flea markets and see what you can find, or click around on eBay. There’s a whole load of choice out there so have a look around and find a typewriter you love — if you’re into the older, clunkier ones, eBay might be the place. But post-1960 typewriters turn up regularly in charity shops and at jumble sales and the like. I inherited my Smith Corona from my Dad, but all my other typewriters have come from junk shops and thrift stores.

What should I be looking for?
Well, when I buy a typewriter I’m usually after something that looks nice, and if it’s in its proper case and works that’s an added bonus. But you might want to check that all the parts are there — sometimes typewriters can be missing covers, bases, feet, or bits and pieces from the outer bodywork. It’s not necessarily a tragedy if these things aren’t there but you can sometimes haggle the price down a bit. If you want the typewriter in full working order, you need to check a few things:

- The space bar. On manual typewriters, the space bar is often operated by a weight system which pulls the cartridge along on a string. If you press the space bar and the cartridge doesn’t move along, it might be that the string has snapped. This is tricky to fix yourself (trust me, I’ve tried) and you might have to get an expert to take a look. So bear in mind that this could cost money!

- The ribbon feeder. Second hand typewriters have often been sitting unused for years, so more often than not their ribbons dry out. However, even if the ribbon has no ink in it, you should try typing a few words and pay attention to the ribbon movement. Does it move along through the spools? If it sticks or clogs, you can usually fix it yourself, but it’s worth checking. If your chosen typewriter has no ribbon fitted, you’ll need to find out what ribbon it takes, either by asking the seller or by doing some online research. It’s hard to find a replacement ribbon if you don’t know the right type.

- All the keys. One of the most common faults on old manual typewriters is the ‘capslock’ key, which is usually just connects to a little hook in the mechanism that locks the shift key down. This hook can wear out and stop sticking on. Other keys to check are the lesser-used ones - the numbers and symbols, but also the tab key, which should shuttle the cartridge along. But the best thing to do is just to try them all!

- The cartridge itself. Just check that it does move back and forth and doesn’t stick anywhere. Again, the movement of the cartridge is directly connected to the string-and-weight system, so if it doesn’t work it might cost you £££ to fix.

- Other things you might want to do: pick the typewriter up (sometimes the bottom will drop off or parts will drop out!), feed a piece of paper through (the rollers can be very dirty or can stick), test the carrying case (the last thing you want is the case breaking open and the typewriter smashing on the way home!) and look into the mechanism (sure, you might not know what you’re looking at, but if there are springs, strings or shards of metal sticking out, you might need to worry).

Obviously if you’re buying from eBay, you can’t do this stuff yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask your seller for all this information, and if you’re even slightly worried about the condition, look elsewhere! (I’ve found that eBay sellers tend to be sincere and honest and quite willing to deal with queries like this, so don’t worry too much about asking.)

Ginsberg & typewriters
Some of my babies.

What should I be paying for a typewriter?
Prices vary massively with manual typewriters, but if the typewriter you’re looking at is post-1960, chances are it is not rare or expensive. You have to remember that typewriters were the laptops of the 50s, 60s and 70s — everyone had one, so if anyone tries to tell you that they’re “rare,” you might want to be suspicious. Wartime and pre-war typewriters are less common and perhaps more valuable, but again, you shouldn’t really be paying too much unless your typewriter is something really special. Things you might need to pay more for include:

- Wooden casings. Typewriters with wooden bodies are quite unusual - metal, bakelite or plastic is much more common so a wooden typewriter is a rare typewriter.

- Unusual colours. Some typewriter manufacturers brought out special editions in weird and wonderful colours. In pre-1960 typewriters, colour might be an expense factor (but post-1960 it was pretty common for typewriters to be colourful, particularly if they were plastic) — look out for dark green or dark red casings.

- Leather embellishments. Another feature of special edition typewriters.

- Iconic typewriters. The Underwood 5 is reasonably common but it’s also iconic. People will part with quite a lot of cash for a nice one. Similarly the aforementioned Valentine, which is a coveted design icon… though I got mine for fifty quid in a charity shop!

- A foreign language. If you come across a typewriter whose keys are cyrillic or in another language, it might be worth a bit more.

