Making your mark

28th September 2001 at 01:00
As a student, no doubt you have despaired at the scourge of the red pen scrawled all over your essays. But now that you've crossed over to the dark side, the red pen will be an essential part of your armoury.

If you opt for the cheapo plastic ballpoint option, you may end up with tired, calloused hands and zero cool points.

If you want more than a rollerball or the latest gel pen and you've got the time, it may be worth searching out a specialist pen outlet.

Don't be frightened off by the Mont Blanc pens in their secure casing. There are affordable options that won't cramp your writing style.

The Pen Shop, which has 21 outlets in the UK, has a huge range of smart pens. Best of all, you shouldn't have any problems getting red pen refills, which can sometimes be a bit of a problem in shops with a limited range.

If you want wacky and cheap, try the S Move Stabilio. It's made of rubber, shaped like an hourglassand costs pound;4.65. Slightly more upmarket is the Lamy Chrome Al-Star at pound;11.95. It has a flexible clip made from brass spring wire. This is extremely nifty for those of you who insist on displaying your pens in your top pockets. In fact, many Lamy pens are sylish without being absurdly expensive.

For aesthetics and utility, the Morph Mars Red ball pen from Cross is a good bet. Yes, it does cost pound;38.50, but you can fiddle with it to adjust the rubber grip and it looks more like a chunky paintbrush than a pen.

Paperchase stocks Lamy pens but also has more kooky stuff. They have some "fat" pens from pound;2.50 that look great, but I'm not sure how practical they would be with a heavy load of marking to get through.

If you can't cope without labels, Paperchase also stocks Diesel pens. The Pen Shop outlets are listed on the website at www.penshop.co.uk Paperchase outlets can be found at www.paperchase.co.uk

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