The Videomatic Tutor

The Videomatic Tutor


The clatter of typewriters in a nearby classroom

created a scene of women learning to type

Young ladies sitting before Imperials and Remingtons

with their handbags aside peering at the Videomatic Tutor

Few realised that burly young soldiers

inhabitied this sanctum of supposed feminine activity

Hands not made for the intricacies of a keyboard

struggled to hit the right keys

Fingers like sausages pressed two keys at the same time

A place of clerical mayhem in the hands of men

Standing in front of the class was the Videomatic Tutor

an illuminated key board for the attention of all

Keys would flash a light as an electronic voice said

s - now, i - now, t - now u  - now, p- -now.

To assist concentration and the development of rythm

a gramaphone played Glenn Miller´s Chattanooga Choo Choo

Keys were furiously hit, carraiges returned as expletives cut the air

This is how the British Army taught its troops to type

T - now, y - now, p - now, e - now

◄ Put down

The Lone Driver ►


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Thu 14th Jun 2018 00:51

This takes me back, Keith. My US high school education in typing was never so vivid as that received from a strong Eastern European female type later in life--truly drill-like and unforgettable.


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Hannah Collins

Tue 12th Jun 2018 20:40

I love this poem.
Fingers like sausages and carriages being returned.
You don't get that with a laptop.
Very attractive poem.


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Trevor Alexander

Tue 12th Jun 2018 13:19

Being a bit temporally challenged, this took me back a long way! I remember, as an Engineer, hand-writing text for the typist to type. Partly because that was the business structure of the day, and partly I suspect, because like Doctors, Engineers' handwriting was generally an unintelligible scrawl. The advent of word processors and computers meant that Engineers typed their own stuff, albeit one-fingered, untaught, with frequent use of the 'delete' key. The result of that was the reduction of admin staff, and in larger companies, the demise of the typing pool. I have advanced to three and four-fingered typing, sharpened with writing poems (allegedly!), but still tend to use the delete and backspace keys rather more than I'd like.

Enjoyed this guided tour down memory lane.

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keith jeffries

Mon 11th Jun 2018 16:42

Martin and Pat,
Thank you for your comments. When using the Videomatic Tutor all the keys were capped so we had to feel for the keys using the home keys. I managed to achieve forty words a minute but now tend to be much more ponderous and slow.

Pat Hughes

Mon 11th Jun 2018 10:44

Congratulations,what an excellent poem.
When I first started to write my hubby bought me a manual typewriter, I will have to take a look in the attic and see if I can find it.

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Martin Elder

Sun 10th Jun 2018 14:13

This makes me think of typing pools which I suspect are non-existent now, where there would be row upon row of women typing up dictated notes form their bosses.
It also puts in mind girls at the sixth form college attended years ago learning to write shorthand and translate it on to the page.
Nice on keith

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keith jeffries

Wed 6th Jun 2018 08:24

Brian, MC., and Darren,
Thank you for your comments as they are much appreciated.

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Darren J Beaney

Wed 6th Jun 2018 05:04


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M.C. Newberry

Wed 6th Jun 2018 01:31

Gosh - how this took me back to my own youthful lessons
being taught how to type.
"Fingers on the home keys!" - those words and the soft
Scottish burr of its female voice travel down the years
now. For a while I fumbled my awkward way to a basic
level of touch typing but soon regressed to a comfortable one (fore)finger style that achieved a fair rate of progress
over an A4 sheet of paper. I still use that method online.
Probably nostalgia (and maybe an insurance policy should my PC keyboard fail me) but I recently bought a used
Adler portable typewriter online for a modest £35 - with
ribbons available when needed. This bargain buy was
even more of a bargain when I found a manual typewriter
being advertised by a modern online supplier of goods
for many times more than that as an "alternative" to the
breakdown of the modern electronic type of keyboard.
A bit like the car maker who offered the manual wind-up
window lever as an "extra" just in case the car electrics
failed. Such is progress today!!

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Brian Maryon

Tue 5th Jun 2018 21:17

I can picture the scene Keith...very well described.

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