“dadanak ang tinta!”

Back in the late ’80s, when I was a college student, I lived with my father and sister on Bohol Avenue in a teeny little apartment that used to be a dentist’s office, right across the old ABS-CBN compound that at the time was still under government control and was called PTV-4.

Pops was working at the station as an anchorman for “The UN Hour”, voiceover for “This Is It!”, the noontime variety show that had a very young Lea Salonga as host, and as part of the News and Public Affairs team. My sister and I roamed the entire facility as if it were ours, watching “Jeopardy” on the feed from the US military base in Subic, eating chips with the video editors who at the time were not using non-linear editing yet, and chatting with the soldiers assigned to guard the station about their last assignment post, which in one sergeant’s case was “Pwirtu Prinsisa City”, he constantly hoping to be sent back for the abundant and succulent seafood there.

(I have a point, I promise.)

It was a time of political turmoil. Marcos had just been ousted and replaced by Cory. Certain intransigent elements in the military kept threatening the country’s new stability with one coup attempt after another. Battle catchphases abounded; a popular headline was “Dadanak ang dugo!”

(Yes, I’m getting there.)

One day, some PA’s (production assistants) from News were sent to cover yet another rally. It was a cause dear to one of the PA’s; she shook a fist and brandished a U-Matic cassette in the other. “Dadanak ang videotape!” she vowed.

Which finishes the backstory that explains the title of this post, and brings us to the crux. The “Mel and Joey” show which featured five fountain pen collectors (including myself) and the only fountain pen store and repair shop in the country aired last July 27, Sunday, on GMA Network. Lovely pens and ink got airtime and well-deserved exposure.

it was a big boost for several things: one, for the promotion of FP use; two, for Luis Store; and three, for me to be serious about losing weight.

Gaah, I knew I needed to drop a kilo or two, but last night’s airing (and six texted and emailed comments with Jazz’s chiding “I saw you on the show and almost didn’t recognize you. You’re so fat already. Buy hawthorn extract at SM Hypermart,” being the kindest) convinced me that somehow, forty parasitic pounds had lost their host and, bereft, attached themselves to me.

I’m already on a vegetarian diet to lower purine and cholesterol levels. What else do I have to do, exercise?! That’ll take time away from blogging and playing with fountain pens! (“Is that Doctor __’s secretary? Please tell Doc I’m coming in tomorrow to pick up that “magic bullet” prescription she promised me for the weight-loss medicine.”)

But I digress. On this show, FPs and ink are the stars. Gaze with wonder at the magical Buddhist Sutra pen that wards off demons (of writer’s block, perhaps?), and marvel at the pen striped with ancient ivory from the tusks of a long-dead woolly mammoth. See how ink bottles can be as pretty as perfume bottles. Most importantly, observe how five people of diverse backgrounds are brought together in friendship to celebrate a shared passion.

Thanks to Leigh, you can watch the segment again (and again and again) here: http://inkstains.multiply.com/video/item/8/Pentastic_on_Mel_Joey

Screenshot from the “Mel and Joey” show: Filipino fountain pen collectors Butch, Caloy, Jenny, Leigh, and Jay (July 2008, UP Diliman)

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