06 July 2010

Guest Post - And Now For Something Completely Different...

Why is it I always think of Monty Python when I see that phrase... well this Guest Post from 'DJ' is nothing to do with Monty Python, but with a Filofax Organiser which is quite different from anything else I've ever seen before....

For me, this whole thing kicked off from Japan, ironically. Flashback: 1986, New York City, the height of the Filofax craze, working in Yuppie Central.  But my first Filofax-type planner, which was given to me by a friend, was a Japanese “Inning” made by Plus Corporation. Great name Inning, if you stop to think about the baseball/cricket metaphor and its implications, e.g. bad Inning(s) does not lose the game, you can win in the last Inning, etc. It took Personal size sheets (in Japan called Bible).

As you can see, it was a pretty cool design then, and still looks good today. Looks like a proto-netbook, with clamshell-type construction. Pretty near indestructible ABS Plastic, with wells for THREE writing instruments, originally pen, pencil and highlighter. Now red and black Uniball Micros, with a Time/system pencil. They fit perfectly in the slots. On the inside back cover, two additional slots, the top I use for business cards, the bottom slot being perfect for a 3M Post-It pad.

Produced only in 1986, it came in five colours: black, yellow, forest green, navy blue and white. It was the victim of bad timing, as the PDA was about to take Japan by storm, with North America and Europe to follow.

Though some years I’ve used Filofax refills, for the most part I’ve kept this Japanese, using the Bible-sized Data Plan refills, by Maruman, available at Kinokuniya or Mai Do stores. Both are good places to get lined or grid paper for Pocket, Personal or A5 Filofax (Mini, Bible, A5 in Japan, respectively). For those into saving trees, some versions (month to view, week on a page) of the Data Plan diaries come sans date, so you just pencil it in, then erase to reuse the diary the next year. I just use five numbered tabs, pertaining to TASKS, PROJECTS, LISTS, FINANCIAL, REFERENCE.

And that's the story from BIZARRO WORLD, for you Superman fans...

Thank you DJ


  1. The word "inning" in the sense of "a gathering in" is first recorded in 1522, and is believed to be related to the subsequent cricket/baseball usage. The Inning agenda is an interesting artifact from the 80's and practical, with room for 3 pens, business cards, sticky notes. But it somehow lacks the warmth of the leather Filofax, which shows its age and usage well. On the other hand, no calf, cow, pig, lizard, ostrich or crocodile had to be sacrificed in the name of organisation!

  2. And it lays flat!
    I'll be setting up a new Ebay search.
    I want one.

  3. The Inning is capable of even more than laying flat. Somewhere on the web I saw a story about one Ian Tindale chap (the one who wrote the entry for fF on Wikipedia). He was mugged in London, with his passport in his hand-carried Personal Lyndhurst Zip. He fought like crazy against three if I recall, mainly for the passport. At the end, he kept his 'Fax, but he was pretty bunged up. Had he an Inning, he might have fared better. The hard ABS material makes this bad boy a pretty feasible weapon in a pinch. Plus you'd have the element of surprise, kind of like Steed's metal lined bowler. Alternate uses, indeed! Like the story of the WWII Tommie whose Filofax reportedly stopped a German bullet (talk about time-saving devices!)

    But really folks (he says belatedly), can't we just all get along?

  4. I remember reading about that story of a military-issue Filofax stopping a bullet.

    I'd like to see that tested on Mythbusters :-)

  5. It has some plausibility right out of the gate, if you'll recall the original market for Filofax was the Military and the Clergy (Journalists and Academia after, followed in the 80's by Yuppia). If it was as full as most folks' Personals (only size available '39-'45), it may have stopped a bullet, depending on caliber, distance and trajectory. MB would have to research the standard Wehrmacht rifle, and test fire at various distances. Unlike the William Tell legend, the tests should be run with "dummies." True, any live person volunteering would, by definition, be a dummy.


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