I have noticed that whenever someone says “I’m just saying what everyone else was thinking” there is a 100% watertight guarantee that I was not thinking that thing. I have probably never thought that thing. There is probably something very wrong with the person who thinks that thing. See also: “I tell it like it is” and “I’m just being honest.” Nobody who says “I’m just being honest” should ever be honest again. Go! Live a life of diplomatic duplicity! It is the only way you will make friends. This may be an odd thing to hear from someone with that neuroweird that is associated with pathological honesty. So what’s my beef here? I value honesty and I don’t like seeing it abused as an excuse for nastiness and bullying. Someone who is unfailingly honest when they want to be cruel but somehow manages to avoid kind honesty is actually doing something different.
I am an honest person, but not because of some incredible moral fortitude. It’s because I am an extremely bad liar. I’m not completely unable to lie but I find it very difficult and weird and I’m pretty sure it doesn’t convince anybody so I don’t bother. I also find people confusing, tiring and difficult so trying to lie as well as everything else isn’t usually possible. If I don’t like you I’m probably going to treat you like some kind of rabid beast. This is to say: back away slowly. Avoid eye contact. Don’t say “wow, you’re only 32! You must have had a hard life ha ha! Just being honest here.”
If on the other hand, I do like you, then congratulations because I don’t think that 98% of humanity is worth bothering with,* so you’re in a kind of special society of excellence. Like a Mensa of awesomeness. Except that if you see it that way I’m afraid I’m revoking your membership because people who really enjoy being in Mensa are weird. Anyway. At this point, I can become effusive. Because, seriously, just look at you guys. You’re magnificent! How can such people be so excellent and yet live? It is a mystery as deep as the Trinity. My favourite people are clever, witty, morally upright and all the sexiest. JOINT SEXIEST. OK JOINT SECOND PLACE SEXIEST AFTER MY BELOVED. I’m basically a cat. I either run like hell when you enter the room, or I get disturbingly keen on you and try to insert my entire head up your nose while drawing blood from your chest with my claws. No wait. Unlike cats I do my best to respect boundaries and hopefully don’t cross them much but people are confusing so I probably do sometimes.
Cantatrice, I hear you say. Cantatrice, IF THAT IS YOUR REAL NAME! Why are you driveling on about yourself again? You said you would do less of that. I am doing less of that! This post is brevity itself. I’m going to be effusive about Lord Dippington now, and also about lovely lovely people who send me ink.
I first met Lord Dippington back in 2016 when I was a baby pen nerd making hilarious mistakes about everything and generally flailing in an enthusiastic fashion as I tried to pick up enough information to avoid looking like a total dumbass. I did have some dumbass moments but pulled through. I approached the pen nerd secret Santa of 2016 with great enthusiasm. I made my choice of gift and sent it off. In retrospect it probably wasn’t the best choice of gifts for the person it was going to, but I didn’t know that at the time. In the days and weeks that followed he did not acknowledge the gift. And yes I am still a bit bitter about this (I know but I never claimed to be the most mature) because it crushed my pen nerd spirit as everyone else acknowledged theirs. Anyway, I’m getting onto the subject of the gift that I received now because I was utterly delighted and amazed. And suitably effusive at the time.
I was amazed. I’d used regular dip pens at school and they were totally unworkable. I fell in love with writing with a glass nib. I still love it. I went through a phase of searching, desperately, for a proper fountain pen with a glass nib. I got a little bit obsessive about it. They do exist. There’s the Wink pen, which was a crowdfunded thing aimed at enabling people to write with wine. That was their whole shtick. Write with wine! Only we will enable you to do this! I’m not actually sure why someone would feel a desperate need to write with wine. Certainly I have never seen the attraction. I think for almost everyone who bought one the attraction was the glass nib. You can’t get them at the moment but you can register an interest for the next version, if and when it arrives. I never did buy one.
Other options exist, generally in the form of obscure European brands from the 1920s to 1950s. Occasionally a collection will show up on ebay for them – as there is RIGHT NOW, if this is your thing. I still sort of want one. There are various small manufacturers who keep popping up to say that they’re making glass nib fountain pens, but then they go away again or they suggest prices that are far, far higher than any of us are prepared to pay for an unknown brand. My response was as many others: glass nibs are amazing! They somehow manage to be smooth and have the feel of the paper as well. Every time someone mentions their longing for a glass nibbed fountain pen, others will pop up and be kinda dickish about it. “Oh yeah?” they always say. “I bet you get a lot of line variation on one of those!” Which is a bit weird, because as great as flex is nobody does this with any of the regular metal-nibbed pens without flex.