Just be careful - don’t be ripped off. For just about any post-1960 typewriter, you shouldn’t be paying more than £30. I’d even say that in 99% of cases, you probably shouldn’t be paying more than £20. The most I’ve ever paid, apart from my Valentine, was £15 for my blue bakelite Imperial, and I think I might even have been ripped off a bit there! For a pre-1960 typewriter, keep a limit of £30-£50 or so, unless your typewriter is something special.
If you think you might need to spend money on renovating or cleaning your typewriter, try and haggle the price down! I once found a wartime metal typewriter in a charity store which had a £50 price tag on it, but which had been sitting in a chicken shed for decades… and it was full of feathers and chicken poo! I told the store that I’d need to spend money on cleaning it and I’d give them £35, but they wouldn’t haggle. It certainly wasn’t worth £50, so I left it… don’t be conned!

What if I’m buying on eBay?
eBay sellers can be a bit cheeky with their prices, and on eBay you can’t haggle. Just don’t get carried away in a bidding war — you really don’t need to pay over the odds. Bear in mind also that you’ll have to pay to have the typewriter delivered, and this can cost a huge amount, as typewriters are heavy things! They’re also fragile things, so if you want yours in proper working order, you might want to think twice about having it flown across the world… particularly if it doesn’t come with its own carrying case. Many people will opt for surface shipping rather than airmail with an item like a typewriter, too - it’s cheaper and gentler, but it does take a lot, lot longer… we’re talking months! And there can be problems when it comes to getting typewriters across borders — many older typewriters have keys made of or containing ivory, and if you try to ship ivory into the USA for example, it can end up just being destroyed by customs officials. So online shopping is a bit of a minefield… don’t be afraid to do some research and ask your seller questions about these issues!

What can I do with my typewriter once I’ve got it?
Well, despite the fact that they’re noisy and heavy, they can still make pretty sweet writing machines. If you just want to write letters, or the odd short, sweet poem, they’re perfect. They also make awesome ornaments and I often use mine to stick photos or paperwork in. I have a friend who used to use a heavy old typewriter (don’t worry, it was in a fairly serious state of disrepair when she got it!) as a doorstop. If you want, you can dismantle your typewriter (just make sure it’s not worth major £££ first!!) and turn it into all sorts of stuff… look around on Etsy and you’ll find jewellery, mobiles, paperweights, bookmarks, sculptures and artwork, all made out of typewriter parts! Typewriters are also useful things to have around if you’re into Steampunk.

Something I always like to do when I buy a new typewriter is get on the internet and do some research. It’s great to find out when your typewriter was made and what it might have been used for… maybe a famous writer used the same kind of typewriter as you, or perhaps it was popular among chic 50s office workers. I’m always fascinated by this stuff and there are heaps of typewriter-related sites to help you find out all about your typewriter!

What kind of typewriter(s) do you have? How much did you spend, and where did it come from? Anyone have a cool typewriter tale to tell? I want to hear it!

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Like shiny things? Check out Edinburgh Vintage, a totally unrelated ’sister site’ full of jewels, treasures and trinkets. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)

Procrastination Station #120

Friday, April 19th, 2013

u.f.o.

A poem! By Kevin Cadwallender! At Bolts of Silk! A hat-trick of awesome!

I love Kim Addonizio, and this is SO the perfect book cover for her work!

I am so happy to see some of Stephen Nelson’s work over at Fit for Work — an anti-ATOS anthology you should, by the way, really check out.

Have you guys seen the Books and Nerds tumblr? Wall to wall bookish escapism!

The lovely, lovely Chris Scott (who once told me he’d “be the Testino to [my] Diana” if ever I become super famous, and I plan to hold him to it) recently took this brilliant, smiley photo of great poet and great bloke Andrew Philip. I really like it! Chris’ work is generally great. Check out his Author Portraits and his Flickr for more!

Life in Authoring, you totally get me through the day, SRSLY. I also just discovered Life in Publishing and Life in Small Press Publishing and now have so much less free time.

I’m always fascinated when Caustic Cover Critic points out how often the same images are recycled for book covers. Here’s a sad and elegant lady who seems to crop up awfully often…

…and speaking of covers, I just discovered Lousy Book Covers. Part of me feels super sad for the poor authors, but some of these really are lousy.

Is anyone else as into typewriters as me? If so, you should check out clickthing. It is basically typewriter p0rn.

I believe I have mentioned before that I LOVE DAVE COATES’ REVIEWS OF POETRY BOOKS. LOVE them. His review of The Great Billy Letford (as he should always be known) is an absolute cracker. But he’s at his best when bitchy: “poems to be printed on Cath Kidston merchandise.” DOES CRITICISM GET ANY HARSHER? A review to cackle gleefully at.

