This is no raison d’etre here. No grand theme, no clever premise. This is a ‘tumbleweed blog’ that goes wherever prevailing winds choose to carry it. I might write about art, or ramble on about pop culture, politics, Covid-19, race relations, history, architecture, philosophy, sports, literature, photography, movies … the typewriters I restore, the books I write, Life and (of course) the contrary condition. Then again, I might simply drift away and leave the page entirely blank. That is the beauty of a tumbleweed blog: you never know what tomorrow brings and anything – absolutely anything – is possible. 

11  November 2021

Adler Gabriele 25 (1975)

It took me several weeks to clean, restore and repair this unique typewriter – which had spent at least a decade sitting in a dark, humid Kowloon warehouse.  

The Adler Gabriele 25 is one of my top ten portable typewriters. It is durable and easy to maintain (I have restored half a dozen over the past two years and have yet to meet one that I did not like!).

In many ways, the Gabriele 25 is an  outlier – an old-fashioned typewriter that does not get the recognition it deserves. The chunky keys, steeply banked like soccer stadium seats, are a joy to those who use a typewriter for several hours at a time. Purists will sniffily point out the plastic top cover, but who cares? It types near-perfect text and, while it might not be as “cool” as the Olivetti Lettera 32, or as “sexy” as the scarlet Valentine it is, in my humble opinion, a superior typewriter to both.

Unfortunately, this  particular model is not for sale, already reserved for a client in Toronto. However I am in the process of restoring another Gabriele 25 which should be complete by late December 2021. You can view my spec sheet (typed using the Gabriele 25) and more photos of the typewriter here.

10 November 2021

The times they are a-changin’

The first page of the fire-damaged script for Alfred Hitchcock’s seminal movie, PSYCHO. The script was written on an Olympia SG1 typewriter by screenwriter Joseph Stefano in 1960.  The trend these days is for scripts with bare-bones narrative, and an emphasis on dialogue and action. So to read this beautifully typed first page with zero dialogue was a joy. 

9 November  2021

Finally, almost unbelievably, I found a pair of size-12 DMs in Hong Kong! Men’s shoe sizes here rarely go above 9 or 10. But a brand new pair of size-12 Doctor Marten’s is almost unheard of. Not only that but, due to lack of demand for oversized shoes here, I got them at half price. O, lucky man!

Growing up in the 1970s, I always wanted a pair of Doctor Marten’s. Unfortunately, at that time in the UK, Doctor Marten’s were associated with skinheads, football hooligans, and the National Front. Thankfully, times have changed and I can now wear the famous air-cushioned ‘bouncing soles’ without being branded as a thug. 

24  September 2021 

Ten years ago, I wrote a film script – “One Crowded Hour” –  a love story set in Hong Kong as a new and deadly virus hits the city. I recently revisited the script.  It was okay for a  first draft. Too  much dialogue, but a good and still relevant story.  At the time, I presented the script to several people I knew in the Hong Kong film industry. They loved it, but  was told repeatedly that it would be impossible to make in Hong Kong as the story was ‘politically sensitive’  and too critical of the Chinese government. So I put the script in a drawer and forgot about it. Cleaning up my files as I prepare to move, I discovered the script. Here is the first page  … 

21 October 2021

“I believe that your future is governed entirely by the choices you make throughout your life. And every choice made – from the smallest to the most profound – reduces the number of paths until, inevitably, you find yourself on one road and you must go where it leads. The problem is, you never know how many paths remain and no one tells you when you are on the final, choice-less highway.” — from the novel, Night Garden Of The Asylum.

19 October 2021

Le Meridian Hotel in downtown Shanghai, fondly referred to as ‘the Batman building’. Photographed in 2014. When I first arrived in the city, it was one of my visual reference points – ensuring that I would not get lost when roaming Shanghai by day or night,

18 October 2021

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