If you were expecting a blog post vaguely resembling the plot of the little known movie “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”, you’re going to be sadly disappointed. This “funny thing” was more of a “chance discovery”.
During the spring I visited Frankfurt, and went for a walk after dinner – taking photos as I went. Along the way I happened upon a street covered with cobblestones, and lined with bars and cafes – and had no clue where it might be. Until last week, when I looked it up on Google Maps. All I had to go on was a photo I had taken of the cobbles at sunset – but fortunately there was a large building in the background. Armed with the 3D mode in Google Maps, I found the building, and looked around it from various angles – and discovered the street immediately. The more miraculous thing is how I have managed to miss it so often in the past.
Anyway – after arriving in Germany this afternoon and checking into the hotel, I grabbed some food at one of the many street-side restaurants, and then went for a wander – off in search of the fabled street. It took minutes to find, which I suppose is a win for Google Maps, and a loss for my own idiocy.
And here comes the chance discovery. While wandering along, I spied the word “Moleskine” above a shop, and thought “that must be a local coincidence – that CAN’T be the company that makes the lovely little notebooks that are lined up on my shelf at home”. Only it WAS the company that makes the lovely little notebooks that are lined up on my shelf at home. I’m still not sure how I managed to walk back out of the shop without buying anything – because OF COURSE I walked straight in.
Actually, I am sure. Quite apart from the lovely little notebooks costing two or three times as much as a normal notebook, it struck me that the company are trying to pull an Apple – they are trying to sell the idea of being a writer in the shape of an aspirational “thing”. Don’t get me wrong – the notebooks are very well made, but they don’t actually inspire you, or suddenly deliver any writing talent into your head. They are just notebooks.
I got as far as holding an A5 notebook in my hand, and began looking at pens before only remaining molecules of common sense left in my head fought a stunning recovery. I looked at the price of the rollerball pen I was considering buying, and realised the madness of it all (you can buy an entire box of Bic biros for less than a Moleskine pen).
So yes – I walked back through the city – via the supermarket, where I bought chocolate that has already vanished – and pondered on the thing I hadn’t bought. We’ll keep very quiet about the half filled Moleskine notebook sitting on the shelf at home. Very quiet.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have the new Doctor Who to sit and watch. I downloaded it onto my work laptop while waiting at Heathrow Airport this morning. High fives all around.