Apparently, “dear blank” is something EVERYONE has seen now, but it was new to me, and I loved it!

Two Beat Generation tattoos! Ginsberg and Kerouac! I approve! Also, I have been crushing on thigh tattoos lately and love these.

To be serious for a moment: you should probably read more bell hooks.

How much do you wish you’d been at this party?

Adverts are often better “edited” — some great examples here!

I can has one of these?

It wouldn’t be Friday without CAT GIFS!

Have a great weekend!

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You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)

Things I Love Thursday #73

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

Glitterowl

Sparkle.

Scruffy presents

Festive typewriters

Cute cards (thanks!)

Best self-portrait ever?

So happy I didn't sell this.

Vegan mince pies!

2012 journal... nearly done!

What are YOU loving this week?

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You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

Things I Love Thursday #70

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

 Bookcase 3 -in Carlisle
(Photo credit)

Bookcase
This past weekend I spent a lovely weekend in Wetheral, visiting my mad-but-wonderful family. I had a great time popping tags with my sister in Carlisle’s excellent charity shops, saw lots of cute animals (Wetheral Animal Refuge is always on my must-visit list whenever I’m down there), visited my lovely Gampy (grandpa), enjoyed a family wine-drinking and pizza-scoffing get-together, and drank gallons of tea. However, one of the biggest highlights of my trip was mooching — and spending more money than I really actually have — in Bookcase, Carlisle’s biggest and best book shop.

the bookcase carlisle
(Photo credit)

According to the website, Bookcase has over 250,000 books in stock, spread through thirty — yes, thirty — rooms. Occupying two fancy townhouses, the bookstore is like a massive — and very elegant — labyrinth, with room after room lined from floor to ceiling with books. It doesn’t matter how obscure your particular subject is — I’m convinced you could find a book on it somewhere in here. Their feminist section holds more volumes than an entire feminist bookstore! This was my second visit to this place, and although I found rooms I hadn’t realised were there the first time, when I finally found the rest of my party again they spoke of rooms I still hadn’t found. You could literally spend days in this place. I could quite happily live there (they have tea, too). If you’re ever in the Lake District/Cumbria area and you’re even vaguely interested in books or bookstore-mooching, this place needs to go on your bucket list! Oh yes — they’re also on Twitter!

gwatskylove

George Watsky
As you all know, I need no more reasons to love George Watsky, yet he just keeps getting more and more excellent. He posted the lovely status above a couple of weeks ago, and I screencapped it. I read it again this week and it made me grin.

Ooh, new tattoo?

Daydreaming tattoos
I know what you’re thinking — it really hasn’t been that long since my last tattoo was inked. And yet, I get lovesick for something new quicker and quicker with each new piece. I have a big sketchbook in my house full of half-sketches, doodles, ideas, and some final drawings which now live permanently in my epidermis! This is one of the more-finished designs that I’m really thinking seriously about for The Next Big Thing. I’m not happy with the lettering on the paper scroll (it’s a quote from Ginsberg’s Kaddish), but otherwise it’s basically good to go under the needle. What do you think? Comments box!

Honourable mentions:
People who stick up for you when they don’t have to // my best friend getting a fabulous new job — and the celebratory drinks and chat that followed! // these crisps OH MY GOD // Kat Dennings. She is the coolest and the beautifullest and I love her // my totally weird and eccentric immediate family and all their weirdnesses and eccentricities. Did you know my sister has her own pet t-rex and he has his own Facebook page? // New series of the Big Bang Theory — I love this show in spite of myself // this coffee pot, which I am absolutely keeping as a present to myself if no one buys it by Christmas // Lovely Boyfriend, always // The Forest’s vegan chocolate and beetroot cake

What are YOU loving this week?

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You can also visit Read This Press for poetry and typewriter paraphernalia! Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

Procrastination Station #116

Friday, November 9th, 2012

sock love
How much do you love this photo? Made me smile.

Check out this visual poem by Stephen Nelson. A good reminder to keep an eye out for weird and wonderful things when we’re out and about!

Hey! I’m reading at Shore Poets this month! Come along…?

Speaking of wonderful things: Regina Green self-published a lovely collection of poems here!

Calling all DIY book-binding enthusiasts! This is the coolest idea!

