Friday, January 08, 2010
Wednesday, January 06, 2010
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Left: Illustration by Russell Clark; Right: Klang.
Among the various things I picked up at the DCM Book Fair was Dennis Glover's Bedside Book. I have now got to it.
Pretty much my whole impression of Glover was that he wrote 'The Magpies', which was a good thing and which led to Gary Henderson's Skin Tight, which is another good thing.
I was surpised – I had almost certainly been told but I obviously wasn't' paying attention – at his position as founder of the semi-legendary (New Zealand) Caxton Press, printers of lovely books.
As it happens, the Bedside Book (1963, Illustrated by Russell Clark, contains work dating back to the thirties) comes from AH & AW Reed. But it contains a number of vignettes on publishing life under the title 'Herewith My Manuscript'. The first – also republished in Reed's The Kiwi Laughs – concerns getting a budding poetess out of the office as quickly as possible.
But there's also typography, and I aim to talk about that.
The essay 'Some Notes On Typography' isn't, in modern terms, all that remarkable for its sentiment. Unfairly short version: type, in books, is to be read. But it would be interesting for the general public, especially since we are talking about Olden Times, before everyone had a dozen famous typefaces within arm's reach. Consider that in 1977 The Guardian pulled off an April Fool's hoax celebrating the island nation of San Serriffe, in a seven-page suppliment riddled with typographical terms.
There is some meta-jollies to be had from Glover's piece. The paragraph after the paragraph on setting up paragraphs (which "ideally, should end with not less than half a line", ends in less than half a line; the next-but one paragraph after that ends in half a hyphenated word.
Such events do occur elswhere in the book and one should be cautious about throwing stones. I myself have turned off curly-quote auto-correction because I deal in so much code.
Nonetheless: It took me till I got to the end to notice that each of the three page-turnings have a word hypenated across them. Two of those leave the first line of the paragraph widowed at the bottom of the page and in those two cases the interrupted words are 'typographers' and 'typographer' respectively. So I'm calling it deliberate.
Having noticed this, I laughed and laughed.
A first poem, 'The Author on His Book' (titled with added note: But not this one) contains the couplet:
They've set it up, those tasteful men,
in Baskerville twelve point on ten.
Possible he means ten on twelve? Although that might be difficult for the rhyming unless his text was typeset by elves.
This actual book is, according to its small print, set in Baskerville eleven point, leaded one point (what I might call eleven over twelve) with headings in Klang.
This small print, however, does not mention one particular page with four different type families on it.
I, somewhat naughtily but at least not a good image quality, reproduce Dennis Glover's 'Some Type Faces at a Glance', as an out-print item of interest to design types and old-school printers, who I suspect are often on the lookout for sample texts.
Click to enlarge
Something else I've been meaning to blog on, found I think at Quilters Bookshop's Ghuznee St re-opening sale. I have already written about Whim Wham but there were a couple of things Verses By Whim Wham 1943 (Progressive Publishing Society, Wellington; printed by snap! Caxton Press) made me appreciate.
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The first was his dry scepticism of various propoganda pieces coming over the wire from Europe. There a various pieces to the effect of, 'Oh, close friends of Mr Hilter report he is looking increasingly unwell, eh? I suspect you made that up.'
But the main one, having only read what amount to a best-of, is his consistency. There are 46 poems in the book which I assume makes it all or most of his weekly work. And it's all that good.
I hate having awesome heroes.
(Further to the compelteness thing: In the introduction Whim Wham's New Zealand Terry Sturm says Curnow never kept copies of his Whim Wham pieces and when he decided to republish had to advertise to see if anyone had kept them. I was trying to think of some lesson to draw from that and know I'm worrying whether I should have hard copies of my stuff. The actualy publications are probably as well archived as I could do digitally, but still.)
Tuesday, January 05, 2010
That Was The Decade That Washttp://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0903/S00143.htm
January 2000 – October 2008
The New Zealand dark ages. Following the fall of the Tory Empire, Economic Vandal hordes descend from the hills and commit economic vandalism. Little record remains of this period; suffice to say, it ended badly.
Top issue was smacking children, followed closely by blocks of cheese.
Election Day: Election delivers National Party the reigns of power. National leader John Key officially assumes title 'That Nice Mister Key'. Year One of the new calendar begins.
Act Party show surprising commitent to sustainability by recycling Roger Douglas.
17/11/08: A Victory Parade For John Key
Scoop Images: The Campaign In Pictures
National leaps into Government, passing and introducing bills under urgency - tax cuts and lightbulbs and so on. Which, as well as getting the new laws under way quickly, has the added advantage that nobody has to think about them too hard.
All this gets little attention, as the nation is busy trying not to visualise a 'honeymoon' involving John Key, Rodney Hide, Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia.
10/12/08: What Else Is In The Urgency Plan?
11/12/08: Recession-Weary Nation Cheered By Chaplinesque Key
In the absence of the hoped-for assasination attempt, John Key breaks his own arm. This cements his status in the public eye as the greatest sitcom character to lead the country since Keith Holyoake.
20/1/09: My Side In The Gaza Conflict Is Right
As part of their ongoing righteous wrath at three terms of nanny-state oppression, the National Government supports Helen Clark's bid for a top UN administration position, and begins plotting to get her as high on the New Year's honours list as possible.
At his employment summit John Key is particularly taken by the idea of a "Notional Cycleway", stretching from Utopia to Cloud-Cuckoo-Land. This will provide much-needed distractional stimulus so the nation won't notice that the Government's response to the recession is to do nothing.
10/2/09: Key Drops Dark Hints On Need For Urgency
20/2/09: Key Cancels "Wasteful" Employment Summit
Scoop Images: Nov 08 to Feb 09
Manufacturing sector welcomes boost as Government announces plans to manufacture crises in ACC, welfare, etc.
