A few days ago a client gave me a Moleskine Cashier notebook as a gift. I would like to think that it was out of appreciation for the outstanding work I had done. More likely, though, it is because the client was simply disgusted seeing me lugging around a Moleskine copy instead of the real thing; if you’re going to do something, then might as well do it right. I don’t think I have any arguments there.
However, despite its iconic stature, I am not a big fan of the Moleskine. This is not to say I hate these notebooks: I marvel at their style and sophistication. That said, I just have one misgiving (but a big one at that) about these notebooks: they are not fountain pen friendly.
I discovered this lamentable property of the Moleskine when I bought my first Moleskine (the Notebook model, not the Cashier) some time ago. When I began writing (with a fountain pen, naturally), I noticed that the paper suffered from a phenomenon called ‘bleed-through’: ink partially seeping through the page and appearing on the reverse-side of the paper. No matter what I did, the problem just refused to go away. If I was going to accept bleed-through, I might as well use a regular RM2.00 exercise book, the kind you find in any sundry shop, and be done with it.
Why then would I want to shell out RM90.00 for a fancy notebook and still suffer bleed-through? Because Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway and Bruce Chatwin were loyal users of these notebooks? This is hardly justification enough for me. The other alternative is of course to start using ball-points or pencils so that there is was chance of bleed-through happening on my Moleskine.
What! And abandon my beautiful fountain pens? Not a chance!
Then I found a great little product (from the Singaporean company Grand Luxe) called Monologue. The Monologue had all the features of the Moleskine, and it even looked like one. But the best bit was that its 90 gsm, acid-free paper was absolutely bleed-through proof. I felt like my fountain pens and I had finally found a home. Overnight I had become a rabid advocate of the Monologue; notwithstanding its Singaporean origin, and the company’s refusal to grant me a dealership.
But back to the Moleskine Cashier that was given to me. I was pleasantly surprised when the thing showed no sign of bleed-through no matter what pen-and-ink combo I threw at it. It stood like a conquering hero even under the onslaught of my wettest nib and wettest ink (Montblanc 146 / Diamine Emerald). And it nurtured liked a gentle giant when I used my driest nib and driest ink combo (Sailor 1911M / Pelikan 4001 Blue Black). I felt like a punk rocker that had just discovered a fresh area of skin to be pierced, or a hip-hop wannabe that had just discovered a way to wear his pants lower than his danglies.
I was so enamoured with the Moleskine Cashier that it now serves as the notebook where I jot down ideas for my writing- and blogging-prompts. This means that it will be very close to me at all times, and will continue to be that way for a very long time.
But now, as a card-carrying Moleskine-user, do I feel as if I’ve joined the ranks of Picasso, Hemingway and Chatwin? You bet I do! But does using a Moleskine make me write like Hemingway, for instance? You bet it DOESN”T!
However, that doesn’t detract from the fact that the Moleskine Cashier is a superlative notebook. Though not as stylish as the Notebook model, the Cashier is bleed-through proof. To fountain pen users out there, this is perhaps the most important feature a notebook should have. And the Cashier has this in spades!
Thank you, Client…
I put my reading glasses on, did some research and found out that this model is named Cahier (pronounced kah-yay). Please excuse an old man his sloppines.