No real need for me to rant at vast length about the stupidity of this existing, I think, as the pointlessness is pretty apparent – to wit: if you’ve got a pen, why bother recording anything? Why not just write whatever it is you’ve got to remember, even if it’s only on the back of your hand?

Most of these pens only have a recording time of around ten seconds, which just emphasises the sense in using the pen as, duh, a pen, though some of them have (using new digital technology) recording times of up to two hours. Is it genuinely likely that you’ll not be able to get to a piece of paper in two hours if you need to? Sure, you could be in the middle of the Sahara or something, but let’s face it, in that situation you’ve got more pressing issues than the presentation that Derek wants to see by the close of play tomorrow.

Ah, you might say, you could use it as a recorder for a long meeting, and then play it back. To which I say counter-ah, how are you going to transcribe the salient points from the meeting – your pen’s in use as a playback machine. What’s that you say, you’ll use it as a pen at the same time? What, and press play and stop repeatedly while you try to keep up with the speed of speech? I doubt it. Huh? What? You’ll get a different pen? Ah, so you concede that it’s either a pen or a recorder, not both. So why don’t you buy a proper recorder, not some executive toy that’s neither one thing nor another? Eh? Answer me. I said – oh, stop crying. Just throw the pen away, and we’ll let the matter drop.

Recordable pens, then; like the calculator digital watches of the 1980s, an unworkable combination of two different functions – though whereas the calculator watch was too small to work as a calculator and too chunky to work as a watch, the recordable pen actually works against its two aims by providing the possibility of audio or text-based record-keeping, but makes it impossible to use them in tandem. Which is why you should either buy a pen, or a recorder.

I’m reminded of a joke I used to make in my stand-up days (as I’ll egotistically call them) about how I was thinking about getting a tattoo, but wanted to get one which I wouldn’t be ashamed of in years to come, which would have some resonance for everyone who saw it, and which would mean something to me every time I saw it. The only tattoo that met those criteria, the punchline went, was a tattoo on the back of my hand, saying ‘Get Milk’.
And now you understand why there’s no live DVD from me on sale this holiday season.