By Robert Messenger
It's been more than a year now since brilliant British-born, American-based writer and musician Dominic Green wrote his wonderful "True to Type" article on the Literary Review's "The Pulpit" page. Since then, Dominic has continued to show pride and joy in his typing and his typewriters, and has moved on from his 1926 L.C.Smith No 8 standard to a first model Imperial Good Companion portable.
Dominic opened his "Pulpit" piece by revealing he’d written it with his L.C. Smith. Dominic, who now lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, then went on to say he’d bought the machine from none other than our old friend Tom Furrier, of Cambridge Typewriter, Arlington.
Dominic said, "I suppose my technical history is no different from that of any other writer: from first love with pencils and pens, I moved to teenage experiments with a portable typewriter, a disastrous romance with a word processor that had trouble processing my words and then marriage to a computer that doesn’t understand me.
"The computer changed my brain. Instead of writing sentences, I noted fragments. As I mashed them into the pictorial image of a paragraph, I pushed the rest forward like gravel before a glacier, then ground to a stop. My line of thought was equally pulverised. I was an addict, and internet-limiting software called Freedom only reminded me of my servitude. Now I am truly free and falling in love again."
Falling in love, that is, with the freedom offered by writing with a typewriter.
"It feels good to work with my hands," Dominic wrote, "and to be in physical contact with the page."
"A typewriter separates production from consumption, creativity from entertainment ... Digitisation removed most of the quality control, and most of the value, from writing."
"You cannot tell an Apple writer from a Hewlett-Packard writer, or a Pages writer from a Word writer, or even a laptop writer from a desktop writer. But there are clear corerelations between types of writer and choice of typewriter."
Dominic, who was born in 1970, is the son of legendary British saxophonist Bernard “Benny” Green (1927-98) and the older brother of another remarkable saxophonist, Leo Green.
Benny Green had a great passion for cricket and edited and published the Wisden Anthologies, a summary of the famous cricketing annual. These four volumes cover the highlights from Wisden Cricketers' Almanack from its inception in 1864 until 1989 and stand as a major milestone in cricketing literature.
Sixty years ago, Benny played in Lord Rockingham's XI, the house band on ITV's rock 'n' roll show Oh Boy! The band's biggest single success was one of those long forgotten one-hit wonders, Hoots Mon, which reached No 1 on the British charts for three weeks in November-December 1958. Another track, Fried Onions, made the US Billboard Top 100. Among the many rock and pop stars Lord Rockingham's XI backed were Marty Wilde, Cuddly Dudley and Brenda Lee (see image of Benny and Brenda here).