Welp. Birthday landed on the busiest day of the busiest day at work. Tried to find a few moments through the day worth celebrating.
Arriving at work. It was a bit if a no go.
Been thinking about leaving the place.
I do love the dirty enjoyable mess that is newsprint. It’s a bit of a “high” when you see the press start rolling. All the struggles of the past week are at an end. It is finally a finished product.
Snow does things to you. It’s so fucking cold. And now there’s white shit everywhere. You’ve got to just clear that out. It’s a god damn shovel. And a cheap one at that; but it serves a good analogy. It helps you clear a path.
This is good. It’s signs of progress. For every paper there is a point with which it’s put to bed. This is it. Holding a plate is the finished deal. It’s here where we put our work. A piece of me is in that. And all of us who have ever worked here, or experienced that sense of accomplishment, know that this is a good feeling.
Nobody said it was a clean job. The act of actually getting a press up and running isn’t easy. It’s a dubious art of rendering metals and mastering dyes. So few remain who actually understand this damn thing.
It’s a series of air holes and oils. Of webs of paper. Of vast drums of ink. We speak in terms of tonnes. Everything that goes into making that rag is heavy and impressive. The printed paper is immense.
photo of full press needed*
My method is to stand back and let the technicians work. For establishing and configuring a controlled print on a ageing press. These guys are ace.
For the other things we begin to have problems. There is no control over quality. They can do it. But they won’t.
Well it’s running. Was a bitch this run too. Press decided to eat specialized components and spit ink everywhere. But whatever. All in a days work. She’s old and ugly but she still spins.
And there is a desire there to honestly do better. They know within that tired old goat is the promise of something better. They can, If pushed, show it’s there.
It’s not easy. And they get no support. We, all those before and after, shit on them. We ask for more colour. Better accuracy. Less waste. Faster. But we don’t equip them to succeed. It’s not enough to state the goal. We have to help them nail it.
They run on dead or dieing equipment in a world that has grown indifferent. There’s immediacy in todays thinking that the press can never provide. There’s nothing permanent in the news today. It’s digital and its cool. But where is the meaning. Where is that careful thought. The respect for the cost of every syllable. To be judicious with thought.
I think a part of that is found in the smart phones and their terrible keyboards. Thumb typing with thumbs will never be as quick as a full size. But in a way thats a good thing. It forces you to curate your words. And eliminate run on sentences. It tightens the writing. Clarifies though. It’s nuggets of information because it’s a pain to drag on. It makes you a better writer. If you tend to blab.
But in another way it’s bad. The advent of smartphones has meant we tend to prefer the quick snippets rather than the complete whole. We are wayward within. But that’s fine. And correct. Ever absorbed by this magical device. Discovering the next great thing. But never really examining what we know.