Old-fashioned ways for the modern age

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

When speaking here of and referring to old-fashioned ways I do not – necessarily – mean in a Luddite way or in a way similar to the Amish who refuse – basically – to have anything to do with modern ways.

old-fashioned-waysIt is not those – per se – that I will be speaking of but of the ways of old that especially today would be good for us and the Planet if they be brought back.

The old-fashioned ways I shall be considering and speaking of here are those that society today more often than not thinks quaint and antiquated, like walking and cycling instead of using the car, using pen and paper instead of electronic means for writing, for instance. As well as speaking with people face-to-face or on the telephone instead of sending text messages. And also making do and mending and making things rather than buying them.

The motorcar, it has to be said is beginning to fall out of favor in the second decade of the twenty-first century and that especially with young people and that to such an extent that many are not even bothering, while making the driving license, to actually acquire a car themselves. Instead they take to cycling, including for the daily commute.

This is a good turn of events as it cuts down on pollution from motor vehicle traffic – the less of them on the roads the better – and is good not only for the Planet and the doers' wallets. It also keeps the doers fit and healthy, if they do not get knocked off their bikes by inconsiderate motorists who seem to believe that they own the roads. But safety can be found in numbers here (as in so many cases) and the more people who will take to the bicycle the better.

The cost of fuel and everything else associated with owning and sunning a car is one of the reasons that the old-fashioned way is becoming rather popular again, that is to say the walking and the cycling.

A bicycle is not just cheaper to buy and cheaper to run. It also can be (almost) entirely maintained at top condition by the owner and also repaired. The bicycle is, however, but one of those old-fashioned ways that is making rather a comeback. The humble typewriter is another.


In late Spring 2013 the Russian secret service community announced that, in light of the electronic spying by the NSA and GCHQ disclosed by Edward Snowden, the services are returning to using typewriter, albeit electric ones, for sensitive documents and communications. Thus the announcement of the death of the typewriter has been very premature indeed.

The typewriter is far from being an old hat and dead even though it could have been thought so with the large use of computers and such nowadays.

To all intents and purposes, however, the typewriter is very much alive and is having rather a renaissance these days and that includes also and especially manual ones.

Manual typewriters, and here especially old working ones, are sought after once again and not (just) to put on display. They are intended and bought for use. Reports even suggest that young people especially, in places such as the USA and other hyper-modern countries, are looking at using and learning how to use typewriters again.


Pen and paper is another old-fashioned way whose death has been announced very prematurely indeed. In fact pen and paper is having rather a revival if the amount of Moleskine and other notebooks that can be seen carried and used and here very much again by the younger generation, especially young professionals, is anything to go by.

head-medium_0For many years we have been told – brainwashed in fact – that computers would make pen and paper obsolete and also that we should reduce and even eliminate the use of paper and go “paperless” in order to save the (rain) forests.

The latter, as to the rainforests and paper, is a total fallacy at best and an outright lie at worst as paper pulp cannot be produced from (tropical) hardwoods.

Why we are thus being lied to in such a way I cannot say but what I can say if that pen and paper are still very much in use and, it would appear, are coming back in vogue.

Even the use of the fountain pen is coming back and many of those that have taken to using Moleskine, Leuchtturm1917 and similar quality notebooks also invest in good quality fountain pens to use with those notebooks. Here it is also mostly “real” fountain pens – filled from an ink bottle – rather than cartridge pens.

Slowly, it would seem, many people are coming back to the realization that not everything modern is what it is made out to be and that not everything that glitters is gold. There is a great amount of fools' gold around which has been mistaken for the real stuff.

Too many of the good old-fashioned ways are not, as yet, coming back into their own but in order to bring back sanity into all of our lives and for the sake of the Planet they must be revived.

MAKING DO & MENDING is one of those and while the mending with products today that are made to break down easily and designed so they cannot be repaired in most cases it is a bit hard – but we can change that too – the making do is what we all can do already now. Especially here as to making do with what we already have as long as it works (well) and does the job.

Making do is something that we can and must do (again) for the sake of sanity, our wallets, and especially for the Planet. We only have this one Planet, we only have one Mother Earth.

Our ancestors, and especially here those of the working class and the peasantry, were masters in the making do department and from their ways, some of which are recorded in books and other publications, we can surely learn a great deal and we also must.

© 2013