FOR SOME REASON THERE’S A POSTER OF MATT DAMON IN MY CASKET

WHY I DO NOT KNOW SRSLY THERE’S ALSO SOME INCENSE

IT’S LIKE A SHRINE IN HERE BUT NOT TO ME EXACTLY

The Lovesong of J Alfred Capslock wins all the internets.

I love everything about this photo.

Want to record the things you’re grateful for, the way I do with my TiLT posts? You can download your own Gratitude Journal, FREE, here!

Secret tunnels! Ornate giltwork! Plush armchairs! Real trees growing on the shop floor! Check out the world’s most beautiful bookstores… and be prepared to drool!

Tracey S Rosenberg — who by the way has a book launch happening next week! — is hosting her own National Rejection Letter Month in place of NaNoWriMo.

Caustic Cover Critic investigates yet more rip-off book covers. (although, is also rude about Margaret Atwood. Boo!)

It has been incredible to watch people come together in the wake of this storm, to see neighbors support one another, to have complete strangers ask me in line for the ATM if I am okay, if my family is okay, if my house is okay. A lot of people here are not okay. A lot of people have lost so much, and a lot of people still do not have power or water or homes, and another storm is coming.

The Rejectionist’s short but moving response to Hurricane Sandy is really great.

OMG, this might well be the coolest DIY ever!

I have done almost all of these things. Guess the rest are about to catch up with me! (via)

LOVING this synopsis of The Wizard of Oz.

I’d really like to buy these posters for the college I work at.

My wonderful and talented friend Sally was the official photographer for the Edinburgh International Festival this year. Her photographs of the fest can be viewed at her exhibition, FRAMED, on now at The Hub, Edinburgh. Please do go along!

WIN: Tammy Baldwin (WI) is also one of them, defeating popular Republican Tommy Thompson in the Wisconsin Senate race, making her both Wisconsin’s first female senator and the first openly gay member of the US Senate. Said Baldwin: “I am well aware that I will have the honour to be Wisconsin’s first woman US senator, and I am well aware that I will be the first openly gay member of the United States Senate, but I didn’t run to make history. I ran to make a difference. But in choosing me to tackle those problems the people of Wisconsin have made history.”

Liss has made a great list of the various things that were won on Tuesday night apart from just the Presidency. Makes for some happy reading.

This DIY advent calendar is such a good idea! Especially for us vegans, who can’t easily find chocolate ones in stores!

Gum-voting is a super cool, if slightly gross, idea.

[A]s sex workers we also face deep-seated stigmas which mean that if we don’t disclose to you our stories of tragedy and the demeaning experiences we have faced we run the risk of not being believed by you.

This is what we call “tragedy porn”: A desire in the feminist movement to hear tragic stories of hardship from sex workers, and when we don’t tell them, we face the accusation that we are covering up the “truth” about sex work.

This is brilliant. I wanted to applaud at the end. (You need to scroll down.)

OH THE SCHADENFREUDE! White People Mourning Romney is JUST TOO GOOD!

Having taken a bunch of really quite unfair shit from Etsy buyers lately, I kinda needed this post about running your own business while depressed. (via)

I would like this car, please.


Lovely Boyfriend just got an iPad, which is far too high-tech for me! Might try to persuade him to mod it up with one of these! (Thanks Graeme!)


This is absolutely freaking brilliant. It’s hard to critique education without making teachers feel like crap, so well done Mr Godin!


YAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!

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If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)

Things I Love Thursday #65

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

005

Vegan profiteroles

Yet more vegan baking.
I know, there’s a trend developing here. But LOOK AT THOSE CINNAMON ROLLS, PEOPLE. This is about my seventh time making them, and I think I have now got them perfect. The recipe is Isa’s, but I’ve tweaked it and meddled with it and now I’ve got something that suits me and suits my old-as-time-itself oven. Woo!
The other things are VEGAN PROFITEROLES! YET MORE ALL CAPS BECAUSE OMG! I am extremely proud of myself, because I came up with the recipe for these all on my own, which is pretty much a first. They’re basically a sweet, veganised version of this choux-like pastry I used to make to go on top of a vegetable bake. I promised folk on Twitter that I’d put the recipe up here today, BUT I think I need (need!) to make them again just to make sure this wasn’t a fluke. But look for the details next week!
(Like the mug? It’s for sale at Edinburgh Vintage!)

