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By using the tag Popular songs I am able to trace the development of my short and unsuccessful songwriting efforts. I started in September &...

Friday, April 9, 2010

Fountain Pens and Calfskin Drumheads

Roland Barthes gave an interview about writing instruments once. He referred to his use of fountain pens and the newer (at the time) felt pens. Like Barthes, I have an "obsessive relation to writing instruments," and hate what he refers to as the "bic style." In other words, if you write with a bic (cheap ballpoint pen) you aren't respecting your craft. Haven't you ever seen an old postcard written in a fountain pen? You can tell the difference right away, because the bic just has one thickness of line.

Ironically, I tend to do most of my writing directly on the computer, since I have horrible handwriting, but I do like to maintain that connection with the "craft" of writing.

One thing that makes jazz after the mid 60s sound different is the use of plastic drumheads which don't have the same resonance as the old, temperamental calfskin heads. Those skins are especially effective with wire brushes. There's just a different sound there, thicker and tastier. But hey, who wants to mess with fountain pen ink and humidity-sensitive skins?

I'm not against technology. The fountain pen itself was at one time a modern gadget, after all. I'm just saying there is a difference.

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