If all we had were roses, would the thorns then be beautiful?

by Scribble Monboddo

Rum old place, New York. Not so much for the 'so good they named it twice' malarkey, considering that Old York has had at least five names, but more for the all-encompassing intercontinental weirdness of its history. That it speaks a version of English is in part due to Dutch colonists' enthusiasm for nutmeg, as a result of which Manhattan was swapped for the Indonesian spice island of Run. Sure, the skyscrapers are cool, but not a patch on a decent glass of mulled wine, eh? 

Thankfully, the big apple remains a properly peculiar place today, and the stationery emanating therefrom can reach dizzying hits of eccentricity too. Exhibit 1: Uglybooks.


It takes a determined sort of perversity to send a consumer product out into the world labelled as Ugly, doesn't it? Or then again, perhaps it takes a well-founded confidence that the product is anything but. Obviously, they're not ugly at all - but what they are is distinctive, for sure.

These probably aren't books for taking to work, unless the workplace in question is very hip indeed, but the random mix of cover and paper is certainly fun. The logo's on the back deliberately, so you can make the front cover your own; break out the paint-box, cover it in stickers, or doodle intricately as you see fit. Then there's the surprising coloured paper - and the colour's not the only surprise. It's thick and heavy, with a gently textured surface, so of course graphite loves it - but unexpectedly, it's great at handling fountain pen ink too! Who saw that coming? If you find Tomoe River a bit flimsy, and rather slow to dry, here is one humdinger of an antidote. 

£21 is an 'affordable luxury' price for three of these A6 notebooks, in a colour-way which is absolutely not of your choice; the randomness is part of the fun. As a spur to creative scribbling, they look just the ticket!