This blog post was originally posted here.
Well, after not a great deal of anticipation and very little planning, Stationery Club happened. About twenty people turned up, which was about twenty more than I was expecting, so a good result I feel.
The pen up for discussion was the Stabilo Bionic Worker, and I wrote out some questions in my brand new exercise book in preparation:
The Stabilo Bionic Worker is a rollerball, and so the first question I asked was whether people prefer rollerballs to ballpoints, fountain pens or gel pens. This inspired some furious debate with various pen types being described as “scritchy”, which I am assured is a word. Biros were largely criticised, although alternative uses were suggested for them ranging from fake cigarettes for people trying to quit smoking to near-fatal weaponry.
Despite being available in “the four most commonly used colors”, Ryman seem to take a Henry Ford approach to stocking Bionic Workers, with people struggling to find one in any colour other than black. This is not a major problem for me, as I’ve mentioned before, my natural preference is for black ink:
It was also around this time that I switched to black ink. It seemed like a more logical partner for a sheet of white paper. Black and white. Like the words on this page, like the words in a newspaper, a book, pretty much any written material. It added authority to my words, words which needed authority as they had none of their own.
Stabilo claim that the orange rubber casing “brings an end to uniform grey and blue pens in the office”, however, people didn’t seem particularly keen on the colour:
Also, it was pointed out that orange is quite a common colour for pens. Both Bic and Staedtler use orange for their fine line ballpoint pens. A point illustrated by this classic TV advert from Portugal:
I tried singing the song in the pub, but I don’t think I really did it justice.
As a final word on the Bionic Worker, I asked the killer question:
And the verdict of the first ever Stationery Club was: NOT SURE.