Music Break

Due to unforeseen circumstances, my surely engrossing, or at least on-topic, fountain pen posts are going to be postponed. I hope not for too long.

But what do we do when the going gets tough? Turn on the radio. Or the turntable. Or Spotify.

Given the month, what could be more appropriate than the song up there, September Gurls by Big Star? This one is from way, way back in the 1900s — 1974. It’s from an album called Radio City, which was the second album from Big Star, and truly it’s a lovely song. Since September Gurls has been covered by other groups, you may have heard it.

So, okay, some trivia. Big Star was a little group and never became big stars. But one of its members, and the principal songwriter, was the late, great Alex Chilton. You may have heard of his earlier group The Box Tops. And Chilton happened to be friends with a guy named William Eggleston. Now, just a few years later, Eggleston would start being recognized as one of the greatest photographers ever. But back then Eggleston wasn’t particularly well-known, and he gave his friend a recent photo for the cover. That photo, The Red Ceiling, is surely the most famous thing about the record today.

But the 1970s ended, and we came to the 1980s. In 1987, the band The Replacements put out a tribute to Alex Chilton, called, appropriately enough, Alex Chilton.

The Replacements were the greatest American band of the 1980s. (I think that’s been scientifically proven). Also, totally wrecked. Fun fact: the band broke up for good during a concert, on stage, in Chicago.

I don’t like old music, but The Replacements are the bomb, even today. Scrolling through their YouTube videos, I’m in heaven. Merry Go Round. Kiss Me on the Bus. Unsatisfied. I’ll Be You. The whole of Let It Be. It does seem that they were never all sober at the same time, so if “on-key” or “well played” are important aspects to music, don’t even click.

But then the next decade came, the 1990s, and everything changed. Again. There was this little band, that became huge, called Nirvana. Back in the 1900s. And it’s very hard to believe this, but tomorrow will be the 25th anniversary of the release of their second album, a little thing called Nevermind.

Actually, if you watch the video, it does seem like 25 years ago. Because that is the most dated video ever. Check out the the hair flips. We could do a drinking game to the hair flips: “He/she flipped his/her hair; drink!” Except we’d all be passed out drunk within the first minute and a half.

So I’m not ruling it out or anything.

Green Thoughts

Sheaffer Snorkel in Fern Green, Sage Green and Pastel Green

Let me just mention that if you are reading this, you should stop for a few seconds. Instead, first read the newest Pen Chalet rhymes in our Most Excellent Pen Giveaway thread. Our blog readers are awesome.

And be sure to post a rhyme or other comment of your own, if you are interested in the Platinum Classic Maki-e.  It’s quite a pen, and quite a generous giveaway by Pen Chalet. Actually, I just found out yesterday that the Classic Maki-e is no longer available with a broad nib, which is sad for me, but that means that whoever gets this pen is doubly lucky. So go click on the Giveaway. No worries; this will wait.

Okay, welcome back. Here are two photos of interesting green pens — not mine. This past weekend the Chicago Pen Club had a green theme for the monthly meeting. Those three pens up there are different green Sheaffer Snorkels.

Vintage pens are interesting. The Snorkel on the bottom of that photo, which I think is a nice, cheerful color, is the very common Pastel Green. The one in the middle, which I also like, is the not-terribly-uncommon Sage Green. The one on top I would pass right on by. It’s not my kind of color.

Except that it’s the really uncommon Fern Green. So, whoops.

Doesn’t it often turn out that the pens no one likes are the ones that down the line are worth more? Because fewer people buy them, fewer are made. And tastes change later. Examples abound, including the Parker 51 in Plum. If only my grandfather had bought his Duofold in the reviled Mandarin Yellow instead of the popular Jade. If only my mother’s Parker 51 had been Nassau Green or Yellowstone. Not that I’d sell them anyway. But in my head, I’d be a pen mogul.

So back to Sheaffer. Here are two green lacquered Sheaffer Targas, also not mine. These are much more recent. I really like them both. The one on the top is the Green Moiré. It’s awesome and wild, and someday, one will be mine. The one on the bottom is the Malachite Ronce. It’s gorgeous.

Sheaffer Targa Laque Green Moiré and Malachite Ronce

I hope the fashion for Targas comes back at some point. Although, if it’s alright, could that be after I’ve found a $5 Green Moiré?

The Targas are from the late 1980s and early 1990s. Yesterday, to me. But technically, that was the last century. I point that out because of something that happened last week. My younger daughter looked at me witheringly, in disbelief at something I had said. (A frequent occurrence.) More in pity than in anger, she said, “Mom, things are different now. You were born in the 1900s.”

Platinum Classic Maki-e Fountain Pen: Enter to Win Right Here

Our friends at Pen Chalet are giving away this gorgeous Platinum Classic Maki-e fountain pen with a broad nib through Fountain Pen Follies. The pen is great. Don’t take my word for it — everyone at my Pelikan Hub loved it, too.

