It’s been a long time but we’re back.

To save us from having to actually do very much in terms of preparation or planning, we thought it would be nice to have a show and tell stationery special. Bring a favourite item of stationery and tell everyone why you love it so much. It could be a pen you’ve had since you were a tiny, tiny child or a notebook you bought last week. Or something else, these are just suggestions.

If you have a particularly good story, you might even win a PRIZE.


Tuesday 24th April 2012
Duke Of Sussex
23 Baylis Road, London, SE1 7AY map


After a slightly quiet period for Stationery Club, it is with great excitement that I can announce the details for the first ever Stationery Club picnic on Saturday 21st August. I can’t remember who first came up with the idea of having a Stationery Club picnic, but whoever it was, you have them to either thank or blame depending on the success of the event.

The picnic will be held in Kensington Gardens, a location which was chosen because it is fairly central, it has toilets, there are shops nearby and pubs in case it rains which it almost certainly will do because I have been cursed by an unkind god.

The specific bit of Kensington Gardens where we will meet is “near the Two Bears fountains near the Italian Gardens”. You may question quite how specific that location is, considering it uses the word “near” twice and doesn’t include the word “at” once, but what more do you want from me? The exact co-ordinates? I don’t get paid for this, you know.

Look, here’s a map, that should help:

The Two Bears fountain near the Italian Gardens is near the bit on the map where it says “TWO BEARS FOUNTAIN” near the bit on the map where it says “ITALIAN GARDENS”.

We will meet at 2pm because that seems reasonable.

As it is summer, the theme will be holiday stationery. Souvenir pens; those giant pencils you can get at the seaside with tassels on the end; novelty pens with pictures of women on them who become naked when you turn them upside down (nb this does not work with real women, I have tried); maybe postcards? Do postcards count as stationery? Who knows. You write on them with pens, that’ll do. Anyway, you get the idea. Bring any related items you own, or don’t bother and just bring normal items of stationery. It’s up to you. You don’t even have to come if you don’t want to. No-one’s forcing you. But I will hunt you down and kill you if you don’t turn up. I know where you live.

Saturday 21st 2010, 2pm
Near the Two Bears fountain near the Italian Gardens
Kensington Gardens
Lancaster Gate & Queensway – Central Line
Bayswater – District Line

A brief round up of what various people have said about Stationery Club No.3:

@oyebilly claimed to like the smell of Post-its but worries that makes him sound pervy.

Post-it Note fan Alex Sarll became the face of Stationery Club.

@RedEaredRabbit explains in graphical form how much of a good time he had.

@LNT89 came to Stationery Club with a paperclip in her hair.

Also, @siansparkles has written about the unofficial Bank Holiday Stationery Club 3b.

If I’ve missed anyone out, let me know!

UPDATE: @mondoagogo has written about both Stationery Club No.3 and 3b.

Also, @AuntSelly has posted the minutes from the Bank Holiday meeting.

When Luke from Yabber first got in touch about doing a special Post-It themed Stationery Club, I was a little bit concerned we would be selling out to The Man. I discussed it with @wowser, and although we were a bit wary, Luke’s use of the phrase “access to one of the inventors of Post-Its” was enough to persuade us to go ahead.

Because there were actual grown-ups involved in organising the night, things were a bit different this time round. A room in a pub was booked (a first for Stationery Club). There was a laptop and a projector. An audio-visual extravaganza.

Although Romy and Michelle claim to have invented the Post-It, that is not actually the case. The true story is explained in this video:

I wasn’t sure what form the “access to one of the inventors of Post-Its” would take. At first, the plan was going to be a specially recorded video message. This then transformed into a live video chat. Very exciting.

After a couple of technical false starts, we could hear Geoff Nicholson and Geoff could hear us. We could see Geoff and Geoff could see us. A roomful of people in a pub in Camden were talking to a man sitting in his front room in Minnesota about Post-It Notes.

Geoff explained how Spence Silver invented a “very poor” adhesive (he had been working on an adhesive to hold aeroplane wings together. The glue he invented was not suitable for this purpose). The rather important problem with Silver’s glue was that it wasn’t very sticky. They weren’t sure what to do with this glue and had an idea of creating giant sticky notice boards you could stick bits of paper to. Silver’s colleague, Art Fry, pointed out that maybe it would be better to put the glue on the paper instead.

The trouble was, if you try to explain what a Post-It is to someone who has never used one before, it doesn’t sound very useful. “It’s a bit of paper which is slightly sticky at one end”. It’s only after you’ve used them that you realise how useful they are. Nicholson started giving out samples to departments in 3M, and his secretary was getting swamped by requests for more (“Part of that was because they were free, but there’s a limit to how much free stuff you can give to people before they ask you to stop”). His secretary couldn’t keep up and said he had to decide if he wanted her to be his secretary or his distributor. At this point, the marketing manager still didn’t believe in the potential of Post-Its, so Geoff told his secretary to redirect all requests for samples to the head of marketing. “Some people say it was a brilliant move, it wasn’t, I was just angry”.

I’d asked earlier on Twitter if anyone had any questions for Geoff and something a lot of people mentioned was the name: why are they called Post-Its? “I don’t know. Someone in marketing came up with it”. They had been calling them “Peel & Press” notes, because that’s how you use them, but apparently you can’t trademark a name like that because it’s too descriptive (it would be a bit unfair on other cola manufacturers if you called your drink “Cola Flavoured Carbonated Soft Drink”TM). Sadly, he couldn’t remember any of the names which were rejected before they settled on “Post-Its”.

Geoff seemed like a really lovely guy. He has special Post-It Notes with his name on (“From when 3M still cared about me” he joked). The next day, I sent him an email with a little thank you Post-It:

He’d said he was coming to London soon, so I said it would be nice if he could make it along to Stationery Club in person. I also asked if he’d seen Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion (I’d meant to ask him on the night, but I forgot).

He sent a reply:

Thank you VERY much for your email and attachment. It was a pleasure to talk to my country of birth and have fun as well. Needless to say, getting a five year story into a few minutes is difficult, and full of peaks and valleys.

It is interesting that you ask about that movie, I kept getting asked about it so I finally got a DVD from Amazon as it was no longer available in the stores. It was fun to watch.

When I come to London I will be with my wife, daughter and two grandkids aged 12 and 14 to see London and Windsor. Her husband has to stay at work here. I doubt that I can use our limited time away from them. We arrive on a Monday from York to Chiswick…then in the evening to see the show Stomp, the next day a trip on a double Decker bus with stops. And then we go to Windsor the next is a crazy trip but we really want our grandkids see their great Grandma in York, she is 95.

I wish you continued success with your efforts, and as for the next product in the stationery area, one cannot help but think that there has to be something that will go along with our phones and PC’s.

Best Wishes,

What a lovely man.

When I first got to the pub, I was worried that the night was going to be a bit corporate and marketing-y, but in fairness to Luke and his colleagues, they were happy to take a back seat and allow Stationery Club to be Stationery Club. In fact, in the end, we ran out of time and didn’t get to play the new Facebook game Post-It have created.

There was even a prize to be given out to the person who got the highest score. Instead, we put everyone’s names into a hat and picked out a Post-It. @MandrewB was the lucky winner. In the pub afterwards, he was looking through the bag of Post-It goodies he won. I picked up one item I liked, and he must have seen something in the look in my eye. “You’re going to steal that, aren’t you?” he asked. “Well, I’m already holding it, so I guess I already have” I replied.

Photos: @chocosquirrel