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Quiet! It’s a book store

Sisyphe

Sisyphe’s entrance

‘Quiet’ said the employee to a customer. Wherever I look, I see books in the shelves. You’d think this is a library, especially because of what the employee just said, but funnily enough, the employee doesn’t mind talking to another customer ..talking even louder than the customer she just shushed.

We are in a bookstore in Shanghai’s Hongkou Dragon Dream Shopping Centre1.

Inside Sisyphe

Inside Sisyphe

I wonder whether this shushing is some sort of marketing gag – like when you see employees at makeup counters dressed in lab coats – to make you think they are kind of like scientists or pharmacists.

‘Quiet’ is so that people can read their books in the library, but as a store, they want to earn money, so you wouldn’t want to visitors to read the books in the bookstore, you want them to buy the books, at least that’s how I thought it works. The shushing might be intended to make you feel as if you are in a less mundane place. Shushing = library, library = the equivalent of a spiritual 1UP.

Monami Olika and fake Hero Safaris

Monami Olikas and fake Hero Safaris (bottom right)

Like in virtually all bookstores in Shanghai, there’s a nice selection of ‘lifestyle stationery’, i.e. stationery that looks nice and is ‘trendy’. In the photo above you can see some of the cheaper fountain pens they sell: Monami Olikas and fake Hero Safaris (they look like Safaris, but instead of Lamy the brand name Hero is embossed on the barrel).

Sisyphe Fountain Pens

They also sell more formal looking, more expensive fountain pens (on the right in the photo above and in the photo below). These days glass dip pens also seem to be popular in Shanghai (on the left in the photo above ).

Sisyphe Fountainpens

I like bookstores in Shanghai. Many have a very similar choice of stationery to each other, but you can often find new and different stationery – and the stationery always tends to be presented in a nice way.

Coming soon: More blog posts about stationery in Shanghai.

  1. Unfortunately the Carl’s Jr. (a fast food chain from Los Angeles), which used to be on the same floor as this bookstore has disappeared from the shopping mall. []

A New Special Edition Lamy Safari: LAMY BROWN The Black Edition 4

Lamy Line Friends 2018

Lamy’s store in K11 (on HuaiHai Road)

Like last year I found new special editions from Lamy in Shanghai, not available in the West.. This time it’s another Line Friends edition: LAMY BROWN The Black Edition.

Lamy Line Friends 2018

The amazing aluminium container

The one comes in an amazing packaging: a thick-walled aluminium tube (with screw lid). I haven’t seen any packaging like this for a Pen before.

The Lamy Safari itself is the Matte type with the Line character’s name BROWN embossed in the cap.

Lamy Line Friends 2018

The cardboard packaging that goes around the aluminium tube container

It also comes with a leather strap and metal buttons with browns face. The leather strap can be used to attach it to your belt, etc. The Lamy employee wore it around his neck.

Here’s a link to the official web page for this pen.

Lamy Line Friends 2018

The Safari with the leather strap, if worn as a necklace

In previous year’s people contacted me to ask whether I can get them the special edition, but I already left Shanghai at that time. To avoid this happening again I bought two of these special edition pens for interested readers. I hope I won’t regret this decision. If you are interested let me know as soon as possible by leaving a comment here or by emailing me (if you know my email address).

The price is £65 plus postage. The item is in the UK.

Here’s a video showing the aluminium tube.

Watch the aluminium tube on YouTube for HD video.

I will add this Special Edition to the list of Lamy Special Editions on stationery.wiki in a few days (if no one else has done it by then). That list contains (so far) 26 Special Editions of the Lamy Safari.

Line Friends 2018

Line Friends are popular in East Asia

Line Friends 2018

Line Friends are popular in East Asia


More about Staedtler’s 925 15 2

Today: a closer look at Staetdler’s handsome 925 15 mechanical pencil. You might remember it from a previous blog post from 2017.

It’s quite affordable and surprisingly light, maybe even too light for some users’ liking. In this video we’ll have a closer look at the 925 15.


Open in YouTube to watch in high resolution.