Bed

Reading corner

Cozying up.
Lovely Boyfriend and I have been in our awesome Tollcross flat for over a year now. I love it, but I’ve always been a bit bugged about the bedroom: it’s always felt kind of impersonal and functional, and I wanted to find a way to make it cozier. So over the weekend I shifted the bed, gathered together several of our many bookshelves into one corner, and created a little reading nook. Now I love it and want to be in there all the time! Win!

Jewellery box

Remington

Splashes of colour.
I’m really getting into this classic blogger thing of taking lots and lots of macro photographs of whimsical stuff. My apologies, I am becoming a cliche. But anyway — the top photograph is of my jewellery box, which is in desperate need of a tidy-out! The bright-orange sticker I got in a radical book collective in Seattle, and it reads ABORTION ON DEMAND AND WITHOUT APOLOGY. Because um yes, obviously.
And below that is a little pink typewriter that I keep passing on my wanderings… it’s sitting in the window of Owl and Lion on West Port. I always give it a cheery smile as I pass.

<3

New tattoo!

Anniversary!
Lovely Boyfriend — aka Captain Steve — and I celebrated our two-year anniversary this week. We’re heading to Paris in about ten days to continue the celebrations and I am already going nuts with excitement. On the same day I also wandered into Red Hot + Blue Tattoo in Tollcross and had my seventh tattoo inked — a hand of protection, loosely based on a hamsa or Hand of Fatima. My tattooist was Alec, and he was great — thanks, I love it!

The Spoken Word

The Spoken Word.
The British Library were kind enough to send me this great three-CD boxed set of modern poets reading their work to feature at One Night Stanzas. It’ll be given away to one lucky reader next week, so stay tuned! If you want more info in anticipation, you can see the details at the British Library Shop page!

What are YOU loving this week?

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You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

Procrastination Station #112

Friday, September 28th, 2012

2012-09-21 Kürbisse I

Is anyone planning on getting me a Christmas present? In case you’re stuck for ideas… this this this! (Thanks, Priscilla!)

Aaaand a Christmas present for the OBSESSIVE TYPEWRITER LOVER in your life? (Know anyone in these parts who matches that description…?)

If you want to look thoughtful and melancholy: Wear lots of black. Black pants with a black shirt would be a good idea. Something fun to wear to a poetry reading or cafe is a beret. For shoes, boots or ballet flats would be nice. Don’t go overboard on makeup and jewelry.

I’VE BEEN DOING IT ALL WRONG FOR YEARS! Learn how to dress like a poet in five easy steps! (Or yaknow, you could justbuy this.)

I love this short ‘n’ sweet concrete poem from Stephen Nelson.

And speaking of short ‘n’ sweet — what would YOUR one-line obituary be? (answers in the comments, please!)

Regina has a poem up at Golden Horses!

Avoid cliques, gangs, groups. The presence of a crowd won’t make your writing any better than it is.

THIS! Thank you, Zadie Smith! And your other writing rules are also pretty darned excellent!

A lovely new poem from Mr McGuire!

OK, one more novelty typewriter product which I am coveting, and then I’ll stop, OK? But just LOOK AT THIS FROCK! (Thanks, Ruth!)

Dad, I love your fatness, because your fatness is part of you. Your fat body changed my and my sister’s diapers. Your fat body sat next to me on the couch when I was just a tiny child and watched Star Trek, both the original AND The Next Generation with me, making me the geek I am today. Your fat lap was the one that, when I was a child and computer games were still pretty damn young, would let me sit upon it as you played (for both of us, me shouting directions gleefully), Designasaurus, and, I admit, often I’d laugh so hard that I would pee my pants with excitement, WHILE IN YOUR LAP. And your fat self was ok with it (not thrilled, but it never stopped us from playing again). Your fat body was the body of the man who let me and my sister put scrunchies, elastics, bows, ribbons, and sparkly hair gel in his hair. Who let us give him terrible comb-overs and pig tails, because you loved us. Your fat self taught me subtraction better than I was learning it in class.

This letter to a fat father from his fat trans son is beautiful, sad and brave. Please read.

Gorgeous rainy autumn photos from Katja! (Have you noticed I am totally crushing on her blog?)

I just discovered The Improvised Life blog and now I am in love…

I know I post these all the time here but this might be THE BEST Passive-Aggressive Note ever!