Royal commission into Auckland governance recommends local councils be amalgamated into "one giant screaming sack of dissention". This project is placed in the able hands of Rodney Hide.
John Key admits giving Richard Worth "a bollocking" over conflict of interest issues raised by Worth's trip to India. Whether bollockings had anything to do with Worth's later sacking remains unclear.
If Steven Joyce love roads so much, why doesn't he marry them?
30/3/09: Collins Crush!
Honorable Mention: A. R. D. Fairburn: Roll Out The Knightcart
The Government appoints former Finance Minister Michael Cullen to the board of major state-owned enterprise New Zealand Post. Despite spending the previous four months - and planning to spend the next 30 - blaming him for 'nine long years of missed opportunities' and asserting that anything wrong with the economy is his fault. You might question their consistency, but you can't fault their ability to shut up former finance ministers.
Education Minister Anne Tolley, in a attempt to gain 'a greater understanding of population growth in Auckland', flies over it in a helicopter. This was to be the only time she was able to effectively spin anything relating to her portfolio, and after the ride she was reportedly 'no dizzier' than she was beforehand. Sure we all laughed at the time, given the decision to impose national testing had already demonstrated a disposition to suicide missions: should it have been allowed?
18/4/09: Bananarama Outstays Welcome
Pig farmers complain about H1N1 being referred to as 'Swine Flu', demand that it be called 'Trim Pork™ Flu'.
In unrelated news, Christine Rankin appointed to Families Commission.
John Key displays his financial-trader acumen by betting against Super Fund.
5/5/09: The Caper Of The Missing Stimulus
15/5/09: THE SUPER-CITY Or: A Political Map Of Present-Day Auckland
Scoop Images: March to May '09
Richard Worth fired for no reason. Key cites 200-day trial period.
UK MPs' warning to NZ Parliament: “How wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the moat out of thine eye; and, behold, a housing allowance and a ministerial car is in thine own eye?”
Melissa Lee's poor showing in Mt Albert by-election should be seen in context with the performance of Rusty Kane, who came last, behind a man campaigning on the fact he lived in Wellington.
7/6/09: Werewolf - How To Misunderstand Satire
17/6/09: Political Nursery Rhymes
Scoop Images: June '09
Clayton Weatherston beats out John Key as the man everyone can agree on.
Inspired by this approach to image management, Phil Goff proposes giving the dole to rich people.
After careful investigation of New Zealand's drinking habits and the availablity of alcohol, Law Commission wakes up with a splitting headache wondering what recommendations it made last night.
3/7/09: Referendum Decision-Making Flowchart
7/7/09: Werewolf - The Irony Of Satire
27/7/09: The Week In Brief
Taito Phillip Field found guilty of corruption. Winston Peters confirms he plans to stand at the next election.
5/8/09: Werewolf - Sorry, No Article This Week
12/8/09: Things The Emissions Target Is Like
24/8/09: Anti-Smacking Lobby Gets "Thrashing"
John Key goes on Letterman. News of the month, that.
Dan Brown's 'The Lost Symbol' released. SPOLIERS: Renowned symbologist Robert Langdon looks behind the symbological couch, and sure enough, there it is.
Nick Smith hands media a huge pile of Official Information Act releases on ACC and on the ETS, presumably to discourage media investigation of these subjects by implying it would involve a bunch of reading. ACC pack inculdes memo headed 'How To Improve ACC Finances By Privatising The Only Profitable Bit'.
3/9/09: Werewolf - Bullet Points Will Solve All My Structure Problems
10/9/09: Act Doesn't Feel Climate Heat
Scoop Images: July to September '09
Taito Phillip Field Sentenced. ACC protests, legislative scrabbling and reviews. Nationals' behaviour suggesting that when they complained Labour's Emissions Trading scheme process was 'rushed' and 'flawed', it was because they thinks ETS bill should proceed in an even more hasty and shambolic manner. TVNZ makes an ad for Bill English.
Satirist comes to think absurdity of politics should be self-evident. Output suffers accordingly.
Ban on the use of handheld mobile phones while driving comes in to force. Plans to undermine longstanding protections in the justice system, introduction of new police powers including DNA sampling, draconian new immigration bill passed, speculation that energy efficiency standards for showers weren't such an intrusion on our liberties after all.
But all these tough law-and-order measures are apparently not enough to prevent a crime wave perpetrated by anonymous celebrities.
The Don Brash-led productivity taskforce report's only surprise is they way they recommended exactly what you'd have thought they would. Oscar Wilde rises from the grave to describe the report as “The incorrigible in pursuit of the untenable”. Not his best effort, but considering most zombies just go 'hurr' or 'braaains', one can hardly complain.
Police oaths bill sees urgency used to pass legislation which is actually urgent.
4/11/09: Werewolf - News beyond our own
11/11/09: ETS Amendment Submission
Following November's 'March for Democracy', Larry Baldock's referendum for binding referenda is released. Space does not permit us to reprint the question in full, but it's fair to say it's not as snappy as the one about being allowed to hit your kids. And - in a feat which is both impressive and ironic - it has even lower chances of getting someone to act on the outcome.
Minds of world leaders may have been more concentrated if Copenhagen had been held somewhere warm.
Whanganui issue and flag-flying raises Maori issues in the public eye. Why can't Hone Harawira be more like that nice Pita Sharples? Now there's a man who knows his place.
Nation politely feigns gratitude after unwrapping presents from Government. “Oh, a series of Christmas-rush policy announcements, some of which are quite alarming! Just what I wanted!”
World travel security thrown into paniced lockdown by a man who set his own pants on fire.
2/12/09: Werewolf - Relax, Everything's Fine!
11/12/09: Travel Ideas For MPs