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Wednesday, 17 August 2016

I Give Up

While I watched a documentary on the debate about the rights and wrongs of restoring the late Keith Haring's mural at the old Collingwood Technical School in Melbourne, this blog last night reached 2.5 million page views. Haring's Australian work stands out among his 31 surviving murals worldwide, because it depicts a human brain trapped inside a computer terminal at the head of a giant corporate caterpillar. The symbolism has been interpreted many different ways, but for me the doco was timely, as the mural seemed to represent what had happened to my blog.
Reaching 2.5 million page views in a little less than five-and-a-half years should have felt like an achievement, but it didn't. Far from it. The reason being that just one of my 2240 posts had been viewed 24,000 times since the weekend. I had tried to take the heat out of it, without success, so in the end I deleted it altogether, because it had created too much of a distraction from what I want to do with this blog. It seemed like the post had been hijacked by people who have allowed their non-functioning brains to become boxed inside computers, so that they themselves operate as mere annexes of the Internet hivemind (and I certainly don't mean collective intelligence).
Interestingly, from 24,000 page views, there were only four comments, none of which were published. Two of those comments alone made me think: What the hell is going on with the world? Have people actually stopped thinking for themselves? Have they locked their brains inside a computer, and let others on the Internet do their thinking for them? Do they retain the capacity to read, but lack the capacity to comprehend? Or are they just too plain stupid to be able to make their own own minds?
I know there are many like me who think the worldwide craze for political correctness has gotten way out of control. What worries me most is that there are people out there, whether simply to be seen to be politically correct or are just too easily led, who are willing to ignore the solid evidence of the truth and allow themselves to believe in a deliberate manipulation of historical facts. It appears to suit their needs to accept lies, so they do. Frankly, if people like this are dominating the worldwide web, I don't want to be part of it. I give up.
The world I grew up in was one in which one was encouraged to listen and to read, to form one's own opinions, but to back up one's ideas and beliefs and opinions by what could be proved to be true. It strikes me that's not happening any more.
The summer edition of Vanity Fair has a wonderful article by James Wolcott about Twitter and its tweetering, mindless masses. Wolcott stresses his concerns about the toxic Twitter - the kangaroo court of social media - by outlining the cases of two non-tweeters, Gay Talese and Calvin Trillin. I stay well clear of Twitter myself, and it concerns me that one doesn't even have to be involved, or have an account, to get bombarded by the baseless indignation of moronic trolls - making relative innocents "cannibal stew", as Wolcott puts it - "So many clapping seals snapping up such puny fish."
Wolcott concludes, "Those who descend the ladder into the average unmoderated comments section will find themselves in a lunatic flophouse of seething illiterates and haters."
All too true, and a horrible reflection on the world today. What right-minded person wouldn't want out?
A week or two ago, this blog became so inundated with constant spambot mail that, reluctantly, I was forced to change the settings so that all comments had to go through the moderation process. I didn't like having to do that. As I have been saying here for years, one always felt safe within the confines of the Typosphere. Step outside it, however- wittingly, willingly or otherwise - and one never knows what one may be getting into.
That's not the real trouble, though. The major distress comes from being made to realise what the world has turned into, to have to deal with the realities of living in a time of mob mentality and hashtag zombies. Whirled back in time by the Internet, we're been returned to the Dark Ages. Instead of the worldwide web taking us further down the path of enlightenment, it has only succeeded in clouding thought and reining-in intellect. In discouraging a dependence on the truth, it frowns on free thinking, free speech, and allows liars, charlatans, cheats and crooks to prosper. So be it. I'm outta here!

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Here's Johnny's Olivetti Lettera 22 Portable Typewriter

Johnny Carson’s Olivetti Lettera 22 portable typewriter is on display in Chicago as part of the “Here’s Johnny! The Making of the Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” exhibition. The portable has been loaned to the exhibition by Carson's long-time assistant Helen Sanders. It has those tell-tale stains on its tartan-lined taupe vinyl zipper case, all too common with the Lettera 22. This exhibition is one of two TV nostalgia shows at Chicago’s Museum of Broadcast Communications. The other is “Watching TV in the ’90s”. The Carson exhibition also includes rubber chicken props, Johnny's Rolodex, Carnac the Magnificent's turban and guest coffee mugs.
Here's a younger Johnny with an earlier typewriter - and owl.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Rugby's Road to Rio