I want to start a clicktivism type campaign called Fire Christina Hendricks’ Obviously-Cruel Stylist And Let’s All Club Together To Buy Her A Cardi.

OMFG it’s a PONYBIKE! (although, did they miss a trick or what by not making it a unicorn?) Thanks Ellie!


This badass 87 year old is kicking Republican butt in the cutest way!


It’s not perfect, but this new M&S ad is definitely a step in the right direction in terms of diversity. (Also, love the fact that one of the top-rated Youtube comments is: “Anyone else reckon the silver haired woman is fit as f**k?”)


I TOTALLY LOVE THIS SONG!

Have a great weekend!

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You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)

Procrastination Station #104

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

Late night

A bit late, but better late than never!

“Starry Rhymes is a loving testament to the work of an undeniably important poet. This shows in the care with which the chapbook has been conceived and collated. [...] Undaunted by the not-small task of responding to a giant of modern American poetry, this assembly of thirty-three voices reflects (or possibly refracts) Ginsberg at his most feverish, human and heartbreaking.”

I’m happy to say that Starry Rhymes: 85 Years of Allen Ginsberg is finally available in the Read This Press Store! The text above comes from a truly lovely review of the pamphlet written by Chris Emslie for Sabotage just after its release. Grab yourselves a copy and see what all the fuss is about!

A bunch of famous poems, all about the cruellest month. (Or you know, you could just click this for a summary.)

The 24 project — a 24-hour literary and arts magazine — is only up for one more day! Go and read it before it disappears forever!

Home is bright and sharp and brutally real. When she sits at her desk, Morrison says, everything else disappears. “I feel totally curious and alive and in control. And almost… magnificent, when I write.”

Toni Morrison is totally my hero. Read this amazing interview — to the end, seriously.

The wonderful a handful of stones just published new work from ONS friends Roddy Shippin and Harry Giles.

For those of you with MSs to shop around, check out this useful list of chapbook publishers in the UK, compiled by Carrie Etter.

“Let poetry be whatever it chooses to be, according to the lights of its writers. Let the readers read whatever they choose to read, according to their own lights. [...] From the poet’s point of view, sometimes you want to write plainly and straightforwardly—or, rather, that’s simply how the poem begins to present itself. The issue then becomes to make the finished piece sufficiently aurally memorable to be worth returning to.”

Is it possible to applaud a blogpost? If so, then I applaud this interview with Dark Horse editor Gerry Cambridge.

ONS’s good friend Simon Jackson’s first collection is just out with BeWrite Books.

And congrats to the lovely and talented Regina C Green on having some poems up at Lyre Lyre right now.

“We were under no illusions that the poems would last too long out there in the big bad world. But the prospect that others would see their poetry in unexpected places, and that it might start a talking point amongst fellow pupils, spurred the class on and provided them, however briefly, with real satisfaction and pleasure from writing poetry.”

Alan Gillespie with a really smart idea about how to get school kids to dig poetry.

Ever asked yourself: why should anyone buy your book? How do you get them to want to? If so, then read this!

Pun-tastic.

“Here’s a stray question (or a metaphysical leap): Will language have the same depth and richness in electronic form that it can reach on the printed page? Does the beauty and variability of our language depend to an important degree on the medium that carries the words? Does poetry need paper?”

Don DeLillo being awesome, as usual.

I’ve been wanting to visit India for ages, so I found this mini travel guide really fascinating.

The road through Chernobyl sounds like a fascinating journey, too.

“Patriarchy is not men. Patriarchy is a system in which both women and men participate. It privileges, inter alia, the interests of boys and men over the bodily integrity, autonomy, and dignity of girls and women. It is subtle, insidious, and never more dangerous than when women passionately deny that they themselves are engaging in it. This abnormal obsession with women’s faces and bodies has become so normal that we (I include myself at times—I absolutely fall for it still) have internalized patriarchy almost seamlessly. We are unable at times to identify ourselves as our own denigrating abusers, or as abusing other girls and women.”

Ashley Judd: my new hero.

Some lovely literary tattoos out there at the moment — I loved this Scarlet Letter tattoo; and especially this one. (I have a thing for great chest pieces!) This Simone de Beauvoir quote is rather excellent, too.

I love these sweet ‘how to’ prints — especially the How To Twitter one.

