I visited London this weekend, continuing my niche campaign to explore the world of computer-to-Monotype interfaces. (If none of this makes any sense, take a look at my earlier post about the last working Monotype caster in Scotland.) Having seen Harry McIntosh’s system first-hand in Edinburgh, this time round I prevailed upon Phil Abel and Nick Gill of London’s Hand & Eye Letterpress to show me the system installed at their own workshop, of which much more in a future post.
On the way to catch the train home, I came across the billboard-sized manicule shown above, pointing the way to the new entrance at King’s Cross; this centuries-old mark is clearly in rude health. Not only that, but this larger than-life example takes a very clear (and quite correct) stand with regards to the King(’)s Cross apostrophe controversy: for now at least, the possessive apostrophe is in the ascendant.
Now, though, on with the show ☞
Unusual marks of punctuation got some much-needed PR a couple of weeks ago, courtesy of Adrienne Crezo of Mental Floss magazine. The contents of Adrienne’s list of “13 Little-Known Punctuation Marks We Should Be Using” will be not unfamiliar to readers of Shady Characters — the interrobang, SarcMark, irony mark all get mentions — but nonetheless, a number of other sites have picked it up and run with it, including The Week and Neatorama. Is a renaissance in the offing for unusual punctuation?
Having looked into the life and times of the humble ‘@’ key in fairly comprehensive detail, I enjoyed the New York Times’ short history of the ESC, or ‘escape’, key. It may not have the epic sweep of the @-symbol’s journey from Renaissance Spain to the birth of the Internet, but the ESC is surely as prevalent, if not used quite so regularly, as ‘@’. No sooner did I wonder if anyone has attempted a history of vestigial and endangered computer keys than I found a 2003 article at the Straight Dope taking a game stab at such a thing.
And, lastly, Shady Characters cropped up again in the Guardian’s Crossword Blog. A very pleasant surprise!