Wednesday, 27 February 2013

News Quote Number One

Wood type poster, If you leave everything to the market you get horsemeat, Billy Bragg

Billy Bragg was on BBC Radio 4's Saturday Live last weekend being his usual ebullient self. During a discussion about the UK's strange bias towards people with a privileged background in all walks of life from the front benches of parliament to smug public school boys "clogging up the charts", it was suggested that maybe it was ok to let the market decide what should be in the charts... To which Billy Bragg immediately responded "If you leave everything to the market you get horsemeat in your burgers". Brilliant.

Having recently acquired two newsy looking sets of 20 line type - one very condensed and one slightly less condensed - it occurred to me that Billy's response was an excellent excuse to print a letterpress poster. I set the wood type straight onto the bed of the press that very afternoon, mixing letters from both to keep it within the bounds of the paper and because I didn't have quite enough letters to print it using one set. The wood type isn't in the best shape so needed a fair bit of make-ready, but the point was to print the quote the same day. 

Wood type

I printed it on a medium rough cartridge paper (170 gsm) and the final effort looks a bit like one of the pavement board posters you see outside newsagents. The quote weirdly seems to gain significance by being made into a poster...

There's a very established trend now for letterpress printers to print quotes of the Keep Calm and Carry On variety, and even the most banal piece of fridge magnet wisdom can take on the veneer of credibility when turned into a letterpress poster. Fortunately, there's also some great work from printers like gridula or The Counter Press which provides hope (and a laugh) and work from Meat Collective makes my head spin it's just so good. To get me started however, there's definitely scope for a series of posters of 'News Quotes' or 'News Comments' -- the kind of comment that just sums up a particular story, or has you screaming at the radio, or makes you laugh. A News Quote poster series could provide an interesting take on the news over a period of time... or it might just reveal my own political bias in 3 inch type. I'm willing to take that risk and am now listening out for suitable quotes for new posters -- let me know if you hear any.

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