I bought the 0.3 mm version, so the video is about only covering this version, but this pencil is also available in 0.5mm, 0.7mm and 0.9mm.

All parts of the pencil have been designed beautifully.

The official price is ¥500 (~$4.40; £3.30; €3.75), but by the time you add shipping from Japan (when you buy from eBay) the price is a bit higher – still not expensive though.


Price and exchange rates: December 2017


Stein, Lamy and two pencil museums (one real, one fake)

Today: another Seen In The Wild blog post, but this time with a twist: at the end there’s some Heard In The Wild…

Stein

The Stein in the title of this blog post is not linked to Stein bei Nürnberg, where Faber-Castell’s headquarter is. The first part of this blog post is about Rick Stein, a famous British TV chef. In his latest BBC series, he explores Mexico. As usual, he writes down recipes. In his series about China, he used a pencil, shown in a previous blog post. This time he used a Lamy Safari (open images in new tab for high resolution).

       

    

(Images © BBC)

Lamy

He’s not the only celebrity using affordable Lamy pens in public: Nick Hewer, from the UK version of The Apprentice does so, too. In reality, people using Lamys in public are a rare sight, at least where I live. I remember seeing someone from a British university (but who is not British) using a Lamy Safari Lime Green Fountain pen at an SAP course I attended in Ireland in 2008. In recent years I have (twice) seen Chinese students using Lamy Safaris at my University/employer. If I add it up I have to say that I’ve only seen Lamys being used three times, in the last ten years, on the British Isles, but all three times the user wasn’t British. Parker on the other hand… if I wanted to count Parkers I’ve seen in the wild, that would be a very high number.

Two Pencil Museums (One Real, One Fake)

Since we were talking Rick Stein and British TV: There seems to be this idea that museums, and most of all pencil museums, are very boring. This seems to be a recurring theme, especially in comedies and sitcoms.

Here’s an animated gif from a very recent episode of a TV show with Johnny Vegas: Home from Home.

(Image © BBC)

In another show of his, Travel Guides (episode Lake District, 2015) from ITV, there’s a conversation spoken in very ridiculing tone:

I can’t believe this is a museum on pencils.
Really.
This is the only pencil museum in the world.
Ha ha ha! No shit.
Back to the BBC. In episode Black Eye of the BBC comedy Coming of Age (2010) there’s even audience laughter to make sure the viewer understands that going to a pencil museum is a ridiculous thing sane people wouldn’t dream off.
Imagine all the lovely places I’ll be able to drive you.
Like the pencil museum! Ooh!
Imagine that, Jas. Pencil museum.
Wow. What a treat(!) (Audience laughs)
Let’s speed things up a bit: Movie Sightseers (2012)
Pencil Museum.
I know how much you wanted to see that(!).
In case you are wondering about the exclamation mark in brackets. In subtitles, at least in the UK, that’s a sign for irony or sarcasm.
..and back to the BBC. Grumpy Old Holidays (2006). Please don’t forget to imagine the ridiculing voice when you read this. The idea is no one would go there unless the weather is horrible.
I have something to do with the weather, I am the rain goddess. They always say to me, “The farmers will be so grateful.” And I say, “Fuck the farmers.”
The Keswick Pencil Museum in Keswick must have, you know, oh, they must
look out of the window every day at the Pencil Museum and go, “Look at that, you can see the isobars “huddling together, we’ve got five days of continuous rain and storms coming- ker-ching!” Because, God bless it, your first port of call on holiday wouldn’t be a pencil museum, would it, normally?
There are hundreds of lovely rainy day attractions and activities like this to immerse yourself in.
It’s not like it’s just pencils. It’s different coloured pencils. It’s different sized pencils. Pencils you can pencil with, even.
Well, I enjoyed my trip to the pencil museum, read more about it in this 2012 blog post. This ‘making fun of the pencil museum’ isn’t new, last year I mentioned an occurrence that happened on BBC radio.

