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My Filofax


I wanted to write a eulogy to my Filofax. The Filofax was originally by Lefax of Philadelphia USA, and it became the Filofax (file-of-facts) when the UK company was set up. Filofaxes, first sold in the UK after the First World War, and were popular with army officers and the clergy, who used special personnel forms.

Obviously, in some respects a Filofax is no competition for a smart phone. It can’t Google for names or delete an entry permanently and instantly. But the smart phone doesn’t have the right connection to life, doesn’t have the feel of leather, and you must look at everything through a piece of glass. It’s Filofax’s look and feel that is its human connection. Somehow it gives you time. Time to think as you review your written word or cross out a line. The Filofax has a myriad of different types of paper, just what you need printed with specific lines and forms. And in deference to technology you can buy a slim calculator with a six hole side extension that you can clip inside your Filofax!

Filofax enforces a discipline and cannot have a myriad of games to distract you, you just have what you need for your meeting, with some data and refence notes. Google is too quick to tell you what to think, it doesn’t like giving you time to contemplate as you write and possibly make an alteration, which in your Filofax you can see and think about. Google does things instantly and in life you realise that the ‘quick way’ is never the ‘best way’.

My first Filofax was a standard one, which was too thick for me, so I bought a Guildford Extra Slim that takes all the pages I need and fits snugly in the pocket of my suit jacket. I also have a Pocket Hamilton miniature that I use for my hobbies, and I have a superb System Organiser, which uses A5 size paper. This later is a proper meeting notebook with all the other things I need, including fold-out graph paper! Also, you can remove used pages of the diary and inset new ones so that you always have a year ahead.

A long time ago I used to have to go to London for work and I would buy all the pages I needed from under a Bishopsgate railway arch behind Liverpool Street Station, from where Filofax operated. On one of my trips, I had to stay overnight at the St Giles Hotel on the Tottenham Court Road and accidentally I left in the room-safe a Cross fountain pen that fitted my Filofax pen slot for diameter and length. The hotel couldn’t find it when I phoned later. I was able to replace it, but it wasn’t the same, and now when I stay in a hotel, I double check the room-safe in case someone else has left a pen “in exchange”, but they never have.

Rushing headlong into the future

Unsure about exactly where,

Is never going to achieve success;

Take time and Filofax to prepare.

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