Lord Dippington became my friend. We made beautiful art together. And by beautiful I mean that we drew lots of animals in ridiculous outfits, basically.
And then I realised why nobody makes glass nibbed fountain pens when I was cleaning Lord Dippington in the sink, and dropped him, and his nib snapped. I was distraught. I wailed. I swore that I could not live without my Lord Dippington, and then I ordered Lord Dippington II. A few weeks later, I dropped Lord Dippington II and the same thing happened.
OK, I am a bit of a clumsy person. But I’m not THAT clumsy. I didn’t realise how often I drop a pen from a small height until I couldn’t do it without breaking the nib (it’s always the nib – probably because it’s the most fragile bit) and rendering the pen unusable.
Is this why nobody makes glass nibbed fountain pens? Yes. Yes, I’m pretty sure it is. So although I still want my own 1940s glass nibbed fountain pen, I’m not going to get one, because I will break it and that will be the end of a very lovely item. At least with the dip pens you can replace them cheaply. VERY cheaply if you go for unbranded ones, which don’t seem to perform any worse than the Herbins.
I am now using Lord Dippington IV, with a Lord Dippington V waiting in the wings because, well. It’s only facing up to the inevitable. To be clear, they are all one Lord Dippington. He just occasionally takes on a new body. Because I dropped him again. Don’t judge me.
Here is Lord Dippington IV with his fetching glass stand and Ori. What could possibly go wrong here?
And now we move onto another iteration of awesomeness. Some particular awesome people like to express their awesomeness by sending me ink. This is a particularly awesome way of being awesome, so awkward awesome internet hugs all round. Today’s inky compilation tape comes from:
- Alison, who has shared a couple of the Beaufort beauties with me
- Scribble, who has sent over some purples because that’s what he does, and
- Tom, (who doesn’t currently have a pen blog but is kidding himself if he doesn’t realise that it’s coming sooooooon) who sent me samples of the Pure Pens Celtic collection from Diamine.
Today’s song is My Colouring Book by Edd and Kander, and we’re playing the Dusty Springfield version because DUSTY SPRINGFIELD.
This is a nice black-purple for when you’re feeling a bit goth but worried that your boss will judge you if you write in a colour that’s too obviously not black. In fact it’s so close to black that ONLY YOU MAY KNOW. Clever. Scribble tells me there’s some subtle sheen in this one. I do not see it, but perhaps it did not feel like coming out to play today. Sheen can be like that.
First up from our Celtics, this is a good vivid orange. I like vivid orange inks because many in that orange/yellow/sand kind of range are so totally insipid that they’re quite difficult to read. Not so this one. Lots of saturation and some excellent shading.
I can colour them grey. If you want a grey ink with a teeny little purple tinge to it, this one’s your guy. Grey isn’t really my thing, unfortunately, because to me it just looks like Fail Black.
The first of the Beauforts, which are made in the UK by a mystery manufacturer whose name Beaufort will never reveal to us. Who could be producing such a thing? Is it… that one you’re thinking of right now? Yes. It’s quite clearly them. Props to Beaufort for trying to remain mysterious though. And props for giving us this rather lovely blue. It performs well and just look at that intense colour. YAS. Unfortunately, blue isn’t my thing either. But if it is yours, this is very nice.
I wasn’t quite sure how to colour something empty, but that sounds pretty goth to me so I went for the gothiest one in the lineup. Now you might think that two very dark purples don’t have much between them. That would be the kind of crazy wrongness that could only be said by someone who firstly isn’t Scribble, but also isn’t really looking at these two babies properly. This one looks like more of a grape to me rather than the slightly bluer (bluier?) Private Reserve. It’s also quite clearly purple and your boss IS judging you.
I can do green. This one is nice. Most of the green inks on the market seem to be either very very dark (nothing wrong with that; I like a green-black as well) or eye-meltingly bright. The inbetweeners often come out quite dull but this one is a vibrant leafy green, and there’s enough shading to get yourself some forest.
Colour it lonely? Oh dear, that sounds like another purple-black doesn’t it. I do have a third one but I just couldn’t bring myself to use it in the same post. Blue-black works. Again, this is well behaved and I like how it performs but I’m just not a blue-black person.
As I may have driveled on about before, teal is my favourite colour, so it’s nice to have a new one knocking about and this one is lovely. Gotta say it’s very close to the regular Diamine Teal – which is my favourite ink, but I’m not sure I’d need to have both of them. I think it’s slightly further blueward than the other one. It’s pretty though, it shades, and it has a subtle red sheen to boot.
Stay awesome, kids.
* I’m not saying that I hate 98% of humanity. Just that as someone who is very limited in her ability to cope with other people much of the time, I have to pick my awesome people carefully.