“I’m a committed feminist. I’m used to talking about The Big Issues – including body hatred – in very abstract ways. But when it comes down to it, not only am I too freaked out about what people might think of my body hair to not get rid of it, I’m too freaked out to even let on that it EXISTS.”

Christina over at D for Dalrymple wants to hear about your experiences with body hair. I am inclined to encourage you to share your thoughts. Really really.

Want a laugh? Texts from my Dog made me snort-laugh. Thanks a million to Daniel!

I know they’re a gazillion squillion pounds, all of them, but this rangle of spectacles is blow-your-mind weird and wonderful. These’re my favourites, for the maybe-one-day lottery win wishlist.

“The myth that there is some kind of universal women experience was debunked by women of color, among others, long ago. All of us have different life histories, sexism impacts each of our lives somewhat differently and each of us is privileged in some ways but not others. [...] The point is to challenge societal sexism and other forms of marginalization. This is what trans feminists are focused on doing.”

What trans feminism is and why we need it. This is excellent, and I urge you all to read.

How utterly cool (and cute) is this guy? I so want one.

Could you take a major trip with only ten garments in your case? Save the future: wear less clothing.

Hillary Clinton is great. Yet again.

Want to see some REALLY CUTE STUFF? NSFW as may cause loud and excessive outbursts of “NaaaaaW!” OK, here goes: KITTY! KOALA BEAR! and OMG BABY PYGMY HIPPO! *dies of cute overload*


Have I posted this before? This woman is super inspirational, a great speaker and her talk is fascinating.


A colleague sent me this and I giggled frantically. (Tip: actually better without the sound on.)


& I’ve definitely posted this before, but… so pretty.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at]onenightstanzas.com. I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)

A Poet’s Guide To York

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Last weekend, I was lucky enough to be whisked away by Lovely Boyfriend for a New Year break to gorgeous, poetic York. North Yorkshire is the land of my birth, and I’ve spent a fair bit of time visiting its principal city over the years, though I haven’t been since I was an impressionable young undergrad visiting friends who were studying there. Back then, I spent most of my time catching up on exciteable chatter in those friends’ living rooms — or in pubs with cheapie student deals — rather than exploring the city. So it was quite nice to head down there as a Proper Adult (oo-er) for the first time, and actually get acquainted.

The first thing that struck LB and I was the abundance of chain stores — York seems to be sadly overrun by big national and global conglomorates. Perhaps we’re just used to Tollcross and Bruntsfield and their brave array of small businesses, but we were a bit dismayed to see the historic Betty’s elbowing for space among so many Costas and Cafe Neros, for example. However, there is weird and wonderful gold in York’s rambling little shopping streets (and beyond!), if you’re willing to dig around. Here are our picks of Stuff To Do:

York
The Evil Eye Lounge, Stonegate
It’s a shop, it’s a restaurant, it’s a bar, it’s a cinema, it’s a live music venue, it’s an internet cafe: it’s amazing. Stop in on the ground floor to buy all manner of delicious alcoholic beverages, including a selection of beers brewed only metres away by fabulous lobal brewpubs. Through the back there’s a cool bar with scary-coloured cocktails and groovy music. Head upstairs for more seating, including street-view booths and two utterly gorgeous hand-carved four-poster beds which you can lounge in (no shoes!) while you embrace alcohol-induced oblivion. On the next floor is the cine lounge, where there are also facilities for all your internet-accessing needs. The kitchen supplies Asian-inspired food to all floors, and although LB and I did not sample any, we saw plenty of it, and rest assured: the portions are huge and the smells divine. Kind of weird unisex bathroom facilities, but hey, get over it. This place rocks.

books
Minster Gate Bookshop, Minster Gate
FIVE FLOORS OF BOOKS. Need I say more? Climb the narrow, winding staircase to the Literature Room, where there’s poetry, lit crit, literary biography and all sorts of other geeky ephemera… or you can dive into the basement where there’s tons of high quality second hand fiction at tiny prices. The poetry selection’s limited, but you will find something to love here, guaranteed. I dug up an epic book on typewriter ownership, for example!

