A little bit of history A handful of trading posts in Brandenburg gradually became the capital of Prussia, and thus the command post of the more-or-less unified Germany that Bismarck brought about, until things crashed to a halt in 1918 for obvious reasons. After that, Berlin had a brief flowering as a centre of the liberal arts and alternative lifestyles (think Cabaret), then very bad things happened from the 1930s until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Now it’s back to its Bohemian (OK, that was technically a different Germanic state, but like Prussia no longer exists) best, and producing art, thought, and alternative lifestyles galore. Just where you’d expect a recycled notebook fit for nib-twiddling hipsters to come from, of course.
How it looks Rough, ready, lo-fi and under-stated – but really cool. The attention paid to the typeface has paid off, and at only a touch larger than A6 size it will fit in most pockets.
How it feels Now here’s the surprise – that paper is smooth. This is a bit of a shock!
Crucially, how it handles a fountain pen… The surprise continues as you break out your wettest nibs and test the thing. The off-grey paper feels smooth to write on too, bleed-through is respectably limited, and the whole package is pretty much indestructible.
Pulp! What is it good for? Travel notes, preliminary sketches, brainstorming and the like. This is the ‘rough draft’ notebook par excellence.
VFM At £11.50 for a pack of three this is good value which competes well with other pocket notebooks, and it works with real pens so it won’t end up abandonned at the back of a cupboard.
If this isn’t quite your cup of tea, but almost… That’s a toughy, as there’s not much else out there quite like this just yet. Hopefully it will start a trend!
Our overall recommendation If you like being a bit eco-friendly and don’t mind the paper not being the absolute whitest white, this is a bit of a marvel. Give ’em a go!
Where to get hold of one Direct from Nero’s Notebooks
This meta-review references:
- Scribble’s scribbles
- Nick’s full-on assault
- Alison’s purple prose
Thanks to Nero for asking one of his biped assistants to send a few handy samples our way.