I have done some oddish things in my time. But some people are a bit worried, bemused,amazed that I had a day & a half off work just so I could attend the second meeting of #stationeryclub. Which went something like this:
Met @OyeBilly on Oxford Street. Walked to pub. Spotted @themanwhofell & someone who turned out to be @chocosquirrel. Bought drinks. Swopped some sort of secret #stationeryclub greeting with TMWF & CS. Then @iamjamesward arrived & we moved upstairs. @anwen was already comfy on a sofa, so James Ward told us to spread out & take control & occupy the whole room. The only other occupants of room were an odd couple at one table – we weren’t sure if they were there for #SC as he had a lovely big notebook, or they might have been on a very boring blind date, most most probably it was a job interview. Anyway, TMWF & CS sat at the back of the room, and everyone else sat at the other end of the room, so a divide was already forming. People kept on coming into the room. Some strode in with purpose, others hovered nervously at the door. The reassuring sight of piles of notebooks on tables reassured them that they were in the right place. I think James Ward was slightly stunned by the turnout, and therefore didn’t start the meeting dead on time. The register & the Stabilo Bionic Worker were passed around, and then names were called & hands were raised for #stationeryclub registration. Quite rightfully there were gasps all around the room as @wowser raised his arm. Then messages from people unable to attend were read out, and love was sent, which is nice. Now I can’t really remember what happened next, its all a bit of a blur. I think everyone started to talk at once & James Ward lost control of the room (he needed a gavel). Anyway, TMWF gently suggested group discussions (he was barracking from the back), so people from each group (these groups were formed by where you had chosen to sit) would talk about their notebooks. I think the order of questions got a bit muddled, but first question was obviously something about notebooks. Someone* had a lovely handmade notebook, which was huge, but looked lovely. And someone* else used a proper Daler-Rowney sketchpad, which he liberated from the Office Stationery Cupboard. Then I think somehow the conversation developed into “what do you use your notepad for”, as someone* showed us their notepad, which they drafted emails in. This caused a bit of excitment, as TMWF pointed out that this could be done on a computer. Conversations broke out across the room, and again James Ward had to tap his Stabilo Bionic worker against a beer glass (it was a lovely large beer galss, does it have a proper name, don’t think its a stein?) to bring some sort of order to the room. Then “number of note books” was discussed. I know that I garbled about my 4 notebooks (1 Muji & 3 Moleskine, pictures in previous blog post). I was asked two questions, a very nice lady* asked what sort of bag I have (I showed my hideous bag. People don’t think it is hideous, but the opening isn’t big enough. And its a bit County & although I am from the country, I am not Country. The girl in Liberty knew what I meant. She was from Cheshire). And then The Man in a Suit ( I now know he is @biltawulf) asked why, if I had so many notebooks, I still had to write on my hand (I was mortified that I had failed to use a specific note book to write down possible buses back to Euston. I still feel dreadful about not using a notebook. One day, the shame will fade). Other people spoke about their notebooks, there were specific books for work/phone calls/ nice things to do at the weekend. Again, the meeting descended into chaos. But James Ward pointed out that #stationeryclub was evolving, that it was just “in beta” and at its “grass roots”. And that we are at “the coal face” of #stationeryclub, and that it is “not shiny”. It was then time for a break.
In break time (rather than play British Bulldog or the game that I think was unique to my school, where the several of the largest 5th year boys gave several of the smallest 1st year boys a piggyback, and then ran at each other on the top yard) I spoke to Ed & the lovely @BekkiMeehan, but not @tipyourhat. I have forgotten to mention the notebooks that the Meehans wrote their letters to each other in, when they had the Atlantic Ocean between them. A lovely, lovely use of note books.
Anyway, pens were rattled against glass, and #stationeryclub came back into disorder. Now came the contentious part of the evening. The Moleskine. Immediately there were heated debates about the pronunciation of the name. And then James Ward read out a question from Twitter – “are Moleskines made from real moles”. He read out the Official Moleskine ingredients, but they were ambiguous, and it is a real possibility that many moles are being slaughtered AS I WRITE, just to provide people like me with a pretentious notebook. A Voleskine was mentioned, but I think this was just a slip of the tongue, and not a new, must have breed of notebooks. I can’t begin to describe The Moleskine Discussion. It was heated. James Ward read out the company blurb;
“Moleskine® notebook is the heir and successor to the legendary notebook used by artists and thinkers over the past two centuries: among them Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, and Bruce Chatwin.”
To which someone* shouted out “fuck Hemingway”. Again, conversations broke out across the room (like measles). Moleskines were denounced as being as ubiquitous as Marc Jacobs by the smiley @hencehemmo. Fuzzy edges were mentioned. Someone* showed us her lovely Muji notebook, which has TWO elastic bands, and a clear pocket, and dotted paper, which she claimed was much better than a Moleskine (I bought one today, it cost £3.95 and is every bit as good as claimed) Other people expressed their disdain very vocally. James Ward encouraged this, he likened #stationeryclub to group therapy, and said we are all friends. He also said we shouldn’t “assume knowledge” when someone* asked “what is a moleskine?”. This is why James Ward is Our Leader.
Then it was time To Vote. If you thought things couldn’t get any worse more exciting, you were wrong. The votes were almost the Breaking Point of #stationeryclub. The first vote sounds easy enough, “what sort of paper do you prefer, ruled, plain or square?”(the nice Muji dotted paper wasn’t allowed for consideration). For some reason people couldn’t quite grasp the concept of this choice, so James Ward made everyone pretend that there was a Stationery Dictator, and therefore you only had one choice of paper (he did point out that there isn’t really a Stationery Dictator, which is nice to know). The room voted THREE times. James Ward was driven to shouting at us. He got very upset about the possibility that people may have voted twice. Despair was written all over his face (but not in real ink). The second vote was slight more convoluted, “what binding do you prefer?”. The choices were Spiral, Glue, Stitch or Stapled. And then someone pointed out that Ringbound is not the same as Spiral, so that was added to the options. I can’t remember how many times this vote was taken. But I do remember (I took notes) that at some point, in response to “why are we voting” James Ward said “I thought it would be nice”. (In my notes I have someone saying “emotional, like Falco”, but not too sure who that was). I think there was another vote, over width of lines on ruled paper (narrow or wide). And then it all just seemed to be over, like a balloon deflating. There was no conclusion, and the results of the vote were just written in a notebook, not announced to the room. People moved around, some left, others started conversations about things other than stationery. James Ward was left, gently rocking, at his table. But he did assure me that #stationeryclub 3 will rise out of the ashes of the Moleskine/Vote debacle.
Friends & Family are already telling me to go to the next one.
*I’m sorry, I don’t know who all these people are. But they were all lovely.
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Tags: #stationeryclub, Moleskine, Muji