Thursday, 16 July 2009

Pilot M90 & Moleskine Notebook.

I wanted a fountain pen with classic "outlook", so got a Pilot Myu 90 from an eBay seller who is quite helpful and specialised in getting non-domestic release stationaries. This is a sort of Pilot paying "homage" to the Murex or Myu in Japan, a famous stainless steel pen with the integral nib produced by Pilot between 1971 to 1981. Pilot stopped producing the original two decades ago but pen collectors continued to hunt for it. The original in pristine conditions would costs alot and getting increasingly rarer as each year goes by. Thus it is great when Pilot announced they would release a limited to 8000 Myu 90 last year. The 2008 Myu 90 is different and not an absolute repro. It has a fatter pen cap thus meaning the original, minimalistic, streamline body is not replicated. Then there is the gaudy looking jewel blue stone on the cap. But I am glad to manage to obtain one.
Then there is Moleskine. Last year's Dockers K1 came with a San Francisco Moleskine City notebook, something of which I had not heard of before until then. I mean, how often would I use a notebook which costs between MYR 90 to MYR 120? From its name, does it mean that it uses mole skin? That's mole, a yucky looking tikus like creature...a further checking reveal otherwise. Oil cloth covers over a cardboard instead. Safe! As a point of knowledge, moleskin is a type of heavy cotton fabric. It is used in clothing for its softness and durability, as well as popularly use to cover an actor's genital in a non-explicit nude scene ;).Nevertheless, I gave in to temptation and got a standard version of its notebook, perhaps the one and only in this lifetime of mine, from Kinokuniya KLCC, a couple of months after that. Mom and Esther would skin me alive if they were ever know I blew hard cash on a notebook. And they will probably make a notebook cover out of it.
Seriously, the acid free paper is darn smooth, at least to a newbie like me who was and still is, using standard composition exercise book students are writing on in schools or even a 555 memo pad paper. Cheap yes, but economical. There is the distinctive elastic band to hold the book closed. It lies flat on its back, stiched on spine, making it easy to write or doodle on, a page marker in the form of a ribbon and an expandable pocket within its rear cover.
One marketing hype popularized by Moleskine was that famous artists/writers like Piccaso, Hemmingway, Chatwin supposedly used them a lot. They did use the original moleskin covered notebooks (also known as moleskine but with lower case of m) at one point or another I suppose. The notebooks were greatly used by writers, artists and poets of that period. This was because I suspected, and to put it in a local context, it was the 555 memo pad or generic composition book (the usual faux marble covered notebook) of its time. Another point is that the current Moleskine is not a direct repro or descendant of the original and are re-produced based on Chatwin's description who is a great admirer of the original. The original moleskines were mostly produced in Italy by small manufacturers and the last batch was made in 86. An Italian company, srl, produce the notebook based on Chatwin's description, marketed the notebook, and registered it as the Moleskine brand in 1996. As of 2006, it is printed in China and stiched, bound in Italy. And it is a successful product, albeit with a twist to its actual history.
Honestly, I am sure there is a hypebeast lurking within all the marketing mumbo jumbo, and all the drool given to the product mostly consist of the usual fashionistas, writers and poets looking for a cool and understated accesories or even an imaginary thread to tie a "heritage" to the past greats, perhaps for inspiration or hoping to make a great story but I do admit the product does give off a certain degree of admiration, well made, even if it is just a darn notebook. I guess it is just like the age old perspective of a Mac, beautiful and trendy but not so much as useful, at least in this part of the nation. Ultimately, the question is, would I be actually using it? Writing on it using the Pilot M90 perhaps, sipping on a cuppa of MYR12 latte after midnight in a cigerette filled cafe, with full on 30s gear...indeed to each his/her own.

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