(Who’d have thought?)
During 1972, as part of my commercial traineeship with the British Steel Corporation in Corby, I was required to attend the Technical College on George Street to absorb myself in a course called the Certificate in Office Studies. One day a week we would learn about invoices, credit and debit notes: all the bits of paper that might be required filling out or filing during an office life in the seventies. We had different tutors for the different elements which saw us moving as a collective lump from one floor to another: one room to another. I know that I was supposed to find the whole experience rewarding as it was designed to be useful for my future daily working life, but there was precious little to commend this course to the creative mind. All of this was about to change however as I was introduced to a part of the programme that I’d forgotten I’d ‘ticked’ as a preferred choice on my entrance form. Touch typing. Yes, actual typing, with a typewriter and everything. And just like choosing to take biology lessons during my time at the Boy’s school where one had to attend those particular lessons in the Girl’s school, these typing lessons were mostly attended by girls: lots of them. In fact, I think there were only three lads brave enough to sign up for this component of our curriculum. The only thing I can still remember from those halcyon days is simply this: A-S-D-F and L-K-J-H. These were the keys on which ones fingers had to be placed in order for the touch typing to begin. You can try it for yourself on your keypad. Once your fingers are in place you can move each finger up or down to adjoining appropriate keys, allowing for speed and, above all, accuracy. Still, I don’t suppose these things matter any more as we have all become as individual with our touch typing as we have with everything else.
See also ‘Another Time, Another Place’