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B.C. rocker walks a ‘fine line’ between collecting and hoarding typewriters

Click to play video: 'This is BC: Pandemic pivot from rock singer to typewriter repairman'
This is BC: Pandemic pivot from rock singer to typewriter repairman
It's one of the most unusual 'pandemic pivots' you're going to see. A popular rock singer who turned to a unique niche repair market. Jay Durant has his story in This is BC. – Feb 22, 2022

Brendan Raftery walks in two worlds, living as a super-charged rock singer by night and a mild-mannered typewriter repairman by day.

His new interest was sparked last year when his daughter noticed a clunky yellow relic sitting on the shelf — a typewriter that Raftery had held onto for the past 23 years.

“She said, ‘Dad, what is that thing, how do you plug it in and does it work?” the B.C. resident recalled in an interview.

Read more: This is BC: Vintage toy collector hopes to donate entire collection

Since then, Raftery said he’s taught himself how to bring typewriters back to life, saving all kinds of models from the scrap heap.

“This one is Russian-German, this one is an Oliver No. 5 — it’s from 1913,” he said, moving around the workshop in his garage. “My favourite is the Torpedo 18B.”

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Click to play video: 'This is BC: Lifetime spent collecting vintage toys'
This is BC: Lifetime spent collecting vintage toys

Supporting Raftery’s repair work is a thriving career as the lead singer of an AC/DC tribute band called BC/DC. His alias — Brian “Bon” Johnscottson — is a tribute to the Aussie rock legend’s current and former lead singers, Brian Johnson and Bon Scott.

Raftery also works for Hewlett-Packard — creating income that has helped him launch his new sales business, “Old School Typewriters.”

“It’s a fine line between collecting and hoarding so I’m just calling it a business,” he joked.

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Raftery sells to writers, collectors or anyone looking for a unique piece of art for the home or office.

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He said one refurbished model painted with scenes from Tom Hanks’ movies just placed in the top three at a prestigious typewriter beauty contest in the United States.

“This one is in Hebrew, it writes right to left,” Raftery added, showing another one of his unique models.

Click to play video: 'Maud Lewis Art Collector'
Maud Lewis Art Collector

Life will get busy again as BC/DC starts booking more gigs, but Raftery insisted he will find time for both of his hobbies. He’s already got his bandmates on board.

“We had a practice a few months ago and I brought them all of their own typewriters,” he told Global News. “I mean, I had a few.”

Now, he said all that remains is to work on a jingle for his new company.

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“We can sort of morph an AC/DC song into the typewriters,” he said. “That’s coming now that you’ve put that into my head. For those about to type, we salute you.”

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