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My Summer Lair featuring Doug Nichol (California Typewriter)

My Summer Lair featuring Doug Nichol (California Typewriter)

Sammy Younan

Published on: November 14 2017

My Summer Lair Chapter #63: Would You Consider The Past To Be The Strong Silent Type Or Is The Future Just Your Type?

So in My Summer Lair Chapter 58 I interviewed David Sax author of The Revenge of Analog. It was a fascinating discussion that allowed me to articulate some of my experiences trapped between the old world and the new frontier.

I don’t view the past with nostalgia coated glasses and I don’t view the future though Google glasses.

From watching Doctor Who I accept that time is not linear; so then neither is progress. As the good Doctor says in Blink (an excellent episode!): “People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint – it’s more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly… time-y wimey… stuff.” Granted it got away from him there at the end; however his point is valid.

Meaning a documentary on typewriters in 2017 is attractive. I grew up and learned to type on typewriters; even though I now program this online radio station. Is that progress?

The media release featured this quote:
“I think that typewriters and computers can coexist – much like vinyl records and digital music,” says director Doug Nichol. “Just because one is faster doesn’t mean it is better. It’s like riding a bicycle versus riding a motorcycle. They both might get you to the same place, but the experience and pleasure of the journey is different.”

And that’s the key with the analog vs digital debate…not just the experience of the user but the user. The purpose of the user…his goals; his agenda…why are you using the thing you are using? We’re all creators so what tools are you using to build your world? Answer that and your journey has begun!

Taking a break from the Girth Radio studio I interviewed director Doug Nichol at a Toronto Type-In at Page One Café on Mutual Street; right “behind” Ryerson University. It’s a jam session for typewriters…you can hear them clacking in the background as Doug sips his coffee and I sip my tea.

As soon as we wrapped the interview I grabbed my tea and sat down at a typewriter. When was the last time you did that? It took a bit of time for it to all come back but the experience is entirely different; far more experiential than pecking away at a laptop.

The documentary’s media release elaborates:
“This crowd-pleasing film – named after one of the last remaining typewriter repair shops in the USA – celebrates the design, tactility and permanence of the typewriter.

The shop struggles to survive as celebrity devotees including Tom Hanks, John Mayer and Sam Shepard weigh in on their deep love for the machines. (Sammy Side Note: I was blown away by John Mayer’s insights on creativity. Perhaps I was rude to dismiss the “Your Body Is A Wonderland” guy but with this doc he radically altered my view of him…his work not so much!)

For those beyond repair, artist Jeremy Mayer lovingly repurposes their parts to create elegant sculptures.

The film also features Torontonian Martin Howard, a collector and dealer of antique typewriters, who has spent more than a quarter century building his unique collection of the world’s earliest typewriters.

California Typewriter is an entertaining ode to a technology that most find obsolete and disposable but which some still joyously embrace.”

Trust me: the documentary is more than just about typewriters. Typewriters is the Trojan horse subject matter to get you into the door: from there a wealth of bold experiences and crisp moments reflecting on our world: where we’ve come and where we’re going naturally unfold. Fascinating…do check it out.

The trailer:

 Host Sammy Younan W • T • F

California Typewriter @ W • T • F

Recorded: October 28, 2017 4:00pm (EST) at Page One Café