El Piano restaurant, 15/17 Grape Lane, York
El Piano, Grape Lane
If you’re a veggie like LB and I, you might find it a bit tricky to get your teeth into any inspiring meat-free or vegan food while in York. The city has three main kinds of eateries: big chains (Wagamamas, Zizzi, Bella Italia, and of course the usual cheap and cheery likes of McDonalds &co), bog-standard Italian restaurants (and lots of them!), and pubs. Many of the pubs, particularly in the city centre, are also owned by chains and their menus tend to be hearty but very meat and dairy heavy. Thankfully, LB spotted an ad for El Piano in a tourist guide, and it’s a definite must-go for all veggies! We had huge difficulty in picking just one thing each from the splendiferous and extensive Spanish-themed menu. In the end, I went for a vegan burger, which came on homemade gluten-free bread with homemade hummus, homemade pickle and a ton of different salads. It was almost too tasty to bear. Add into the mix lovely, friendly staff, bright and sunny decor and a sweet soundtrack. They also hold writing evenings and host the York “Go” club. Love!

Banana warehouse
The Banana Warehouse, Picadilly
LB and I stumbled across this place by accident: we were meant to be walking the City Walls, but it got dark and they locked the gates at Fishergate, so we had to turn back. We ended up short-cutting down Picadilly and I’m so glad we did! As we drew level with this place, I spotted a full-size Dalek through one of the windows and announced “WE HAVE TO GO IN THERE!”, before marching out into oncoming traffic, such was my hurry. And it’s every bit as amazing as it looks from the outside. An absolutely cavernous place, they keep the valuable stuff in glass cases at the front, but the rest of the warehouse is just haphazardly piled with… everything. As well as the usual fridges, tables, bookshelves and fireplaces, we also saw several rows of plush velvet cinema seats (plus two hipsters loudly fawning over them!), a luxury, seemingly unused (!) satin-lined coffin, and loads of typewriters, including a Smith Corona Zephyr, a Litton Imperial portable and a beautiful LC Smith desktop with green keys that I was heartbroken to leave behind. I did come away with a sweet, rare Diplomat portable from 1950, made in Czechoslovakia… for the bargain price of £15 and some heckling (you can take the girl out of Yorkshire, but…). The staff are lovely, helpful blokes who’ll happily trade jokes with you as you attempt to chip away at their prices. Go there, I command you!

Have you been to York? What were your highlights? Anything I’ve missed?

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One Night Stanzas loves mail. Say hello via claire@onenightstanzas.com. NB: I am physically unable to reply to non-urgent stuff unless I have a free afternoon and a cup of tea in my hand. Please be patient!

(For photo credits, click the individual photos)

Christmas gifts for poets: Read This Press

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

Swallow earrings

A little more shameless self promotion — yesterday, you got to hear about my vintage store, Edinburgh Vintage. Today, it’s the turn of my other Etsy store, Read This Press, which is much more suitable for poetic gift-giving!

For over two years I was the founding editor of Read This Magazine, a grassroots arts and literature zine aimed at promoting the work of new, young and emerging writers. After our editors scattered to the four winds in 2010, I wanted to carry on the work of RT in some way that would allow me to manage the workload alone (I know, some folk edit magazines single-handedly. I genuinely have no idea how).

Read This Press was born. We (as my team has now expanded to include Stephen Welsh, aka Lovely Boyfriend) make small, limited edition runs of handmade poetry chapbooks, make them as pretty as we can and sell them for a teeny price in the hope that we can lure some non-poetry readers in our direction and trick them into seeing that poetry is actually awesome. Our most recent endeavour was an anthology of poems inspired by the great Allen Ginsberg, Starry Rhymes, which you can buy here. We also published Eric Hamilton’s Sharks Don’t Sleep, which is sadly sold out.

Skin Deep
Skin Deep, our first Read This Press title: an anthology of tattoo-related poems by talented folks like Kim Addonizio and Kevin Cadwallender.

To support the press, I also started making typewriter-related jewellery and accessories, in collaboration with Amanda of Reworkd Workshop. As a typewriter fanatic, though, I found it heart-wrenching to think of all the beautiful machines that had been ripped up in order to create our bracelets and necklaces (no, really). I gave up the jewellery-making a while ago, but the pieces I have leftover from my jewellery days are still for sale on the site — and there are others yet to be listed, so keep checking back!

Camel necklace
The Camel Necklace, currently for sale here.

As the Christmas shopping frenzy is upon us, I’ll be uploading new items as often as I can in the next little while. If you like what you see in the shop, stick around and check back regularly. Please note: I am totally open to handing out mates’ discounts, so drop me a line if you see something you fancy and I may well be willing to haggle! Enquiries to claire[at]onenightstanzas[dot]com.

Merry Christmas Shopping!