Manchester


Muji’s pencils 3

This week I had a quick look at Manchester’s Muji store, where I found wood cased pencils and a desktop pencil sharpener.

Manchester used to have a bigger Muji store, but it closed down, maybe about ten years ago. We now only have a smaller Muji store in Selfridges.

Manchester’s Muji didn’t have these pencils and the sharpener earlier this year1, but it could be that bigger stores were stocking these products for a while already.

Muji's pencils and sharpener

Muji’s pencils and sharpener

I didn’t buy them, just because Japanese pencils in HB can be to soft for my style of writing (I want a fine point that lasts) and for the kind of paper I use (normal paper). An example of this would be Tombow’s Drawing pencil in HB. I thought Muji’s 2B pencils are most likely too soft for me so I didn’t want to buy them and then end up not using them.

The pens left of the pencils seem very similar to OHTO Tasche pens.

  1. They used to sell wood cased coloured pencils, though. []

A pencil anniversary 9

photo-me-outside

Pencils as anniversary gifts

According to the Chicago Public Library pencils are among the suggested gifts for the 7th wedding anniversary, so I couldn’t resist including a trip to a stationery store on my wife and my 7th anniversary.

The chosen stationery store was Fred Aldous, mentioned  in a previous blog post. It’s an independent stationery store in Manchester with a lots of choice.

Photo BoothPhoto Booth

While we were there we also used their photo booth, an ‘analogue’ Photo-Me booth from 1968. Nice. I loved how the photos were still wet from the processing chemicals when they came out.

Pencil-wise we bought a pack of Field Notes pencils as our anniversary pencils.

photo-me-inside

 

Block printing kit

I also got a block printing kit. I’m really looking forward to trying this out. It includes a pencil which looks suspiciously similar to the Field Notes pencil. Since Field Notes pencils are ‘just’ promotional pencils with the Field Notes logo etc printed on (see Erasable episode 28) I was wondering whether both pencils might be from the same factory, but the Fred Aldous pencil’s ferrule is clamped in a very different way, so there’s a good chance it’s from a different factory.

Block printing kit and pencils

Block printing kit and pencils

 

fredaldous-pencil

The Fred Aldous pencil in the block printing kit


A visit to Fred Aldous 5

Earlier this month I went to Fred Aldous, an art/craft/stationery store in Manchester that has bee around for more than 100 years.

Fred Aldous entrance

 

Visiting this store is a great step up from visiting the usual chain stationery shops that all tend to offer the same items. Instead of finding what you can find everywhere you’ll find items that are usually only available in online shops or from abroad.

Ground floor

Ground floor

On the ground floor you will find imported, novelty and quirky stationery. This includes Field Notes, the first time I’ve seen them in a brick and mortar shop.

Field Notes at Fred Aldous

Field Notes

Less of a rarity: Rhodia …but I have never seen so much choice in one shop.

Rhodia at Fred Aldous
I was also able to stock up on Leuchtturm loops and saw pencils ‘live’ that I had to mail order in the past, like the Perfetto pencils mentioned previously.

Basement

Basement

ParkingThe basement did remind me of a Hobby Craft store (an arts and craft chain in the UK). Lots of pencils, inks, etc, but of the less exotic kind. It’s still exciting to see so much choice in one place.

 

Parking isn’t easy in the centre of Manchester, but one of the side streets just next to Fred Aldous didn’t have double yellow lines all the way through, so I was able to park free of charge in a convenient location.

I also managed to buy a few exciting items.

Items bought from Fred Aldous


You can find review of the Field Notes Shelterwood at The Writing Arsenal and at The Gentleman Stationer. The Field Notes I bought is the Cherry Graph, which is nearly identical.

Explosive Ltd, the company behind the Blacking Limited Edition video and running the Wood & Graphite blog, has a video review of the Cedar Pointe, bought in the same store.


The Pen Shop 2

If you live in the UK you might like this: I noticed that The Pen Shop in Manchester (Trafford Centre) offers a 30% discount on Pelikan pens. The discounts are even better for Graf von Faber-Castell pens: they are 1/3 off. There is a good chance that other stores of this chain offer similar discounts. The Pen Shop is not cheap in the first place – which means that many of their Pelikan pens are not really cheaper than in some online shops. Some of their Graf von Faber-Castell pens are however real bargains I haven’t seen that “well priced” before (I don’t want to call them cheap). Unfortunately they didn’t have the GvFC mechanical pencil I am interested in.

These discounts seem to be across the range, i.e. including mechanical pencils, fountain pens, etc. Some of the (not so exciting) Pelikan discounts are available online, too, but the GvFC discount are unfortunately not available online.

The information I was given by the employee implied that the discounts would last until they sold these pens/brands off, but I don’t believe this as I was told something similar in the same shop in December 2009, but back then the discount were only for a short period of time.


Nautical Stationery Set 2

Today: a blog post with images all over the place.

This weekend’s 56th annual Eurovision Song Contest is over. With an estimated 125 Million viewers watching it is a big event, but even though it is quite big in Europe not many people outside Europe1 would probably know about it2. Nevertheless, the contest even seems to inspire politicians: a few years ago Putin proposed a similar Asiavision Song Contest.

While watching the final this weekend I was kind of expecting that Jimmy Jump would invade the stage again – like during last year’s Eurovision final and during the Football world cup final – but there was no sight of him…

Moldova’s entry was funny-ish, but I thought it was nowhere near as good as the (kind of) similar entry  from the Ukraine in 2007. It also somehow reminded me of a Knorkator song that made it into the German national finals in 2000. …and a last comment before I stop writing about Eurovision: what a shame that Switzerland did not get more votes. I thought their song was really nice (even though the singer should not have moved her arm so much).

Düller notepads

John Lewis Door Stop

Other things I did this weekend, except watching the Eurovision Song Contest,  included going to Manchester’s Trafford Centre. In John Lewis I saw a pencil shaped door stop for £25 (~$40; ~€29), but even more interesting than this was Pedlars in Selfridges. They sold Düller memo pads, including the long version featured in pencil talk’s recent Düller Memo Pad post …but unfortunately, they did not have the dotted version in stock. When I was in Pedlars a few weeks ago they still sold the Düller mechanical pencil that comes “in” a note pad, but this time only the sample was left (which is probably not for sale and was slightly damaged).

Oops - Upside down

Ships!

I bought a nautical stationery set by SORT, The Society Of Revisionist Typographers, despite the name obviously a company, not a society. When I bought it I didn’t know yet, but a quick search on the Internet revealed that this set was featured in a UK newspaper’s 2009 Christmas gift guide. I am not so keen on the nautical theme, but the paper and printing were nice enough to convince me to buy this stationery set.

Something else I discovered this weekend, this time in Homesense in Preston: nice leather bound notebooks from Gallery Leather, printed in Korea (so I assume the paper is Korean, too) and bound in Maine, USA. All the journals I looked were very well made and at around £8 (~$13; ~€9) they were also very reasonably priced. I assume you can also find them at T.K. Maxx / T. J. Maxx, since they belong to the same company.

 

  1. …or better: outside the “European Broadcasting Area”, which includes many non-European countries, that participate in the contest []
  2. Australia might be an exception. Not only is it shown there, viewers can even vote, even though their vote does not count. []