We’re all going on a summer holiday

Aston MartinMercedes pagoda topLooks like summer’s finally arrived, and thoughts turn to holidays.

I was over near Old Street (Silicon Roundabout) picking up some prints (yes, people do still do C-types) from The Printspace on Kingsland Road. While there, I always take a detour to the Classic Car Club for a spot of automotive oggling. Sadly for me I’ve got a beat-up family Toyota, but one can but dream…

Classic cars seem to be so much more characterful than almost any new car. The most hideous thing I saw recently was a Bugatti Veyron in a custom silver/red paint job cruising around Harrods. It had Middle Eastern plates and someone had obviously just flown it in for their London 2012 Olympic holiday. It was certainly drawing the crowds, but in the same way as paps around Paris Hilton.

A nice Mercedes SL pagoda top would be great for a daytrip to the coast, but I had my eye on the Aston – perfect for a grand tour down through France or across the Alps.

Membership to the Classic Car Club doesn’t come cheap, but they don’t mind the occassional middle-aged saddo sniffing around the garage…


Guilty pleasure

Pens, Hong KongA random guilty pleasure is sniffing around stationery shops when I’m abroad on a trip.

Even though I hardly ever write a letter or card, save for a scribble on the back of an envelope or a quick shopping list, there’s nothing nicer than the thrill of the chase of finding a great new pen. And I’m not talking about something all snobby and elitist like some monster-sized Mont Blanc – just a great everyday ballpoint/rollerball.

Pretty much every stationery store in Hong Kong has a massive selection of everyday pens. The photo above was taken in a shop in Wan Chai and part of what must have been a three or four metre display. Heaven…

Even in this age of touchscreen smartphones and laptops there’s just something nice about a good pen. It reminds me of a press ad that Wieden + Kennedy produced for Honda that was just a cut out still life of a banana.

The genius of the copy was how engaging and arresting the whole concept was. I won’t bore you, but the first few lines run, ‘Have you ever written on a banana in biro? Its crazy but it works like a dream. You wish all writing could be this way. It flows. It’s smooth. It’s sensual.’

Just google the ad for the photo and rest of the copy. It ran years ago and I still remember it. Maybe it was great advertising, maybe I’m just a pen nerd…