Rugby union returned to the Olympic Games this week after an absence of 92 years, when the women’s seven-a-side tournament was staged in Rio de Janiero. Australia’s Pearls won the gold medal, beating New Zealand 24-17 in today’s final. Canada won the bronze and the United States finished fifth.
Tomorrow the men’s tournament kicks off. The last time rugby was in the Olympics, in Paris in 1924, the United States retained the title by comfortably beating France in the final. The US had also beaten France to win the gold medal at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics. Australia won in London in 1908 and France in Paris in 1900.
The United States which won in Paris in 1924
It could be said that while rugby’s road to Olympic redemption has ended in Rio, its start was in an equally non-rugby setting: Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. Rugby sevens became a Commonwealth Games event in 1998, and the tournament in KL, won by New Zealand on September 14 that year, was such an enormous success it undoubtedly laid the first stones on the yellow brick road to Rio.
I covered that 1998 event, and in more than 40 years of writing about international sport, have seldom experienced such a wonderful sporting occasion. New Zealand beat Fiji 21-12 in the final, with Australia taking the bronze. The New Zealand team included the legendary Jonah Lomu, as well as Amasio Valence, Bruce Reihana, Caleb Ralph, Christian Cullen, Dallas Seymour, Eric Rush, Joeli Vidiri, Rico Gear and Roger Randle. Fiji was led by the irrepressible Waisale Serevi. Australia had the likes of David Campese, Ipolito Fenukitau and Jim Williams.
The late, great Jonah Lomu, centre, performs the haka to celebrate gold.
New Zealand went to win the next three Commonwealth Games sevens gold medals, in Manchester in 2002 (again beating Fiji in the final), in Melbourne in 2006 (beating England) and in Delhi in 2010 (beating Australia). In Glasgow in 2014, South Africa ended New Zealand’s run of success by beating the Kiwis in the final.
The Cantabrians win the first Hong Kong sevens, 1976.
The rise of rugby sevens to such a high level of international competition began in yet another unlikely setting: Happy Valley in Hong Kong, where an annual tournament was started in 1976. It came to be called “the Olympic Games of rugby”. Yet it blossomed in the face of stiff initial opposition from the International Rugby Board and the Rugby Football Union in England to commercial sponsorship in rugby. With the backing of Rothmans and Cathay Pacific, the Hong Kong sevens drew many national teams from the region, but in the first instance Australia and New Zealand sent the Wallaroos and the Cantabrians. The latter, a New Zealand invitational team, beat the Wallaroos 24-8 in the first final.
It’s fair to say the Hong Kong sevens were ahead of their time and an influential force in the modernisation of rugby union, 11 years ahead of the first 15-a-side World Cup and 19 years ahead of professional rugby.  Famed Scottish commentator Bill McLaren said, "While tournaments like the Hong Kong sevens continue to be played, rugby administrators can be confident that the game will continue to thrive in over 100 countries worldwide."
International sevens rugby got off to what might have seemed an inauspicious start, at Murrayfield in Edinburgh on April 7, 1973. At the end of its centenary celebrations that season, the Scottish Rugby Union organised a tournament in which IRB member nations, France and a President’s team including otherwise ostracised South Africans took part. Scotland, the birthplace of sevens, thought such an event was appropriate for its 100th birthday bash. But it became very clear that Australia and New Zealand, in particular, had very little idea what sevens was all about, and selected teams accordingly. Australia sent big forwards like Barry Stumbles, Garrick Fay and David Duckworth, physically strong but unsuited to the demands of the fast-moving sevens game. New Zealand at least took Grant Batty, George Skudder, Duncan Hales, Ian Stevens and Lyn Colling, but also had big forwards in Alan Sutherland, Alex Wyllie and Alistair Shown.
England emerged from one of the two pools to beat Ireland, which had edged out New Zealand in Pool A, by 22-18 in the final. England had a well balanced team, with Keith Fielding, David Duckham, the fabulous Peter Rossborough, Steve Smith, Andy Ripley and Peter Preece (Fran Cotton, Jon Gray and Roger Uttley were also there). Ireland had sprint champion Vinny Becker, Wallace McMaster, the crafty Mike Gibson, Donal Canniffe, Fergus Slattery, lanky duo Kevin Mays (not a sprinter) and Terry Moore and Seamus Dennison. The President’s team included Andy Irvine, Jim Renwick, Jan Ellis and Piet Greyling.
Rogge with Ghent in 1970.

