This is the final part in a three-part pen-based autobiography. Part 1 is here and Part 2 is here.

Inevitably, the previous entries involved a certain amount of simplification. Details were smoothed out. Some pens completely overlooked. Shameful, I know, but I had to make some sacrifices for the sake of narrative clarity. I hope you can forgive me. This part of my pen-based autobiography, concentrating on my life today, will be more detailed. Rather than taking a chronological approach, I will describe the four pens I currently use in terms of function.

Pen: Staedtler Stick 430M
Ink colour: black
Comments: My current day-to-day pen, as mentioned at the end of My Life In Pens – Part 2. Whilst I am a big fan of this pen, I don’t feel quite as strongly about it as Laura, who in response to my previous entry, wrote:

I am 32 and it is all aspire to in life, pen-wise. I love it and have been known to raid shops when I thought there was a shortage.

It is actually surprisingly difficult to find places which sell this pen. I’m not suggesting it’s impossible to find somewhere which sells this pen, but it’s slightly more difficult than you might imagine. While Laura is convinced the Staedtler Stick 430M is the only pen she’ll ever need, for me, there are other pens more suited to particular applications. Still, I do really like this pen.

Pen: Bic Atlantis Stic
Ink colour: black
Comments: This is the pen I use for signing greeting cards or letters. The 1.2mm tip produces a 0.8mm line, and features exclusive Easy-Glide System™ Ink Technology:

Easy-Glide System™ ink technology writes 50% smoother and bolder than BIC’s regular ball pen ink.

I feel that the smooth, bold line produced by the Easy-Glide System ™ conveys a feeling of friendliness and bonhomie towards the lucky recipient of my card. A relaxed urbane easy grace. Or, if it’s a bereavement card, it can suggest warmth and sympathy. None of these emotions are genuine, of course, which is why I rely on a specially selected pen.

I am also rather taken by the subtle, soft, flowing curves of the Atlantis. It makes a pleasing counterpoint to the stark Staedtler Stick 430M. The romantic French and the austere Germans.

As far as I am aware, the Bic Atlantis is the only range from Bic to be named after a mythical lost city from classical antiquity.

Pen: Bic Orange Fine
Ink colour: black
Comments: For a long time, I never liked the Bic Orange Fine. It was the orange casing which put me off. I’m not sure why the world of pen manufacture decided that the finer tipped versions of all pens should have orange casing, but it appears they did. Even Staedtler have a version of the Stick 430 in orange (the Stick 430 F). Of course, I now realise this anti-Orange feeling was little more than racism, and having given the Orange Fine a chance, I’ve found that it is actually a rather fine little pen. It’s especially good for writing in little note books, where smallness of letter is key.

This advert from Portugal, explaining the difference between the Bic Cristal and Bic Orange Fine is one of my favourite things in the world.

I think the lyrics basically go something like:

Bic! Bic! Bic Bic Bic!
Bic Bic Bic! Bic Orange.
Bic Bic Bic! Bic Crystal.
Bic Orange, Bic Crystal.
You can choose from two ways to write;
Bic Orange for writing fine,
Bic Crystal for writing normal.
Bic Orange, Bic Crystal.
You can choose from two ways to write.
Bic! Bic! Bic Bic Bic!

I particularly like the whistle right at the end. There’s also a Spanish version which has a funky little bass line running through it:

Pen: Bic Cristal Clic
Ink colour: black
Comments: This is the pen I use when I am Twirl Spotting:

This is an ideal pen as it combines the reliability of the Bic Cristal with the convenience of a retractable nib. No fiddling around with a lid, just a simple click action. I haven’t had any problems with this pen so far.

What I also like about this pen is the detailing – the way the click button is shaped to resemble the lid of the traditional Cristal. That’s a nice touch.


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