For many years I thought that the word moleskine referred only to the sort of trousers my brother wore for outdoor sporting pursuits made from a soft, downy material. Then, like the rest of the world, I discovered that the word also refers to the very specific sort of notebook used to the exclusion of all others by Bruce Chatwin. These notebooks are no longer manufactured by the original French maker but by Italians. Still, no discerning/pretentious traveller would leave home without one. I seem to have come across a lot of writing about moleskines recently. First there was Izzy's admission in Undisclosed Location: It's all about love: that she rearranges them in shops
"I spent a minute or two yesterday organizing the Moleskine display at Barnes & Noble. Just like I still do with Macs whenever I see them in stores, I made sure everything was in the right place. Instead of cleaning up desktops and getting demos running again, however, I was making sure all of the different varieties were clearly visible and grouped together."
Then I came across Le Moleskine à Beleg a blog published by a student in Bordeaux with extracts from his moleskine. He participates in the Wandering Moleskine Project weblog. But best of all was a crit in the TLS which quotes Michael Bywater in his book "Lost Worlds: :
"Let us get this straight", says Bywater
1: The Moleskine of Chatwi is lost.
2: The new Moleskine is a different thing, its autheniticity fatally compromised by its insistence on authenticity.
3: The original Moleskine was not a carefully marketed designer brand. "Moleskine was just a generic waterproof cover.
4: And anyway, it was just a fucking notebook. Ça va?
I'd like to see some good digital Moleskines though. Not the scanned paper ones which you'd rather touch anyway, but original "carnets de route" type collages with some writing and photos and authentic web-scavenged artefacts.