The play was exciting enough, but there was nothing in it to suggest that 36 years later, in Copenhagen in October 2009, the International Olympic Committee would agree to recall rugby to the Olympics. Perhaps the fact that the IOC’s then president, Count Jacques Jean Marie Rogge, had played rugby for Belgium might have helped the cause. Sevens rugby debuted as an Olympic sport at the Youth Olympics in Nanjing in China in August 2014, when Australia won the girl’s gold medal. 

Saturday, 6 August 2016

So Long, Marianne (1935-2016)

Marianne Ihlen, muse for Leonard Cohen's haunting classic So Long, Marianne, died in Norway on July 29, aged 81, and was buried in Oslo yesterday. Cohen met Marianne on the island of Hydra off Greece in May 1960. She appeared, wrapped in a towel and typing on Cohen's pistachio-coloured Olivetti Lettera 22 portable typewriter, and on the back of the sleeve for Cohen's 1969 album Songs From a Room.
Australian authors George Johnston and Charmian Clift befriended Cohen and Ihlen on Hydra. Here are the two couples with the Johnsons' son Jason in October 1960.
Just before she died, Cohen wrote to Ihlen: 
"It's come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon. Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine. And you know that I've always loved you for your beauty and your wisdom, but I don't need to say anything more about that because you know all about that. But now, I just want to wish you a very good journey. Goodbye old friend. Endless love, see you down the road …"

Friday, 5 August 2016

Shame Games: The St Louis Olympics and the Human Zoo

Exhibited for the benefit of fairgoers: 34-year-old Da´naxda´xw (New Vancouver Tribe) carver Bob Harris (Xi´xa´niyus), an initiated Hamaťsa Dancer, in the Human Zoo at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St Louis. Below, Geronimo (1829-1909), leader from the Bedonkohe band of the Chiricahua Apache tribe.

