Thursday, April 28, 2011

Chapter 53: In Which I Rendezvous with Old Socialist Men

It seems that every couple of years the Windsors stick their pasty faces into the news and dominate it for a while. I am always left to wonder: how do people in England really feel about them? Do they resent having to prop up these useless landowners? Do they simply accept them as a fact of life. Or do they see the whole family as living history, something to be proud of in its existence? I remember when Queen Elizabeth visited the States a few years ago, and all the rah-rah-rah about democracy could not stop thousands from lining up just to touch the hem of her garment. We fought a war so we wouldn't have to deal with the English monarchy, their tyranny and insanity. Didn't matter. There's something about it that goes beyond mere celebrity worship. A deeply human yearning for that unattainable ideal, the idea that perfection can be genetic (since it's sure as hell not something the average man can acquire). We (meaning humans) love the idea of the high class. The Windsors are defined by their meaninglessness, yet their glamor is such that the whole world stops when they get married. I don't exactly get it.

You know who hates the royal family? Old Socialist men. That's who I hung out with last weekend at the Bay Area Alternative Press. Got my fliers done! We have to cut lots of paper with their old-fashioned cutting machine, which was very cool. We got the plate done earlier in the week, then set it up in this thing.

Printing was not easy. The glossy paper I originally wanted to use kept sticking to the rollers because of all the heavy ink. We ended up having to use the cardstock, which does not roll up at all. Slightly more inconvenient to handle, and more expensive to mail than a roll, but it's what had to be done. There were a few more paper jams, and at one point we couldn't find a necessary tool to do adjustments, and some of the papers came out light because we were using SO MUCH INK. An older fellow named helped me, and said this was the most ink he ever used on a print job. Wow. What I like about this kind of printing is that you can never shut your brain off. You have to constantly fix jams, apply ink, apply fluid. And when you're done, clean all the rollers by hand.

Once the machine got rolling, it was rolling. I love the little melody the gears make as it spews out page after page. How many did we print? Oh, about 800.

That was on Saturday. On Sunday, we got the papers all lined up in this thing.

Then we cut the crap out of them.

We wrapped them up.

8 kilos of pure Colombian paper
Them we had dinner. BAAP has a dinner every night, including an awesome one for Easter Sunday. Nice pasta dishes. The only people there were old Socialist men. I love old Socialist men because all they ever do is talk history. It's their language. A conversation about the weather has to be phrased in relation to early 20th century labor struggles. Through sitting down and eating some flan, I learned about the corporate families that have been running China for the last 2000 years. These dudes talked with such familiarity about Chiang Kai-Shek you'd think he was some asshole they went to school with. I learned about the California railroad tycoons who founded Stanford University, how the university's progressive mission was jettisoned upon the death of the founder, and about recent gentrification around the school. All I did was ask if there were any good bookstores in Palo Alto. After dinner, one man washed dishes, one man rinsed, one man made coffee, one swept, one cleaned the table, one wrapped the leftovers. Marx would be proud of this efficiency. 

These fliers are gorgeous. Much thanks to BAAP, and especially Asa for designing it. Now I have to write dates and places on all the ones I am sending. Tour starts in a month. We just lost CultureWorks in Ashland because of some schedule rearrange, so I'm trying to find a new date. Just booked Redding. I'm still looking to do a stop on the 11th. All the pieces are coming together.

Book Sightings!

I am a small press writer. Seeing my book at stores excites me. Here's some.
At Pegasus trying to suck up to Charles Dickens, but these dudes keep getting in the way
Chillin' with Thomas Mann at Laurel Books

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