Fashion week? Great TV? Nah, September’s all about the new pencil case…
Words Molly Flatt
It’s now seventeen years since I was in school, but the first thing I imagine when I think of September remains (with a shudder of delight): new pencil case.
Not fashion week – though I do love the whole mad creative carousel, and the chance to finally ditch all that sartorial summer froth for proper clothes with structure, texture and sass (just check out the blackberry-coloured Isabel Marant suit in our style sketchbook). Nor the long-awaited autumn influx of decent TV (see our guide to Netflix hidden gems). Not even the chance to swap chilly, tasteless salads for warming, spice-charged comfort food (see Jeremy Pang’s recipe for pork chop crusty rolls and stuffed chillies from new cookery book Hong Kong Diner).
No, there’s something about box-fresh stationary that still pips all other pleasures to the post. If anything, well-turned pens and tactile notebooks are even more important to me than they were back in my schooldays, when I spent all day actually writing by hand and a smelly, sparkly eraser was hard currency. But my joy in simple functional objects seems to be increasing in direct correlation to the amount of time I spend staring at a screen, and it’s not restricted to to-do-list post-it notes (delicious) and brass dandelion bookmarks (divine).
Our feature on how to live a more intentional life summarises my mood this month. Written by Marc Curtis, the founder of Living Unplugged – a UK-based family startup that aims to reconnect people with the world through mindfulness, home-cooked food and digital detoxing – it offers five simple ideas for restoring some analogue balance to your life. Back from holiday, it can be all too tempting to seek solace in Insta-porn from others still on their jaunts, or get sucked into a maelstrom of emails from colleagues once again in full flow. But it’s so much more fulfilling to fight the digital itch and stay present. Feel the edge of chill in the air as you leave the house in the morning. Pocket your headphones and listen to what the birds are doing as you head home at night. And get far less distracted from your creative flow during the hours in between by swapping that shouty device for some cool, silky paper and indigo ink.
(For the record, my poisons of choice are a canary-yellow Lamy fountain pen with a periwinkle-blue softback Moleskine cahier. Now excuse me while I take a private moment…)
Molly Flatt is Digital Editor of PHOENIX Magazine. She is also Associate Editor of FutureBook, Associate Editor of The Memo, and writes about tech and culture for the likes of the Guardian and the BBC. Her debut novel, THE CHARMED LIFE OF ALEX MOORE, will be published by Pan Macmillan next spring.