VER the next two weeks, much will be written and said about past Olympic Games. One of the previous 30 summer celebrations in the Modern Olympics era will not, however, be mentioned - the utterly shameful 1904 Games held in St Louis, as part of the centenary celebrations of the Louisiana Purchase. Louisiana was actually acquired from France (for $15 million) when a treaty was signed in Paris on April 30, 1803. Missouri was part of Spanish Louisiana until then. That the St Louis World’s Fair did not start until the 101st anniversary of the Paris settlement says plenty about the Missouri’s unpropitious organisation of the Olympics.
           Among the seven “Fundamental Principles of Olympism” that open the Olympic Charter, the International Olympic Committee’s position on racism is spelt out. Principle six says, “The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Olympic Charter shall be secured without discrimination of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.” It wasn’t always so. The farcical 1904 Games stand as the worst example of racial prejudice and “the most distasteful aspects” of Olympic history.
        The St Louis Olympics made use for “sport” a human zoo which had been put together for the World’s Fair by American anthropologist and ethnologist William John McGee (above, 1853-1912). McGee and Games director James Edward Sullivan (below, 1862-1914) arranged for “Anthropological Days at the World’s Fair … the First Series of Athletic Contests ever held, in which Savage Tribes were the Exclusive Contestants.” Sullivan, a founder of the Amateur Athletic Union in 1888, was its secretary from 1889-1906 and president from 1906-09.
        McGee’s Human Zoo comprised “exotic” people, premature babies and schools of “defectives” from around the world. They were classified according to their “stage of development” and referred to as “the primitives”. They included Native Americans, Patagonians (Tehuelche), Ainu from Japan, Cocopás from Mexico, Turks and pygmies from the then Belgian Congo. Sioux children attended a model school where they demonstrated how well they learned “civilised ways”. More than 1000 Filipinos were grouped according to ethnicity and religion – Christian Visayans, Mohammedan Moro and Bagabos. Classed as “savages” were Negrito and Igorots (Cordillerans).
Dancing with an Igorot.
        Fairgoers had photographs taken with the “savages” and watched the Igorots kill and cook dogs. Science and entertainment emerged in the baby incubator exhibits, where paying customers watched premature infants fighting for their lives. Newspaper advertisements said, “See the mites of humanity whose lives are being preserved by this wonderful method.” After viewing the “feeble human creatures”, visitors could buy souvenir baby-shaped soap and have lunch at the Incubator Café. All the fun of the American fair, as they say …
        In “sport”, the “Anthropological Days” of August 12-13, 1904, came to be called the “Savage Games”. They included races over 100 yards, the quarter mile and mile, hurdles, shot put, javelin, bolos (“Patagonians only”), long and high jumps, archery, baseball, tug-of-war and pole climbing. 
        Sullivan included them in his Olympic report in the January 1905 issue of Spalding’s Official Athletic Almanac: Olympic Games Number, the most complete original record of the 1904 Games (the Lucas Report covers just track and field events). He wrote that the Savage Games were “wisely” staged at a time when “many physical directors and gentlemen interested in scientific work could be present and benefit by the demonstrations. Scientific men will refer to [the events] for many years to come. [They] taught a great lesson. Lecturers and authors will in future omit all reference to the natural athletic ability of the savage, unless they can substantiate their alleged feats.”
        Yes, Sullivan used, abused and then rounded on the inhabitants of the Human Zoo – for falling well short of expectations. The mere fact that none of these unfortunate people had ever played or prepared for any sort of organised sporting contests seemed to be beyond his comprehension, limited as it obviously was. Sullivan wrote, “We have for years been led to believe … that the average savage was fleet of foot, strong of limb, accurate with bow and arrow and expert in throwing the stone. The whole meeting proved conclusively that the savage has been a very much overrated man from an athletic point of view.”
        Subsequent events, at these very same St Louis Olympic Games, were to show just how wrong he was!
Len Taunyane, right, and Jan Mashiane
Just 17 days after the Savage Games, Len Taunyane (called Lehouw, and a Zulu and “Kaffir” by Sullivan) finished ninth in the marathon in the Olympics proper – even after losing eight minutes from being chased off the course by a dog. And this was without any training whatsoever for such a gruelling event. Tau, a Tswana tribesman who was part of a Boer War re-enactment assembled for the Human Zoo, had finished third behind “Americanized Indian” Black White Bear and Turk Yousouf Hana in the much less exacting mile race in the Savage Games.
                                     Jan Mashiane (Yamasani) nears the finish line in St Louis.
                   Len Taunyane, second rom left, as a Boer Prisoner of War on St Helena.
        Tau, who had been a Boer prisoner of war in real life, and fellow Tswana tribesman Jan Mashiana, who also ran in the marathon in the real St Louis Games (he was 12th among the 14 who completed the course)), were two of the first black Africans to compete in the Olympics. Their efforts in the 26-mile race were extraordinary, but a non-white African winner of the Olympic marathon did not emerge until Algerian Ahmed Boughèra El Ouafi won for France in Amsterdam in 1928. Modern Olympics founder Pierre de Coubertin was not, happily for him, in St Louis to witness the Games descend to their lowest level. But he warned the disgraceful “Savage Games” would lose their appeal “when black men, red men and yellow men learn to run, jump and throw and leave the white men behind them”. At least that was in part prophetic.
Miss Zamora, the native Filipino teacher, instructs an Igorot pupil
in reading in the St Louis Human Zoo. 

