Lyre, lyre, pants on fire

by Scribble Monboddo

Nero, as in the Emperor, famously fiddled while Rome burned. Except, of course, he didn't, because the violin was a good millennium and half away from invention, and Nero may have been many things but he was no varnished, vigorously-bowed time traveller. He engaged in a spot of inflammatory town planning, certainly, but if he was diverting himself with desultory airs on a stringed instrument while doing so it was a probably a lyre. I tried playing one, once. 'Complete nightmare. Not as much of a nightmare as flambéing half of the world's most populous city for the sake of purist basilica/portico alignment, I grant you, but that instrument's enough to make anyone want to break out the lighter fluid and do a Hendrix.

Ita vero, citizens, you're all toast. To mark the occasion, here's a black-on-black cover for a prototype Nero's Notes pocket notebook. It could be a play on the literal meaning of Nero rather than a reference to imperial arson, but either way it absolutely looks the business. It plays nicely with fountain pens, too - and it's made by hand in tiny little Rutland, which no-one's tried to burn to a crisp for positively aeons but is as far from faceless factory mass production as it's possible to get without picking up knitting needles - or a lyre, I suppose.

So, should Rob the black-smith get busy in his smithy and make some? Should Nero's Notes order some to sell to you? Answers on a carte postale please, or a wax tablet... or just on a pocket notebook, of course!