3 October 2004
Moleskine—The PDA goes back to the future
Move over Palm Pilot and Pocket PC—the portable digital assistant for this season has gone retro and it's called the Moleskine (pronounced mol-a-skeen'-a). This little black book is the modern incarnation of the legendary notebook used by Van Gogh, Matisse, Breton, Picasso, Hemingway, Chatwin and now Conway.
Between its elegantly formed, hard black oilcloth covers rest 90 leaves, available blank, ruled or squared. Naturally, I chose the squared—why should order only be horizontal? There's also a neat expanding pocket in the rear, to house, I'm sure, the receipts from your favourite Parisian café. In it you'll find the history of the Moleskine, in French, German, Italian and (no doubt with some reluctance) English. There's a quality thread binding with bookmark, and a tasteful elastic closure to maintain discretion.
It's odd that something so quintessentially French should now be made in Italy, and predictably it comes at a premium—expect to pay about $22 Australian, £8 or $11 Stateside. But this is no mere notebook. It's an intimate connection with the creative current of history, a blank novel waiting to be written (just add words), a magnificent mythology. And as an entry ticket into the aspiring literati club, it would be cheap at thrice the price.
Most of all it's a beautiful anachronism, and the more I immerse myself in technology, the more I hanker for such things.