Saturday, 30 July 2016

United States Female Presidential Candidates

Margaret Madeline Chase Smith, seen above using her Royal portable typewriter, in mid-July 1964 became the first woman to be placed in nomination for the United States presidency at a major party's convention. She was nominated at the Republican Party's national convention at Cow Palace, Daly City, California.
A little more than 52 years later, at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Democrat Hillary Clinton became the first woman to be a major party's presidential election nominee. But she is not the first woman to run for United States President, and was not the first to run for a major party's nomination. 
Margaret Chase Smith, born in Skowhegan, Maine, on December 14, 1897, served as a US Representative from 1940-49 and a US Senator from 1949-73, becoming the first woman to serve in both houses of Congress and the first woman to represent Maine in either. Upon leaving office, she was the longest-serving female Senator in history, a distinction which was not surpassed until January 5, 2011, when Senator Barbara Mikulski was sworn in for a fifth term. Smith remains the longest-serving Republican woman in the Senate.
Barry Goldwater won the 1964 Republican presidential nomination when Nelson A. Rockefeller's improbity became an issue. But Smith got 3.84% of the vote, more than Richard M. Nixon. The national convention was one of the most bitter on record, with the party's moderates and conservatives expressing their contempt for each other. Smith was fifth in the presidential tally behind Goldwater, William Scranton, Rockefeller and George Romney. Goldwater infamously said, "I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." As a result, many Republican moderates defected to the Democrats in the election. Democrat candidate Lyndon B. Johnson got more than 61 per cent of the popular vote and more than 90 per cent of the electoral vote to comfortably retain the presidency.
Margaret Chase Smith died in Skowhegan on May 29, 1995, aged 97.
Victoria California Claflin Woodhull was in 1872 the first woman to stand for the US presidency, representing the Equal Rights Party. Born in Homer, Ohio, on September 23, 1838, she was an advocate of free love (the freedom to marry, divorce and bear children without government interference) and an early leader of the US woman's suffrage movement. Woodhull also pushed for labor reforms.
Sisters Victoria Woodhull and Tennessee Claflin (front row), surrounded by fellow suffragists.
One of Woodhull's staunchest supporters was the newspaper editor, poet and abolitionist Theodore Tilton (1835-1907). While Tilton was an assistant to Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887), his wife Tilly had an affair with the clergyman and social reformer. Woodhull saw Beecher's acquittal on criminal intimacy charges (the jury was hung) as reflecting double standards in society. During the 1872 presidential election, Woodhull was jailed on obscenity charges for publishing her views on the matter. Tilton might be said today to have been a visionary well ahead of his time. In backing Woodhull, in August 1871 he was quoted as saying: 
Hillary Clinton has to endure some absurd abuse from Donald Trump, but these comments from the Kansas newspaper, the Osage County Chronicle, give an idea of what Woodhull had to put up with. She tried to gain nominations for the presidency again in 1884 and 1892, in the latter year standing for the Humanitarian Party, culminating in her nomination by the National Woman Suffragists' Nominating Convention. Woodhull believed she was destined by prophecy to be president of the US. This ambition was, of course, still unfulfilled when she died at Bredon, Worcestershire, in England, on June 9, 1927, aged 88.
Belva Ann Bennett Lockwood did stand for the presidency in 1884, representing the National Equal Rights Party. She was an activist for voting rights for women and for African-Americans, as one of the earliest women lawyers in the US. Her bid was the first full-scale national campaign of a woman running for president. Born at Royalton, New York, on October 24, 1830, Lockwood died in Washington DC on May 17, 1917, aged 86.
Laura Clay stood for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in 1920. Born at White Hall, Richmond, Kentucky, on February 9, 1849, Clay was the first woman to have her name placed into nomination for the presidency at the national convention of a major political party, at the Civic Auditorium in San Francisco in June-July 1920. She was the daughter of abolitionist Cassius Marcellus Clay, after whom Herman Heaton Clay, a descendant of African-American slaves, named his son Cassius Marcellus Clay, the father of late boxer Muhammad Ali. Laura Clay died in Kentucky on June 29, 1941, aged 92.
Grace Ethel Cecile Rosalie Allen, the comedian famous as the zany partner and comic foil for George Burns, stood for the Surprise Party in the 1940 presidential election. It was a publicity stunt and she was not on the ballot, but she did get write-in votes. She published a book, Gracie Allen for President and she and Burns did a cross-country whistlestop campaign tour on a private train, performing their live radio show in different cities. In campaign speeches, Gracie said, "I don't know much about the Lend-Lease Bill, but if we owe it we should pay it" and "Everybody knows a woman is better than a man when it comes to introducing bills into the house." The Surprise Party mascot was a kangaroo. Born in San Francisco, California, on July 26, 1895, Gracie died in Los Angeles on August 27, 1964, aged 69.
She didn't fulfil Theodore Tilton's dream, but Charlene Mitchell stood for the Communist Party in 1968, becoming the first African-American woman nominated for presidency. She was on the ballot in two states in the general election, but received fewer than 1100 votes nationally.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Sydney, Where the Typewriter Wizards of Oz Are

