old records: some diamine germany exclusives
The fluorescent lights hit the spiderwebs in the corners, illuminating the dust caught in them. The music thumps through the walls, you can feel it deep in your bones. Your heart beats to the bass, your steps follow it too. It’s so easy to lose yourself in the rhythm as the world continues to turn around you. Frozen in time, in the moment, wishing that it would never end. But the song ends and the world catches up to you in the heartbeat of silence between the songs.
I used to be obsessed with music. Recognising songs faster than Shazam ever could, knowing lyrics to almost every song. Not only the lyrics, but the beat, the guitars. Everything. I knew it by heart. Playing guitar by the ear, singing with friends. I’m fond of those memories, but I barely remember how to play the guitar now, let alone songs. I loved rock music, especially the old stuff, 80’s mostly. Guns N Roses’s Sweet Child O’ Mine was the first rock song I had heard and it felt like I had been hit by a truck. We had the coolest music teacher in school, he had actually taught us music history for a year, spending the last quarter solely on popular music from 20th century. That was the first time when I had heard any of this stuff, my parents didn’t listen to foreign music much. I don’t know how a 45 minute class can change someone’s life so much, but it did. I had reconstructed my music taste from scratch throughout middle school, pirating way too much of it and raiding the second hand vinyl store once a month. Well, since Guns N Roses was the band that started my rabbit hole into music, it was only a matter of time before I got these inks. Sometimes it’s not a question of whether you can or cannot, it’s a question of when.
Nowadays, I have different obsessions but still I couldn’t stop myself from drooling over these German exclusive inks from Diamine: Smoke on the Water, Skull & Roses and November Rain. Recently some places in the Netherlands also started carrying them and I bought some bottles to give them a go. I had pretty high expectations -since Diamine always delivers- and I’m happy to say that it wasn’t a surprise that these inks are beautiful.
Like many, Smoke on the Water was the first song I’ve ever learned to play on the guitar, so I’ll start with that. It’s easily my favourite -the ink, not the song unfortunately. It is a teal colour, the photographs tend to show it a lot more light blue-ish than it is in real life. The colour does remind me of smokey waters, when the fog blurs the line between the horizon and the water. Its colour almost feels exactly halfway between the blue of Skull & Roses and November Rain. Not too green, not too blue. It writes smoothly out of my Jinhao Shark pen once it gets going, but I have to prime the nib. I think that’s the pen’s fault as I didn’t have a quick drying or problematic experience with a glass pen or a Lamy Safari I put it into. It’s a wet ink and it will sheen on pretty much any paper. Today has been pretty cloudy, so the photographs don’t show the sheen as much as it is in real life. Even on absorbent paper it manages to sheen where the ink pools.
Skull & Roses is a bright blue, the first time I swatched it I immediately thought of Pilot Iroshizuku Asa-gao and Diamine Sargasso Sea. Who am I kidding, this is the best one of the bunch. And yes, it is mostly the name. I do like a good name. The base colour is somewhat similar, but the amount of sheen is so much more in this ink. It is the sheeniest of the bunch. Similarly, I had some problems with dry flow in my Jinhao Shark, but another friend was completely fine and didn’t have to push some more ink through with the converter every now and then while writing. It’s a wet ink and a smooth writing experience. Even with so much sheen, it has never smudged after being left alone to dry for a couple of minutes. These type of blues will never be my favourite, therefore it is my least used one. Though I am happy I got the big 80ml bottle for it as it became a quick favourite for the said friend. It’s a well loved ink in this house.
The last ink is November Rain. Oddly, the name and colour match makes perfect sense to me. Green rain. I have never loved that song too much, but the music video is so good. I got this in the smaller 30ml bottles because I wasn’t sure that I’d like the base colour of it. I love green inks, but my tastes tend to run in warmer toned greens rather than a very saturated “true” cool green. I was so wrong. It’s an awesome ink and the sheen gives the little extra something it needs to be exciting. I had this in a Lamy Aion with an extra fine nib and it only sheened where the ink pooled. I like a bit of sparkle to my notes, and I’ve grown to like the saturated green. Therefore this is actually the most used ink out of the three even though the nib is the thinnest.
I like to keep super saturated sheening inks in fine nibs instead of wider ones. Therefore, these will fit nicely into my collection. All of them write very smoothly and don’t smudge or transfer once fully dry. But somehow I managed to get Smoke on the Water everywhere. None of the pages I’ve written are smudged or covered in fingerprints, but I have ink all over my fingers and my desk. It still sheens on the desk by the way.
You really cannot go wrong with Diamine inks and this is not different. They all behave nicely and live up to their sheeny nature by sheening on every paper available. I put the writing sample in a regular 100gsm paper, Oxford Optik Paper and 90gsm Clairefontaine Velvet Paper. All of the swatches are on Col-o-ring ink testing book with the ring. I have been listening to Appetite for Destruction on repeat the whole day, and every time Sweet Child O’ Mine plays I still feel like someone hit me with a brick. It’s one of those songs that played silently in the background when a part of my life was happening.
Thank you for reading! And yes, the song for today is not surprising. I hope it brings back some good memories to everyone as well.