Saturday, 19 July 2014

The Filthy Platen has Moved.

Good evening.

It is with great sadness that I announce that I will no longer will be maintaining this blog on the 'Blogger' network.

Blogger has been pretty good to me for the past couple of years, but it has become necessary to move on to another site along with a new-look for my blog, and bit of a change in direction.

But it isn't all bad news. Actually, it's a lot of really good news. You can now find my blog over at its own domain at:

So head on over and check out the new furniture. All the old blog entries are there, along with all the same photos and links. But it is now my new home.

Those who use readers and RSS based services like Flipboard, you can access the site via:

Thanks for you support, and for reading. I hope you'll join me over at my new blog.

But wait, there's more! 

While I was building my new blog, I decided to re-start a blog that I started about 4 or so years ago, but left idle after a while. It isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea, so let me tell you about the project before you decide to go and have a look for yourself.

The blog is called 'My wartime blog', and it was a project that started out as a short story that I wrote back in 2008. Back then (and still today) there was a lot of discussion about refugees and asylum seekers that have been trying to gain entry into Australia via boats piloted by people-smugglers. There is an awful lot of negativity in our society about these people, and I started the blog as a means to put their actions into a context that fellow Australians could understand.

As such the blog is a fictional account of living in an Australia that is slowly being ripped apart by war, causing its citizens to flee the country via any means possible to countries that eventually turn on them with the same suspicion and racism that we currently give these refugees.

As such the focus of the blog is to write as honestly and accurately as possible about the conditions of living in a war-zone. The story is still only in its early stages, and it is written in 'daily' episodic entries. I've attempted to make the writing appear as realistic as possible, which often leaves the audience in a confused position - as, like someone trapped in a war-zone, they never know what is really going on. Each entry is written quickly, and without proof reading (much like this blog really) to give a certain air of rushed authenticity.

Just a warning: It is quite graphic, and will become increasingly violent. As I said, it certainly isn't everyone's cup of tea. Hopefully I'll write it to conclusion one day, but it is likely to be a very long journey.

The blog can be found at:

But you probably will want to start from the very start, which is located at:

Thanks, and see you around.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

There comes a time...



I'm packing my bike and getting out of here.

I've had enough of this invasive Google sham.

I'll see you in another place. Another time. Another blog.

Time to move on. Rebuild. Start fresh.

A new city, and a new home.








Monday, 14 July 2014

Why I'm excited about Richard Polt's book.

The cover - as proposed on Richard's blog

Is it a book about typewriters? Or just writing.

Yeah, I admit it. I'm a typewriter collector. I intended to stop at 3, but then I found myself rescuing a glass key Royal portable from key choppers and it all went up-hill from there. The more blogs I read, the more I talked and met with enthusiasts, the more I found myself looking at online selling sites with eagerness.

And I collect for one person:- Myself. I both use my machines and appreciate them. So it is very important that they are highly functional and beautiful at the same time. These are the two key elements in my collecting criteria.

With that in mind I think it is time that I explain something that I said in the comments section of my blog a few months back.

 "It probably doesn't surprise you that I'm not a subscriber of Etcetera". 

Richard Polt - over at the Writing Ball blog edited the ETCetera early typewriter collectors publication for quite a while. I also understand that the publication has remained something that has been quite dear to his heart. The magazine is well written, well presented, and a great go-to for people who suddenly find themselves interested in Typewriter history.

And Richard certainly knows his stuff when it comes to the history of these machines. He is a serious collector with a thirst for knowledge of the history of them.

So as a self-proclaimed collector, why aren't I a subscriber?

You know, I do love reading up on typewriter history. There's a lot of great and interesting stories of the yesteryear kind and the tales can be genuinely involving. But that history it isn't why I use or collect typewriters. I haven't bought Michael Adler's book for the same reason, along with a handful of other books about typewriter history. While they are all well written and interesting, I feel that too often they focus on this history being about bearded white guys inventing sh*t. Stuff which seems of largely no consequence about what I like about writing with and collecting typewriters.

There were roughly as many Olivetti Valentine typewriters made as Blickensderfer 8s. Which one is considered more collectable? *

In a phone call about a year ago, John Lavery made an interesting comment to me while we were talking about some of the other collectors attending Herman Price's get-together  'We'll never be in the same league as those guys' he said 'and I'm pretty happy with that'. I initially found this puzzling, as I can look around John's workshop and see some incredible pieces - a Glass sided Triumph, a Densmore, a couple of Blicks and Hammonds, a Remington 2 and one of the 15 known Visigraphs. If anyone has a right to claim his position in that league, I'd say it was him. 

'Nah, I think I just like to repair them'. John said to qualify his statement. And with that I realised that John and I had far more in common than I did with many of the well-known collectors out there. It wasn't the chase of the rare or the weird that drove him or myself. It was something more... personal: it was what I did with the machines and what I visually loved about them. Just like John, I love fixing them - it is like solving a giant mechanical puzzle, much in the same way that I love to tinker with my car or motorbike. And like those two other big machines in my life, I also love using them.

