Hello! It’s been 50,000 years which is not because I’m dead or have lost all my fingers. I’ve been working really hard on my novel and it’s taken up every spare moment I have. It’s a 130k beast and it’s not even finished yet so I’m trying to write and cut, write and cut. I don’t have much hope of getting the whole thing under 130k but I might just manage 140k. My days look like this:
Me: Hello word. I see you’ve been working in Chapter 7 for the last three months. I’m sorry to tell you that we’re downsizing to 140k. I’m afraid I’m going to have to let you go.
Word: Please! I have a family!
Me: Yeah. About them…
It gets brutal. The advice is always: cut any scenes that contribute nothing to the plot. I think: wait, is everyone else writing scenes that don’t contribute to the plot? Why? Why would you put that effort into something like that?
So: removing additional scenes that don’t relate to pens, I will GO FORWARD AND CONQUER. I recently got a Montegrappa Fortuna.
To which an oft-repeated response is: You have a Montegrappa? YOU have a Montegrappa? You HAVE a Montegrappa? You have a MONTEGRAPPA?
Montegrappa is a company you may only have heard of either if you’re massively into pens (O HAI) or extremely rich. Either way: WELCOME. Montegrappas are not cheap. In terms of GBP or USD they start in three figures, have a whole bunch in four figures, and quite a few in five figures. There are some in six figures and seven is not unheard-of. Yeah, that kind of brand. They are also quite unintentionally hilarious. The advert for the Chaos (£3,555 for the silver fountain pen or a smooth £42,750 for gold. Complete the look with the gold Chaos watch at £52,985 and the cufflinks at £13,050) has become legendary among pen nerds for its over the top aesthetic and terrible CGI. The pen is also hideous and I’ve just noticed that Montegrappa describe it as “virile.” The advert for the Samurai is in some respects even funnier, because the pen is even more revolting. Go check out Montegrappa’s youtube channel: there’s a wealth of hilarity there.
In all honesty I kinda admire their chutzpah. I have no idea who is buying these utterly hideous items, but clearly somebody is. I don’t know who thought it’d be good to make that ridiculous advert with the animation that looks 20 years out of date and impresses nobody. But that sort of weird comic incompetence alongside staggering price tags… makes me sort of fond of them.
Even the cheapest of their pens, the Parola, (£155) is rather delightfully Montegrappa. The Parola’s blurb includes this sentence: “Parola’s minimalistic look and the eye-catching color range were conceived to appeal all testes.” That typo came from Montegrappa, not from Appelboom (excellent pen nerd drool site, btw), which is where I saw it. I know this because the same typo appears all over the place where this pen is being sold.
It also tells you something else: Montegrappas are 100% about bling. Looks. Everything is sold on the basis of how it looks, or occasionally what it’s supposed to represent. There are lots of Montegrappa tie-ins: Game of Thrones, for example. And some of their pens can be kinda nifty: I’m not going to fork out the £28,215 for this one but I actually think that hidden face in the clip is really cool. I’m just waiting for the Jinhao knock off version. Montegrappa pens are jewellery, not pens, and once you start to get your brain around that it all makes more sense. Well… I’m not sure that the Samurai or Chaos will ever make sense. You can only expect so much.
You have probably deduced by now that I’m not Montegrappa’s target customer. I’m not sure who is, but it’s not me. So how did I come to have this Montegrappa? It started when someone pointed out that TK Maxx were selling them. They still have a few, if you’re interested.* The pen I fell for was the rainbow Fortuna. You must understand that I’ve wanted a rainbow pen for… pretty much as long as I’ve been into pens. I wanted a pen that I could look at and think YES! THIS PEN IS POSITIVELY RADIATING HOMOSEXUALITY! GO PEN! It’s been difficult to find. There are a few out there that are sort of lots of colours mooshed together (PenBBS or Sheaffer) but they don’t quite rainbow properly. There’s a rather fetching Visconti and a gorgeous Stipula, but both of these are way out of my budget.
At full price (£250-ish) the Fortuna was also out of my budget. TK Maxx had it for £130. I moved away with a “get behind me Satan” but then my Beloved stepped in and bought it for me. Because that’s the kind of thing he does because he’s lovely. If you buy this one from somewhere that isn’t TK Maxx it comes with a tie dyed rainbow pashmina. I did not get one of these. I do not feel unhappy about this loss.
So: first impressions. When I opened the box, this box was inside. Nice solid branded box.
Inside that box was this box. This is feeling a little redundant now, but OK.
And inside that box was my little guy whose name, incidentally, is Suck Juice From Moose.
He’s really very pretty. The colours jump out at you, the finish is smooth and shiny. He’s made from pearlised resin (here Cantatrice lets out a cough that sounds like “plastic”) that looks like it’s a continuous piece. The colours of the section, barrel and cap line up perfectly, which is good because it’d make my brain hurt if they didn’t. There’s a slight cigar curve to the barrel and a steeper one on the cap. I prefer my pens to be as straight as I’m not, but that’s a personal thing. Lots of people like them curvy. He’s larger than average, fairly chunky but not heavy – that’ll be because there’s very little metal to him. I like that: I find plastic warmer and more friendly.
Suck Juice From Moose takes a standard international cartridge or converter. They included one of each. The converter was broken. I consider this an excellent mistake in the spirit of Montegrappa. When Jinhao get round to ripping THIS one off and selling it for less than a fiver, you can bet their converter will work.
How does he write? Well first off, his nib is stainless steel. I like a good stainless steel nib, but I wouldn’t pay £250 for it. Above £80 I prefer gold, above £150 I expect gold, and above £200 you get a distinct side eye from me if you give me steel. As I (or rather Beloved) didn’t pay full price, steel is acceptable. Montegrappa nibs are on the imposing side, this one was medium, and… it was OK. Fine. Dependable, smooth enough. Gets your letters down. I could write with him for hours without feeling in any way unhappy with his performance. Was that nib a nibby dreamboat? Not really. Probably because it’s not gold.
So it’s not a resounding YAY. It is a resounding GAY, which is what mattered to me in the first place. And he’s fun. I can’t look at him without smiling, which I think was probably the whole point to Montegrappa in the first place. I’m starting to wonder if Montegrappa are taking the piss out of themselves: if they know that they’re really a bit silly. They can’t possibly look at all their products and not giggle a bit… can they?
I was going to write the lyrics to a fabulously gay song, but come on. I’m a choral soprano. There’s only one way this can go.
* That’s the UK iteration, rather than TJ Maxx. They don’t appear to have any pens. I don’t understand the difference in names either.)