Betrayal of a Typewriter


Technology is making a strong argument against my manual Imperial typewriter at the moment.

I’ve had the idea in my head for a while to make a shirt out of typed text. The problem with this is that with a typewriter having set margins, I’ve been having to make the pattern in panels. This obstructs the look of the piece a little.

Yesterday I had a crit. My tutor suggested, “why don’t you just print out multiples?”.

“Well because… because I want to stay true to my materials… and well… because… oh that sounds difficult… and because…”

the dream‘the dream’

I muttered nothings for a few moments and then realised as lovely as the idea of me hand typing the whole shirt is, I’d be so much more productive if i sped up the process with more advanced technology. And technically I’ve still typed the original text that got copied. That counts, right? …Right?

It counts. I’ve come to terms with it now. By scanning in one printed panel and multiplying it on photoshop then printing it on the large scale art school printers, I can do 3 weeks worth of typing in an hour. So I can make more art. I believe this is what they call a ‘win-win situation’.

the reality‘the reality’


I Like Old Things

It’s often a source of amusement between my friends, “Rachael, why don’t you listen to a song that’s less than 40 years old”, “Rachael, Bob Dylan will never marry you, he’s practically a walking corpse now.” Shut up guys. I like old things. I like old music. I like old fashion. I like old photographs. And in a warped way – yes, if you’re going to count Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan or even Charlie Chaplin, then I suppose I like old men too. Though I’d rather not word it like that.

Perhaps I just enjoy stereotypes too much. Its easy to fall in love with the idea of the 1950’s or 60’s. Things depicted in films, long braided hair, tie-dye,  rebelling without a cause, and a Volkswagon Bus. The whole tarnished image of it. I’d rather cart around an old battered suitcase with a visible story than buy new luggage. I’d rather spin a record than plug into an mp3. And yes if theres a Vintage blazer on the rails I’ll pick that over a label. Once again I’m exploiting myself and all my kitsch cliche glory. It became apparant to me today how much of a geek I am over the age of something.

I bought a typewriter about a year ago for a tenner from the recycling centre. The ribbon ran out after a few hours of typing and so I stored it away and forgot about it. Being home for the summer though means I’m kind of stuck for things to do. So I dug it out today and went on a little Google spree to look into the history of the thing and see what kind of ribbon I needed.

From my research online and the information given from the manual (which is in surprisingly good condition), I’m guessing its a Royal Royalite Portable typewriter, dating back to 1963/64. Which in my opinion, is pretty cool. So now I’m just waiting on my ink ribbon arriving and I’ll have a new toy to play with.

The manual describes it as a great tool for mothers to type up club reports and recipes etc, and in contrast, for husbands to type up important business documents. I guess when I’m prancing around in high-waisted shorts, singing the Beatles and dreaming of vintage typewriters, its easy to fall in love with a stereotype and forget that we live in such a better time now. The sexism that was around back then is clear even in that little instruction manual. Still though, I’d love to go back to that time for just a day. I’d totally do ‘the Twist’.

(And yes I did edit the photo above to give it that old vignette effect.)