When I was a child I perved over my mother’s typewriters; first, her beautiful olive green Olivetti Lettera 22 with American keys, then later her IBM golf-ball electric which seemed to explode into kinesis if you touched it. I picked up an ancient Underwood of my own in a junk shop and used it to hammer out comedic plays. By the time I wanted to write less childish things, my mother had died, and since she’d been a relatively early adopter I’d inherited her primitive Amstrad PCW 9512 word processor. I wrote my first five books (and plenty of journalism) on that machine and thought it perfectly adequate to the task, but then in the mid-1990s its printer packed up. I invested in a proper PC that could connect to the internet with a loud noise of whistling timpani, suggestive of Alberich forging the ring of the Nibelung. I didn’t find this too much of a distraction, because I only used the internet to file my journalistic copy.
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