..but now people even invent fake pencil museums to make fun of when they are in a place without a pencil museum. In this case Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May. For their Amazon show The Grand Tour they were in Luzern in Switzerland. They need a museum that incorporates boredom while they visit a chess museum so they pretend there’s a pencil museum near Luzern. The point in this episode is that no one would go there, but the museum supposedly has a charging point for Richard Hammond’s electric car, that’s why he keeps dragging them to boring museums.

(Image © W. Chump & Sons / Amazon Studios)

(Image © W. Chump & Sons / Amazon Studios)

Well, let’s end on a positive note: Keith Houston, the author of Shady Characters (2013) had his recent book The Book: A Cover-to-cover Exploration of the Most Powerful Object of Our Time presented as Radio 4’s book of the week. For the next few weeks, you can listen to all episodes online at https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b2hr55.

Well, the BBC is a multifaceted being and while one part makes fun of boring things another one makes fun of boring things as well but supports them. In this case James Ward’s series The Boring Talks. You can find more about James Ward in these previous blog posts.


The image in this blog post has been taken from different sources, as attributed under the images. I believe that the use of the images shown in this blog post falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.


Staedtler’s new Wopex pencils: the 2B – 2H Noris eco 2

The new 2017 Noris eco (on the right) is capped

This blog had quite a few Wopex related blog posts over the years – and here’s the latest one: about the new generation of Wopex pencils. This is the third generation I know of, but there might have been more.

Previously… on Bleistift.blog

I got the sheet from the 2010 blog post out and added the new 2017 grades.

Just a quick reminder. Staedtler introduced the Wopex (pencil) in 2009 – it’s an extruded pencil and its body is made from a wood-plastic-composite (which consists of more wood than plastic). In 2010 Staedtler introduced the Wopex in 2B and 2H. I had a closer look at the 2B and 2H version in a 2010 blog post and couldn’t find much difference between the 2B, HB and 2H version. Fast forward to 2016. By now Staedtler is using the term Wopex only to describe the material used to make these pencils. Wopex is not used anymore as a name for the pencil itself – at least not by Staedtler. At the Insights X 2016, they had a few prototypes of the new ‘Wopex material’ Noris eco in 2H, H, HB, B and 2B.  At the Insights X 2017, they showed the final product.

Close up of the 2010 vs. 2017 comparison

The new 2017 Noris eco

Looks

The design of the Noris eco is clearly inspired by Staedtler’s European staple pencil, the Noris, but like other Wopex material pencils, the surface of the extruded Noris eco feels rubberised. It is also eco-green, but has the same black stripe pattern as the yellow Noris or the red Tradition: The two opposing, labelled sides (let’s call them top and bottom) of this hexagonal pencil are black. The four sides (let’s call them the two right and the two left sides) are green with a think black stripe in between. I am mentioning this because some of the prototypes had a different pattern.

Unlike previous Wopex material pencils, the new Noris eco has a cap. It’s cool, man.

Watch on YouTube for high definition.

Performance

Great news. There’s a proper difference between the different grades in the new 2017 version. In terms of darkness and in terms of point retention. Compared to the Mars Lumograph in 2B, which is a very easy to erase pencil, the new Noris eco in 2B is more difficult to erase.

Eraser test – the bottom right square has been erased

If you see them in a shop I urge you to give them a try.

The pellets before they’re extruded into a pencil. From the Wopex sharpener blog post.

In case you can’t get enough of the Wopex. Here are some links:

2009: The world’s first blog post about the Wopex (Lexikaliker, in German)

2010: Staedtler WOPEX pencil review (Pencil Talk)

2012: Pencil Review: Staedtler Wopex HB Pencil (East…West…Everywhere)

2012: Staedtler Wopex Pencil (The Well-Appointed Desk)

I think the Pen Addict never had a Wopex review. If he did please let me know.

Some more post-2012 Wopex reviews can be found at Pencil Revolution, Comfortable Shoes Studio, The Weekly Pencil, The Finer Point, Pens Paper Pencils, Office Geek, Scribomechanica.

At the top, you can see the alternative black and green Wopex pattern. A picture from the ‘epic fail’ blog post.

 


I would like to thank Benedikt Schindler for his help in getting me the new 2017 Wopex. I still haven’t seen them on the high street in the UK.