Many moons ago, I was covering a rugby match at the Sydney Sports Ground when a young New Zealander was knocked out cold. I left my Olivetti Lettera 32 in the Press Box and went down to the changing rooms to check on his condition. As he came to, a doctor asked, "Do you know where you are?" "Yes," said the young fellow, with the utmost confidence, "at the Addington Showgrounds." "No," replied the doctor, "you're in Sydney." "Sydney!" exclaimed the excited footballer, sitting bolt upright on the medico's bench. "Sydney where the bridge is?" 
The Twilight Zone
Sydney with its glorious Harbour Bridge no longer has the allure it once did for young New Zealanders. But for this old fogey, it has developed a whole new attraction, one far more enticing than the bright city lights and the iconic bridge: the regular chance to meet and pick the brains of typewriter masterminds.
Sydney has become, for me at least, the city where the Typewriter Wizards of Oz are.
Yesterday I was able to attend yet another of the weekly meetings of STAX, the Sydney Typewriter Appreciation Exchange, a collective of typewriter technicians, collectors, dealers and sellers. These gatherings are usually held at the home of collector Richard Amery at Rooty Hill in the Western Suburbs, just off the M7 Motorway. I always take with me a carload of typewriters, and between packing and unpacking, travel and recovery, it adds up to three days out of the week -  for one day's enjoyment. But is that one day worth it? You betcha. It's absolutely brilliant!
Short of meeting a gorgeous billionairess who likes nothing better than pillow talk about the pro and cons of omitting James Densmore's name from the original typewriter, this is as good as it gets. Heaven on a stick, except the stick is the gear shift on my little Typewritermobile, and that's been getting a terrible thrashing.
Or should it have been Yost?
The main reason for me making the effort to return to Sydney yesterday was the chance to have the typewriter "brains trust" cast their eyes over two escapement wheels from SCM Galaxie IIs, in search of the elusive "jewel" (read the next issue of ETCetera, in which all will be revealed).
Sadly, it's far too long and exhausting a trip for me to make on a weekly basis (360 miles, or six hours there and back). But I have now been able to get to three of the meetings, so, as Richard Polt had hoped, I'm averaging one a month. Having said that, I'm finding the meetings increasingly appealing, and the drive home in the dead of night seems to pass relatively lightly, given I've got four hours of typewriter talk to mull over.
The gatherings start with a sort of "show and tell" of various typewriters of various vintages, followed by fascinating demonstrations of typewriter repair jobs; then there is much chat about typewriter-related experiences, most of it hugely amusing. All the while genial and generous mine host Richard Amery is making and passing out cups of coffee and tea and handing around trays of choccy biscuits. The events are a massive amount of fun and indulgence, all concerned with just one cherished machine (though VW Beetles do get the odd mention). What more could one ask for in one's dotage (aside from the billionairess)?
Richard Amery has that typically Australian laconic sense of humour, a dry wit, and his little animated address yesterday about feeling the pressure of Richard Polt buying up beautiful Imperial Good Companions in England had us all in stitches. But Phil Chapman announced that Charlie Foxtrot had just taken delivery of a container full of typewriters from Blighty's fair shores, so there'll no doubt be something in that lot for Mr Amery to cast his eager eyes over.
Over the past 15 years or so, I have felt envious of those people who were fully trained as typewriter technicians. The skills they have are to die for. There have been a couple of exceptions among those I have met in Australia, two in particular who proved to be unpleasant and untrustworthy. But there are bound to be rotten apples in every basket, and I don't waste time bothering with them. In the main, the technicians of my acquaintance are just champion blokes. 

Undoubtedly a highlight of yesterday's meeting was a close look at the work of Phil Card, who had restored to full working order a Blickensderfer 5 and an Imperial Model D for Richard Amery - both quite remarkable achievements. I was astonished by how well they now type, and I "dips me lid" to Phil for his incredible skill.
We started out by comparing a couple of Erikas - Richard Amery's very nice, shiny black Model 8 and a model 5 Bijou I am working on. Richard's 8 reminded me greatly of the wonderful early 1950s Model 9 I have. Both Richard's 8 and the Bijou 5 also have that fascinating triple-action typebar mechanism, with provides such a smooth typing action.
Richard produced for the "show and tell" session an interesting "Typer's Companion". On each side of the top there are felt sections to sit the typewriter on, and in front there is a small drawer for typewriter odds and ends. The Lion British Typewriter Supplies Company of London also made and marketed its own duplicators (see below).
Just in case Terry Cooksley was feeling a little left out by the praise being heaped on Phil Card, Richard produced a Royal 10 which had been fully restored by Terry, to show us how well it looked and worked. Richard also brought out a Smith-Corona Silent I had restored for him about 10 years ago.
None of us have been able to work out why this wide carriage Olympia SM9 has upper and lower case capitals.
And none of us could work out while Phil Chapman had spent $20 on a Hermes Ambassador. Ah well, poking round with it was all in the spirit of the day - a lot of teasing, a lot of laughs, all of it from truly genuine typewriter people. Not to mention the mesmerising work of the Wizards of Oz.