My grandfather, the Remington typewriter mechanic lost the top digits of two fingers fidgeting with a chain on a motorbike (a Triumph, just for reference) when he was young. It certainly didn't stop him fixing typewriters long into a late retirement. Oddly this piece of history means more to me than Hess and Myers efforts to build the Royal typewriter factory. 

Back to the book.... 

I saw the plan for Richard's book last year, and I was intrigued to see that no-where on the plan was a deep exploration of the history of the typewriter. Bearded white-guys it seems, isn't on the menu - except for hipsters and... well, J.P. Huard and Mark Petersen, who currently use typewriters and are proudly bearded. My kinda guys! 

These are people writing, repairing and loving typewriters in many different ways. They are a community, not a history. We tend to look at typewriters as historical pieces. But they are alive and kicking - and on my damn desk! This, it appears, is what Richard's book is about. 

Richard explores a lot of the typosphere, and is very passionate about it. He's a very smart chap - he's not 'Professor Richard Polt' because he likes shoving that title in front of his name. So his book is likely to be a very well thought out exploration of the community. And this is something that genuinely interests me. 

I still think there's a lot of history out there that isn't really covered or taken seriously, such as the women of the typing pools, the mechanics and their stories, the sales men and women and of course - the writers. It is those histories that I am personally far more interested in than the 'bearded white men inventing sh*t' history. Those neglected stories are that has flowed on to make the enthusiast community what it is today. 

Richard's book may not be broadly culturally ground-breaking stuff, but it is a big step in a different direction on a subject that has a lot more culture to it than we currently recognise. I see it as piece of literature that is far more accessible to the casual enthusiast that makes up the larger community, than yet another publication for the devoted niche collector with big money tied up in machines that are never used. 

So, hurry up and publish already! 

Friday, 11 July 2014

A place (not) called home

Foolishly I believed I had a place of my own. A place that I could write and bash at a typewriter and feel productive and alive. A place of warmth, love and enjoyment while I explore the inner worlds of my imagination without persecution or fear of death.

Oh my friends, how wrong was I.

You see, I now live with a cat. A cat named Cookie. And may the name Cookie strike fear into your heart in the same way that the name 'Vlad the impaler' does, for living with a cat is a ocean of anxiety and impending doom.

Cats, my friends... are known to be vicious psychopathic murderers, and I fear that it is only a question of time before my time is up. The murderous nature of cats was recently exposed in an info-graphic on the comic site 'The Oatmeal'. The info-graphic can be found HERE,  It is worth a read so that you know about the true nature of our furious furry friends.

Here's a quick snippet...

Sure, I'm bigger than Cookie by an huge factor, but this by no means guarantees that I can rest easy at night. As the Tortoise proved to the Hare, you shouldn't take your advantage for granted.

At first I thought that Cookie and I got along just fine. I fed her, changed her water, and gave her the occasional warm lap to hop onto. I even opened and closed the door to the back yard for her so she could go and check out if the ginger cat from next door had peed on her lemon plant. But this wasn't enough. Oh no, it wasn't.

Soon she snubbed my lap and instead would just sit there looking at me with a foul expression in her eyes and her teeth bared in a threatening mood.

I sat down to dinner one evening and it wasn't long before I had Cookie sitting next to me in expectation of getting some of my food. Just for reference, She seems to like expensive cheese and freshly slaughtered cattle. On this occasion Cookie moved around behind me then started beating my spine with her tail in a series of rapid movements. Surprised by this unexpected action I sat frozen in confusion. However, seconds later I felt the piercing grasp of a left front claw trying to rip towards one of my kidneys from behind. Almost immediately after that, Cookie tried to tare with her right claw inwards to my other kidney - before she fled up stairs.

Later I found Cookie sitting on my typing table, clearly asserting her dominance over my position. She Partially smothered my Triumph Perfekt in a way that implied that she could do the same to my face as I slept.

Oh sure, everyone else in the house insists that I am just crazy and that Cookie really just likes me in a cat way. But I know what is going on - Cookie has played the game and made sure that before she smothers me in my sleep then rips open my jugular in order to finish me off before she consumes my kidneys for breakfast, she has everyone in the house on her side first.

Bastard cat!

Cookie fleeing as I collect evidence of her dastardly threats. 

So I wait and sleep with one eye open while I anticipate and fear my impending doom. While everyone else is around, Cookie is the usual friendly and loving kitty that everyone thinks she is. But the moment they leave, she hops up on the table and gazes at me with malevolence and hunger. 

Yes.... with a murderous and hungry gaze.....

A "Your kidneys look delicious" Gaze.

This could be the last blog I ever write. If you see a cat running around with one of my fat fingers hanging out of her mouth, please catch her and get that finger (and what is left of me) to a hospital. She's probably trying to stop me writing and exposing her murderous intentions. 

Farewell..... And I hope we meet again. 

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Filthy wheels - A June weekend in Wangaratta.

My fingers just weren't hitting the right keys today. Never mind, if I wanted my typing to be perfect, I'd have used a word-processor. Anyway, I have decided to file my typing and travelling adventures under the new header seen above - titled 'Filthy Wheels', along side Filthy Labs for my repair experiments. Hope you enjoy the show.