On a recent trip back from Singapore I watched a couple of documentaries on the flight.
The first one was called ‘Instant Dreams’ which was all about Polaroid Photography so I was in my absolute element watching this.
The second documentary I was drawn to watching was ‘California Typewriter’ which is about a Typewriter shop in California and people whose lives are connected by typewriters (including Tom Hanks who I discovered through this documentary that he is an avid typewriter collector).
I began to think how I would love to own a typewriter again. Being a child of the 1980s, I inevitably did own a typewriter back then which I remember being beige and brown that my parents had bought me at a car boot fair but I stopped using it once the ribbon ran out and my parents never bought a new one for it.
My mum also briefly owned an electronic typewriter when she did a typewriting course and I remember I used to practice her homework which helped me learn to touch-type. She eventually sold the typewriter onto a friend.
The documentary had re-ignited a love for typewriters and I knew I really wanted to get one but I kept thinking what would I use it for and could I really justify buying one?
Then I started to think about all the Polaroid photos I had been recently taking and how it would be quite nice to label the dull white frame ones.
Unfortunately for me, my hand writing is terrible and I just feel that it would really let the actual photo down if I just wrote on them.
I think at some point I must have subconsciously seen some polaroid photos that had been typewritten and thought about how I’d much prefer to do that.
I also like writing fiction and although it’s very easy to write it on a laptop, I do tend to get distracted by misspelling and re-reading, re-writing etc so like the thought of having a typewriter to be able to bash out the story (errors and all) without the distractions, then refine it on my laptop.
At this point I therefore felt I could justify getting a typewriter but I would be patient and wait until the right one came along rather than go out of my way to really look for one.
I don’t really have a lot of time to visit boot fairs etc and I also didn’t like the thought of buying a typewriter online as I wanted to try it first as I really do believe that you need to get a feel for it to see if you’ll work well with it.
Every now and again I like to visit a shop in Brighton called Snoopers Paradise as they are well known for selling second hand items and it’s not far from Zoing Image where I buy a lot of my camera film.
After popping to Zoing Image to get some film, I decided to pop in there and as luck would have it, Stall number 52, owned by a gentleman called Lexi, specialises in servicing and selling typewriters.
There were two typewriters I was interested in on his stall. The first one was a Triumph Tippa from the 1960s which was cream in colour. However, when I tried it out I quickly realised the keyboard was a ‘QWERTZ’ one which meant it was a German model so was no good to me. The standard British keyboard is ‘QWERTY’.
I also liked a blue Brother Model 200 typewriter from the 1970s which he also had for sale. I was particularly drawn to the font of this model which I think is a Pinta Typewriting Font and thought would look great on the Polaroid photos.
I tried out the Brother machine and really liked the feel of how it typed and it was in such an amazing condition, almost like it had never been used.
I really liked the colour of it and it was great that it had been serviced with a new ribbon so I could get typing on it straight away.
The typewriter cost me £30 and I personally feel I got a real bargain in view of the fantastic condition it is in.
Lexi was really helpful and also provided me with the original case which was immaculate and an original typewriter manual for the machine so I could easily learn how to use it without having to spend time looking online trying to find one.
If anybody is in the Brighton area and are looking for a typewriter, then I’d highly recommend visiting his stall.
I can honestly say I’ve not been disappointed by my purchase. I’ve been using the typewriter every day since I got it.
Here are a couple of Polaroid photos I’ve typewritten on so far. The first two were taken with Polaroid colour film:
The next three were taken with Polaroid 600 colour film which expired in 2009: