Stephen Doig: On Writing

By Stephen Doig

Jul 13, 2022

Stephen Doig: On Writing

With greeting card season fast approaching, The Telegraph's Stephen Doig takes a moment to appreciate the pleasures of the written word.

Today, we've grown digital extensions; fingers constantly tapping on phone screens, our smart device, laptop, Bluetooth and various 21st century accoutrement as integral to our daily repertoire as socks and shoes and as wedded to our being as a limb. There was a time when a man about town would never deign to leave for the morning without his shirt freshly pressed and tie notched just so. These days he's more focused on patting himself down to make sure his digital essentials are in place to ready him for the day.

Which makes the almost antiquated notion of writing - the simple act of putting pen to paper - a quiet, every day joy. In a world where our diary comes via flashes on a calendar, there's something less transient in marking it in a handsome notebook. 

There's a marked shift in the return to a life in analogue form. A swift email 'thank you' has become the mainstay, but isn't there something more personal and gentlemanly in receiving a hand written note that someone has taken the time to compose, seal and send? It's telling that, of the varied ephemera I've managed to collect over the years (did I ever think that I'd require umpteen theatre programmes?), the one thing I'll never throw away are handwritten notes from people, be it a throw-away card sent in jest or the most mundane of notes that matter because they are from someone now departed. 

Of course, it helps when the process is aided by something more exceptional than a standard biro. Kaweco has been existence since 1889, creating elegant writing instruments that marry style with capability. It's collaboration with Drake's showcases just what the latter does best - creating items with old school refinement and consideration that add a certain élan to the every day. The happy union is also significant in that a pen is the final flourish to a man’s accessories roster; alongside a knitted silk tie (from Drake’s, naturally), a crisp pocket square and a polished pair of Oxfords, a pen in the top pocket shows a certain man-about-town rakishness; produced with a flourish for signing the bill or, if you’re of a particularly debonair, 007-esque persuasion, jotting down phone numbers of women (or men) you might meet on your travels. It’s a darn sight more elegant than raking around in the bottom of bags for a plastic number (as I’ve often done, and it’s never a stylish scenario). The pen might be mightier than the sword, but it’s also a lot chicer than its myriad digital cousins. 

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