Tuesday, April 2, 2013


We writers love our notebooks. Over the years mine have progressed from rolled school copybook and scraps of paper to detectives' notebook and stickies, and now I've arrived at Moleskine. I love my Moleskines, love their history, the cover, elasticated band and inside paper. I'm the first to admit it's more an ethos than a product.

Bruce Chatwin is responsible for today's fascination with Moleskines.
Along with Irish designer Eileen Gray, he is also the subject of my
latest book to be published by New Island in 2014.

In Songlines, Bruce mentioned the obsessive tidiness that is the start of
a writing project. The notebooks he used were obtained from a papeterie in rue de l'Ancienne-Comedie in Paris, but made by a small firm in Tours. When the owner of the firm died, Bruce assumed his source of notebooks had dried up, but the business was bought by a Milanese stationer who eventually began producing the notebooks again.

The Chatwin syndrome is alive and well - it's the delusion that using the brand of notebook Hemingway, Picasso or Oscar Wilde might have used bestows a writerly air of elan and panache. Perhaps it does?
What Bruce couldn't have guessed was that tomorrow (3 April) the business will be floated on the stock market with the company valued at €560m.

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