Thursday, May 06, 2010

Moleskine Passions

It is a source of continuing regret to your correspondent that his handwriting fails to live up to the Moleskine notebooks in which he writes.

An Spailpín’s handwriting is a horrible, beastly thing, while the Moleskine notebook is a creation of exquisite beauty. If you can image Miss Kiera Knightley dressed as Mrs Hilda Ogden, late of Coronation Street, you can sense the incongruity.

Moleskines are pretentious, certainly. They may have been used by Hemingway and Van Gogh when those boys were on the earth but if they cost then what they do now I’m pretty sure Ernie and Vinnie would have bought in the stationary section in Tesco instead.

But for a stationary enthusiast, Moleskine notebooks are an essential indulgence. An Spailpín uses four of things: A daily dairy, started in 2007 as a sneaky means of keeping my Irish fresh; an address book, a small day to day notebook, as favoured by Hamlet, prince of Denmark (“look, I’ll set it down in my book”) that not even the iPhone’s excellent notes app can do away with, and a slightly larger notebook in which to plan bigger projects. One notebook per plan of world domination, dated on commencement.

Moleskine notebooks are gorgeous, and were just perfect. For your eagle-eyed diarist noted a display in Hodges Figgis recently that suggests some pointy-head in the Morketing Deportment thought it was time to justify an existence, and now Moleskine have a new range of notebooks that cause your Spailpín no little distress.

Moleskine Passions are regular Moleskine notebooks, but aimed at particular demographics. And this is where it gets tricky.

Recipe and wine books are fine by An Spailpín. Utterly useless to him personally, of course, as An Spailpín is dog rough, but he respects those who are into that sort of thing. Women, I believe, is the collective noun.

Recipe books have been kept for millennia, and it’s nice to have a pretty one. Two thumbs up for the wine and recipe Moleskine passions.

The book, film and music passions are much more tricky, because they encourage people who are precious to be so to the nth degree. If you have an opinion on a book, a film or a piece of music then please tell your friends. Share the opinion.

Opinions only count when they’re shared. Otherwise, they’re like John Gray’s friends in the country churchyard, born to bloom unseen. If you have no friends, that’s fine. You can always start a blog and share opinions that way. You wouldn’t be the first.

But if you’re just putting your thoughts and feelings into a journal that only you yourself will read you are pulling the horizons of the great world down around your ears, and confining them to an A6 page. And that’s no way to live. Go, tell it on the mountain. For God’s sake don’t write your opinion down only to seal it with lead like it was radioactive.

Aughrim is lost at the final journal. It pains An Spailpín to break bad news always, but the final Moleskine Passion is for people to write down their passion about “Wellness.”

An Spailpín’s home dictionary of choice is the tenth edition of the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, published in 2002. It defines 240,000 words and phrases, none of which are the world “wellness.”

This is because there is no such thing. “Wellness,” insofar as it means anything in its current use, means healthy. Nothing else. But they can’t use healthy, because you can’t sell snake-oil as healthy. Healthy is boring, like taking exercise and not stuffing yourself with buns.

But once you get into the Wellness business, then you can see the punters kicking down the shop doors loooking for crystals, oom chanters, bones for throwing, colonic irrigation paraphernalia and every other sort of knick-knack and geegaw that exists at the very bottom of the chest of every huckster, crawthumper and charlatan in the land.

An Spailpín will continue to keep his dialann and hopes someday that his handwriting will once again match his stationary. But a wellness journal I shall not keep while I retain either health of sanity. Moleskine ought to be ashamed of themselves.

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