This week, the last typewriter built in the UK left the production line, marking the end of an era. The typewriter in question rolled out of the Brother factory, in north Wales and straight into a museum. I kid you not, Brother donated its last typewriter to the Science Museum, in London.
Until I heard this news, I hadn’t even considered that people may still use typewriters, you know, to actually write on, let alone that the things were still in production. Oh, sure there must be the odd writer who insists on banging away on the old Underwood, but other than that, surely everyone’s too busy trying to find their tablet stylus down the back of the sofa or swype texting to worry about this loss.
As a writer, I for one have never regretted the shift from typewriter to computer keyboard. So while the rest of the world bathes themselves in misty-eyed nostalgia, I shall give you five good reasons not to use a typewriter:
So there you have it. Yes, typewriters are pretty, but they are also pretty impractical. I get the romance of clacking away at your desk, really I do. On a typewriter I can be Jack Kerouac with his pages taped together in one, continuous roll, creating the book that defines a generation. And once I’ve finished my manuscript, I get to type the most satisfying six letters in the universe, for a writer, ‘THE END’. But the reality is, writing on my PC is just better. It’s not arty and chic, but it gets the job done.
No, when it comes to writing, I need speed and efficiency. I need my tool to be almost invisible. And if I need a more tactile approach, I pick up a pen and paper. I’m no more likely to invest in a typewriter as an aid to my writing, than I am a pen and quill. I shall stick to my well-worn computer keyboard, thanks and leave typewriters in the domain of irritating wedding couples with a nauseating fixation on reliving the 1930s for their special day and who require their guests to type equally nauseating messages as a memento of their nuptials.