The end of the typewriter

“It saddens me that Brother has packed up shop, but the last typewriter to roll off its very truncated production line was an electric model. I did enjoy the strange ultrasonic hum of my mother’s Brother electric in the 1970s, but while I may have begun typing at around this time, when I first began to seriously produce fiction on a typewriter it was on a manual — my by then late mother’s own Olivetti Lettera 22, which she brought with her from the US when she emigrated in the late 1950s.

“I switched to working on a manual typewriter in 2004 (all my previous books had been composed either on an Amstrad word processor or more sophisticated computers), because I could see which way the electronic wind was blowing: dial-up internet connections were being replaced by wireless broadband, and it was becoming possible to find yourself seriously distracted by the to and fro between email, web surfing, buying reindeer-hide oven gloves you really didn’t need — or possibly even looking at films of people doing obscene things with reindeer-hide oven gloves. The polymorphous perversity of the burgeoning web world, as a creator of fictions, seriously worried me — I could see it becoming the most monstrous displacement activity of all time.”

To read the rest of Will Self’s piece, which has a picture of Nick Reynolds’ sculpture of Will and typewriter, go to the Times website here.