I just heard back from someone in the Scottish company that makes the Alwych notebook, an alternative to the Moleskine, which I posted about a few days back. Ian J Johnstone of the J. R. Reid Print & Media Group Limited (careful: the link doesn’t seem to work well outside IE) kindly emailed back a bit of background on the company’s notebook, which I pass on here for those of you looking for an alternative to the Moleskine:
We have supplied these notebooks for many years. Their unique selling point is the “All Weather Cover” which has made them popular with many individuals and organisations which require a durable notebook that can stand up to life outdoors. We supply them to, among others, the British Armed Forces and the British Antartic Expedition and, as you mentioned in your e-mail Michael Palin is a fan – and our unpaid ambassador – mentioning them wherever he goes to talk about his adventures! We always know where he is in the world from the internet orders he generates for us.
The book comes in various sizes and internal layouts. We sell lots of Alwych Books to Bird Watchers, who use them to record sightings and often to sketch birds, Fishermen, to record their catches and Archeologists, for recording their findings at “digs”. We are currently developing a “Super Alwych” which will address our customers desire for a fully waterproof notebook and we hope to launch this book in the second half of 2005.
So there you have it. I don’t see any specific reference on Palin’s site to the Alwych, although the keyword ‘notebook’ throws up some interesting little nuggets, like this one from Dhaka, Bangladesh:
When I get out my notebook, a curious crowd presses against me. The Lonely Planet Guide devotes a whole column to ‘Staring’: ‘The Western concept of privacy is not a part of the culture in Bangladesh,’ it warns, and I can see what they mean. I find it as much comical as threatening, as 20 or more people all peer over my shoulder to try and see what I’m writing in a very small book. When I stop writing, all eyes turn to my face, watching expectantly. When I resume, they go back to the book, following every line and curve with the utmost concentration.
I like the look of the Alwych though I haven’t tried using one yet. It’s without the band and pocket, and the All Weather Cover is bendy, if that’s not getting too technical. It’s also slightly taller than a Moleskine, as I’ve compared here:
Anyway, definitely worth trying out if everyone on your block has a Moleskine and you want to look different. Are there any other candidates out there?