Above you see a small notebook I made myself, and a hardback copy of The Hugo Young papers, which retailed at £30 and is falling apart.
The falling apart of Hugo Young is a bummer. It’s a big book and good money was paid for it. The publishers seem to have put it together on the cheap, or perhaps got unlucky with their glue, but either way, they didn’t get it nicely stitched and bound or it would still be in one piece.
My notebook is much nicer. Last night I attended a book making course with John-Paul Flintoff at the Idler Academy in Notting Hill, so tonight I took what I learned and, using Hade’s collection of nice paper and oddities, made an improved version. It’s a bit of a mess, I accept this, but I’m a messy person and home-made things shouldn’t be too neat, should they?
So, the important things:
a) The Idler Academy is well worth your time. Check the events, go on a course, read some of Tom’s books (“How to be free” is essential), and generally embrace this splendid institution (they sell books, too: I bought “The art of camping” by Matthew De Abaitua, but there are many unusual and interesting titles in stock). It’s the sort of place you dream about, and now it really exists;
b) Check out John-Paul Flintoff’s book Sew Your Own, which is terrific. The blurb:
What happens when a man, dazzled like most of us by hi-tech, happy to have his suits made by robots in New York, sets out to find the meaning of life? John-Paul Flintoff’s improbable and very funny book charts a journey through call centres and allotments, rat-catching and Savile Row tailors, to some kind of enlightenment. It is also a book about a man who learns how to crochet – in public.
So yes, publishers: make books nicely. People: make books yourself. It’s not that hard.