Despite the fact that I settled a long time on my favoured writing instrument, I still spend an inordinate amount of time trying out different ones. While I still use a Uniball Eye for pretty much everything, I do occasionally have a yen for using a pencil. With that in mind, I bought a Parker mechanical pencil for about a fiver off Amazon. Not only this, but I thought it would be a good idea to write about it, if only to reassure myself that I’m not the only maniac who Googles reviews of pencils before buying them.
It writes well enough, but the barrel tapers to quite a slim width, which initially felt a little awkward for my long fingers. That seems to be easing a bit as I adjust to it, but it does feel a little strange. Others might find it suits them perfectly from the off. With this being a Parker, however, it’s boxed and packaged on the shelf, meaning you can’t give it a go before you buy it in a shop. There’s a bit of rattle as you handle it, but that may just be the lead inside the body and there’s no noise as you write. It’s not quite as solidly put together as I imagined, but perhaps I had unrealistic expectations given I was paying five pounds, not fifty. I certainly find it nicer to use than plastic propelling pencils and feel confident that I can keep it in my pocket without it breaking. There’s a solidity to it that I find reassuring. Given that using a Parker is a nod to the old school, it’s nice to occasionally use it and pretend that I’m a civil servant in the 60s. (I know they wouldn’t use a pencil, but I’d rather die than use a ballpoint and am too clumsy to use a fountain pen). There was perhaps an outside hope that it would be the right implement for use with a Moleskine and cure my ongoing obsession with how much writing shows through to the other side of a page. Unfortunately, that seems to just be the way the paper is made and something always shows through, no matter if you’re using the softest lead or the crappiest biro.
I don’t think it’s perfect, probably because I prefer something with a wider and darker line, but it has a certain quality that pleases me – a mixture of the classic and the modern. Maybe that makes me a ponce, but I don’t care. Sometimes using a chewed Staedler simply won’t do.