To enter to win the Classic Maki-e, just leave a comment below. Any comment is fine, but how about something that rhymes with Pen Chalet? Mine would probably be, “I’m waiting for the next Dim Sum tray.”  But for the well born, maybe, “I could use a good valet.” Fans of the most lovable baseball team ever surely know, “Hey, hey, what do you say, the Cubs are going to win today.” And kudos for anything like, “Shopping at Pen Chalet makes it a good day.”

This contest is open to anyone, anywhere, but only one entry per person is allowed. I will randomly select the winner on September 27th, and post the lucky winner’s name on the blog. So be sure to check back then. Once announced, the winner will need to contact me with a mailing address within a week.

Pelikan Hub 2016: Chicago

Pelikan Edelstein inks at Pelikan Hub 2016

I went to my first Pelikan Hub on Friday night. Fun.

We had a small group of six; Friday night at 6:30 in the city is a hard time, and some people had to cancel. But for those who were there, it was awesome. The nicest host ever. Key lime pie. And many Pelikans passed around. Fountain pen people are usually congenial, but these other attendees were all amazing. I’m afraid I had so much fun I didn’t take very many photos.

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Kaweco Cartridges: Simply the Best?

Kaweco Skyline Sport Metallic Violet with Kaweco Summer Purple ink

I got that really cute pen, the Kaweco Skyline Sport in Metallic Violet in early February, and I immediately popped in a Kaweco Summer Purple ink cartridge. It’s seven months later — seven months of intermittent neglect — and that same ink cartridge is still in there. Still going.

Kaweco Summer Purple is an attractive purple ink. And I really intended to do a post about it. But life got busy. I forgot the pen was still inked.

Months went by. Then I’d find it and use it briefly. Then weeks would go by. But every single time I guiltily rediscovered this pen, all I had to do was pick it up and turn it over, for the ink to immediately start flowing. And by flowing, I mean flowing perfectly, without hesitation, skipping or blobbing.

Kaweco Summer Purple ink writing sample

Some of my pen-ink combinations have balked if left for just a few days unused. So this is meritorious service. Shout-out to Kaweco.

I’ve mentioned that Kaweco inks are nicely lubricated. And that Kaweco cartridges contain a little plastic ball for better ink flow.

Kaweco ink converter plastic ball

Clearly, it all works. What a well-made pen, what a great ink cartridge, what a great ink brand.

And Summer Purple ink is a nice color, too.

Kaweco Summer Purple ink writing sample


Comparing Sailor Souten with Sailor Sky High

I plan to do a more in-depth look at Sailor Souten, but we were talking yesterday about how it compares to Sailor Jentle Sky High, and here’s a quick look at just that.

Sky High is my favorite Sailor ink, and one of my all-around favorite blue inks. It’s just a nice, cheery blue, with great shading, and uncomplicated behavior. It even has nice red sheen for sheen fans.

But when Sailor discontinued Sky High, that was fine with me. I had a bottle, and I have a lot of blue inks. If I ever used up my Sky High, I’d be left with only 943 other blue inks. Not a tragedy.

But Sailor did bring out Sailor Jentle Four Seasons Souten, and I was given a sample, and eventually bought a bottle. I’ve been using both together for the past few weeks, to evaluate Souten and compare the two.

I don’t think they are identical. I think Souten may be very slightly darker than Sky High. Maybe I’m wrong about that, but I am certain that any differences are slight. (I’ve also done paper towel chromatography.) To me, Souten is essentially the same as Sky High.

Here’s a writing sample. Souten is the first ink and Sky High the second in each pair

I’ve mostly been writing with both inks in Lamy Safaris with broad nibs. Those are dry pens. Here’s a closeup.

I also tried the two inks in Edison pens with identical 14k medium nibs. Those are wet writers.

Sky High still looks just a bit lighter to me, after using them for weeks in the same pens on many different papers. But the two inks share the same hue, the same degree of shading and sheen and the same excellent behavior.

I was happy to buy a bottle of Souten. Sky High is a favorite, and I’m pretty sure I won’t even notice the difference.

Comparing Parker Penman Sapphire and Bung Box (First Love) Sapphire

When I got my new bottle of Parker Penman Sapphire (not actually new, but new-to-me), I hemmed and hawed about what pen I should use.

Part of me wanted to put it in a gorgeous Azure Blue Parker Vacumatic, because PPS is a gorgeous blue Parker ink. Another part of me thought, this is a job for my Pelikan M205 blue demonstrator: PPS is an ink that should be appreciated in a demonstrator. While all the votes on Instagram were for the Vac.

But I ended up choosing the beautiful new Kaweco AL-Sport Light Blue with extra-fine nib instead. I’ve got that pen for review, and it deserves a special ink.

Parker Penman Sapphire ink

After a few days of using PPS in the Light Blue AL-Sport, a light bulb went on: I also have Kaweco AL-Sport in raw aluminum with an extra-fine nib. The same pen, the same nib. So I grabbed the second AL-Sport and filled that with what remains of my sample of Bung Box First Love Sapphire, which is often compared to PPS.

You can see the results at the top, and I’ll put some closeup photos on the next page.

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