Stationery Club and Confessions of a Moleskine Fangirl

From Moleitau's Flickr stream: want

After seeing James Ward‘s presentation on London Twirls at Ignite, we found out about Stationery Club.  The second meeting was last night and today people have asked:

“Is it a real club?” Yes.  A real-life, lots of people in a bar, scaring the non-stationery normals out of the room type club.  It looked like there were more than thirty of us upstairs at the Horse and Groom.  I’m not quite sure what I’d expected but yes, it was a semi-serious, question-led discussion which only occasionally descended into drunken chatter, rowdiness and generously traded insults.

“Did you really talk about stationery for two hours?” And the rest. We left about 9:30 because we were ravenous, but I think conversation and debate continued on. There was voting.  It was awesomely good fun.

The topic of choice was the Notebook and it was always going to descend into mayhem when the word Moleskine came up.  Firstly as to whether they’re made of real moleskin,  and should we choose a pronounciation? Or go with the slightly affected ‘Mo-lay-skeen-ay’ in tribute to the the Johnny-come-lately Italian company who’ve reissued them? They used to be produced by family businesses in Paris until 1986.  Is its success a triumph of marketing?  Surely nobody buys into the schlocky story that they peddle with the books – that it was beloved of Bruce Chatwin, Ernest Hemmingway et al.  Meh, who cares? Instead, look at the practical, stylish Muji number which was championed at the meeting – typical thoughtful Japanese design which includes a plastic pocket for cards, two elastics and dotted paper (ooooooh) for versatility.  It was popular, for sure…

But I’m going to be honest.  Even though I’m not quite sure why, I’m a roaring Moleskine fangirl (Clairefontaine being my second choice).  First and foremost because I’ve always liked the stock (though I’ve had issues with the soft-cover A5 folio and bleed-through recently) and paper is always the first and foremost consideration in buying a notebook for me. I’ve got quite the collection in current rotation – currently using the red 18-month week to view diary, the monthly planner for work, various sizes of A6 and A5 black ruled hardcovers for notes, red large cahier journals for writing projects and black ones for morning pages.

I used to have a bad habit of starting lots of different notebooks and running them concurrently for the same projects. I’m trying to stop doing that. Stopping buying them is another matter altogether.  It could also be because I see things like this and this and they make me think that maybe having the notebook is the first step to actually doing something interesting with it, to expressing yourself more creatively:

:: Mike Rohde’s amazing SWSW Interactive 2010 Sketchnotes ::

Perhaps it’s because I’m a freelancer:

Freelancers are more likely than most people to love Moleskine notebooks. We need to keep and manage our own schedules and to-dos. We’re creative, so we need a place to store and expand ideas. We need to take notes at meetings with clients–or at least look like we are. We need to appear productive and busy in coffee-shops–even when we aren’t.

The Freelance Switch

Or because I’m a geek. And an analog geek at that. Maybe I’ve just always had a thing about paper, pens (ooh, pens!) and the potential of a new page.  Perhaps it’s because fond as I am of my mac and iPhone, the former is on its last legs and I need to be super organised at the moment. A notebook doesn’t run out of battery at a crucial moment.

I’m investigating GTD at the moment so what I’m most interested to see is the new Moleskine Folio.  Paper with rounded corners that you can print yourself? Bring. It. On.