I sort of introduced you to Bingy Bongy Boongy Bongy in my last post. He is a 1990s Parker Duofold Centennial and is the most extravagantly expensive pen in my collection (so far, God help me). For most of his life he has belonged to my dad. A bit of background here.
Before fountain pens took over my brain in 2016 I did use them. Because my sensory inputs are a bit crazypants (this is a technical term which appears in all the textbooks) I have always found ballpoints like nails down a blackboard. So going all the way back to my school days I used fountain pens. It was considered a bit classy at school to use the one fountain pen that a bunch of us all had: the Parker Vector. It was the one we had because it was cheap and could be found in the local WHSmith. These days I wouldn’t use a Vector to unblock a drain but those were more innocent times. They were terrible pens though: they were flimsy and prone to cracking, they leaked and the nibs were rubbish. But that was fountain pens up until I met Bingy Bongy Boongy Bongy.
My dad bought BBBB because he was a high powered banker type (now retired) and needed a big ridiculous pen with which to intimidate people in meetings. He’s actually a lovely and down to earth guy so I guess it says more about the meetings than about him. It’s not the choice I would have made (Pelikan M1000 or gtfo) but to the uninitiated fountain pen = Parker I guess.
When BBBB wasn’t required to be a banking meeting penis substitute he sat about on my dad’s desk. One day I picked him up to take a phone message and discovered the joy of using a nib that didn’t suck. It was a revelation. It was like writing on air. And my covetage of BBBB began.
My dad is to pens what I am to plant life. He is incapable of capping them (pun totally intended). For a while I went through a phase of getting around the ballpoint horror by buying myself (relatively) expensive fibre tip pens. Invariably they would be borrowed and left uncapped to dry out. The same thing would regularly happen with BBBB. I would wail, gnash my teeth and grab him to rinse out the dried ink, leave him to dry naturally and then recap him and put him back.
Eventually I confronted my dad about it. “You do not look after this pen – see what you are putting it through! You don’t deserve it. You should give it to me!” Fifteen year old me thought this was a pretty sound argument.
My dad responded “I’m not giving it to you. Do you have any idea how much that pen cost?”
I did not. I still don’t know what it’d be in 1990s money. I was going to say what they cost in modern money but then I decided not to because the modern Duofold is nothing like the magnificent figure of this 1990s beast. The modern one is all smoothed edges and muted tones; the message is “I may be a high powered executive but at least I wasn’t enough of a twat to blow twice as much money on a Montblanc.” The message of BBBB is “I AM SHINY AND BLACK AND GOLD AND I HAVE A CAP THAT’S SQUARED OFF SO SHARPLY YOU CAN CUT PIZZA WITH IT. I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS RIGHT NOW, PETER! FAX SYDNEY!”
So no Duofold for me. Over the next few years I would ask for “a really nice fountain pen – not a Parker Vector or Jotter” for birthdays and Christmases and I would receive a different brand of pen that was a little bit more expensive but not really any better than the Vector. In the end I gave up, returned to fibre tips and some time later got myself a Lamy Safari with which I was delighted.
Fast forward to 2016 when I decided that dammit my 36th birthday would be the year when I’d get a lovely pen. I began my research, pens took over in my brain and here we are now. But shortly after making my choice –
“I would like a Pelikan Souveran M400 please Beloved.”
“Honey that is NOT a pen. It’s a supercar.”
– I became very unwell. In a moment of weakness when he was desperately worried about me my dad agreed that since BBBB had been sitting in a drawer for years I could have him if I agreed to look after him. A bit rich coming from the Pen Murderer but nonetheless I jumped at the chance.
So now he’s mine.
My pen is bigger than yours.
No seriously. Look how this nib is bigger than this cat’s head!
See how she has fallen over sideways in terror at the extreme potency and unbridled testosterone embodied in this pen! Did you see it? Did you?