Thursday, April 17, 2014

Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez, 1927-2014

Colombian-born literary icon and Nobel laureate
Gabriel García Márquez will be remembered as
the "father of magic realism."

His magnum opus One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967, Cien años de soledad
remains a solid favorite of mine. I would like to believe that he wrote it 
with his Olivetti Lexikon 80, another solid favorite of mine.

Photo source 1  2 

Friday, April 11, 2014

A new addition: Olivetti Summa Prima 20

"Addition" in every sense. The Olivetti Summa Prima 20 manual
adding machine (c. 1960) was designed by Marcello Nizzoli of the Studio
44, Lettera 22/32, and Lexikon 80 fame. Not surprising for me to
land one, no?

The mod body lines, the turquoise color, the understated elegance,
the Summa Quanta adding machine is every inch an Olivetti. Sorely

missing is the Olivetti label, any donors out there?

Always a good thing- this machine was used by Wood's Typewriter
Company in Madison Ave (Chicago? New York?). I could not resist swiping
this a couple of months ago because at US $15.00, it was an offer
from heaven. And I've always been fascinated by adding machines, this
is due to the fact that I have zero aptitude in math... arithmetic, really.

If you recall, I had an unfortunate shipment last year involving the motorized Summa Quanta 20, which arrived in sorry fragments. I really wanted a manual rather than an electric Olivetti adding machine, so this is a happy ending. Now how on earth does this thing work?! I will get to tinker with it more as soon as my schedules ease up. All I know for sure is that it is fully functional, and that black ribbon is for addition and red is for subtraction. Serendipitously, Richard P. just posted about his stunning Victor Adding Machine; I can probably get some tips from his post. Update: I found a user's manual in English. 

Okay, folks, it's Adding Machine Week in the typosphere!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Singapore: Joo Chiat, Chicken Rice, and Kinetic Rain


Typo correction: Kampong Katong

Just at the edge of Joo Chiat Road, I spotted this striking, retro-future, oddity of a building. 
How's that for a dramatic contrast. Perhaps Claudia can i.d.?  (It's the Singapore
 Post Centre, thanks Claudia!)

Mouth-agape fried fish from a restaurant window. Neither
for members of our species weaned on meat-and-taters,
nor for those whose primary image of fish is a dreary, trapezoid-
shaped piece of protein rendered even more nondescript
by layers of breading and thick creamy sauce. (:

I was really going for seafood, especially the Singaporean
specialty, Chili Crab. But it was a sweltering hundred degrees out
and I was famished, so I targeted an air-conditioned restaurant
and ordered Singapore's national dish, Hainanese Chicken Rice.
You have a choice of roasted or steamed, I opted for the latter.
A cold dish, the subtly flavored goodness of Chicken Rice 
perfect sense for hot and humid Singapore.

  My subconscious was correct- a typewriter sighting in a small antique
shop. The two standards (Remingtons?) were in sorry condition
but certainly didn't lack character, especially in the given setting.
The shopkeeper, a po-faced lady in her thirties, gave me permission 
to shoot the typewriters, but when I took a couple of extra shots, 
she gave me a glazed-over, dirty look, so I had to bid adieu. I should've 
taken the cue from the "Please do not press the Key!!!" legalese. 
Anyway, I'm convinced that antique shops look the same anywhere

A seventies-themed cafe with a front divider/menu display
mounted on a vintage TV and biscuit cans. Coolness!

Singapore's Changi Airport has been ranked world's number 1 and for good reason. The only international airport with movie theaters, koi pond, live butterfly garden(!), among many other amenities to pamper the weary traveller, it is definitely a dream airport (per official ranking, Hong Kong, Korea's Incheon, and Amsterdam Schipol are its close rivals). Below is a vid I shot in the departure area, a mesmerizing art installation called "Kinetic Rain." Yes, I'll be back, Singapore!

* Typecast via Montgomery Ward Escort 55 / Olivetti Lettera 32

Friday, March 28, 2014

Type-in in Southeast Asia's Lion City

Type-in number 2 at Claudia's apartment. L-R: Ton, Naz, Elaine, 
Claudia, and Fudlana. Non-Singaporean, male, and at least twenty- 
odd years older than this lovely group, the Sesame Street ditty was 
ringing in my head, "One of these things is not like the others..." 
That said, we had one thing in common aside from typewriters- 
most of us are educators by profession.

A typosphere universal: typewriters and cases colonizing a home.
Claudia has an impressive all-imported collection, including Groma, 

Olivetti Graphika, and two gold Royal QDL's (hers and his!). I 
learned that typeface is the linchpin for typewriter collecting in 
Singapore as Claudia's typecast below attests. Adwoa would've 
connected well with the Singaporean collectors.

The view of Singapore's East Coast from Claudia's living room window. Claudia and Jase
downplay it but as you see, it is postcard perfect.

My less-than-perfect typecast at the earlier "Deli Moroccan" fun type-in
with Claudia and Elaine (pictured below). Apart from a couple of furtive
glances, we typed away happily without hoopla. The Singaporean insurgency 

is going to be duck soup. 

I specifically requested to use Claudia's burgundy
Gossen Tippa. Stunning machine and a dream to
type on, it set off my grail alarm. Elaine owns the 

impossibly flat and inarguably collectible Rooy. 
The ladies each have a collection of thirty 

This is Elaine's typecast. We didn't talk about it but we covered 
the same topics. Typewriter synchronicity.

A thoughtful gift from Claudia: the coffee table book Urban Sketchers Singapore
Many thanks for your warm welcome, graciousness, and enthusiasm! And happy typing 
to the Singaporean insurgency, I hope to see all of you again. Perhaps sooner
than you think.

* From what I gathered, Claudia will be joining the typosphere soon. An advanced welcome, Claudia, we look forward to your blog launch!
* Up next: Sightings in Singapore

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Populaire redux: Typists Rule!

Aha, WD-40! You need a crash course from the Typosphere,
monsieur. They hired repairmen from the Czech Republic 

where, apparently, typewriters are still being used.

* Stills and text from Typists Rule, bonus vid from the British DVD release of Populaire (dir. Régis Roinsard, France) @2012 Les Productions du Trésor. 
* Typecast via Triumph Perfekt

And here's a new typewriter photo from 
the honorary typhospherian...

"A tiny sample of the collection. Moving some machines 
down the road. I have to!"  Hanx

* I'll be in Singapore and Manila for a couple of weeks. Cheers.