Met the lovely Simon Barraclough for a coffee and a chat yesterday morning. I've been so busy lately that I haven't made it out to all the events I've wanted to, one of which was the launch of Simon's new pamphlet, Bonjour Tetris.
Aside from the fact that this may be the best ever name for a published volume of poetry, the physical object is itself a thing of marvellous beauty. Though I'm a staunch fan of Barraclough, you'll have to buy the pamphlet (or his excellent first collection, Los Alamos Mon Amour) and judge his poems for yourself.
Given that I work in academia as well as in print media, I get rather cross when I read/hear the phrase, 'print is dead'. Take all the hype over the iPad. I got to play about with one at work a few days ago and it's pretty and nice, but ultimately useless. This is classic advertising: create a problem where previously none existed in order to solve said problem with a brilliantly marketed and totally superfluous gadget. Why do people need printed books/magazines, so the naysayers cry, when they can carry around hundreds of them on an iPad.
The physicality of books, magazines and newspapers is one of the best things about them. Reading a newspaper on the internet is rubbish (cried the petulant little child). The thought of toting an iPad with me to Saturday morning brunch to read the weekend FT makes me feel like a robot, not a chilled-out, eggs-florentine eating human being. Besides, when people like Tom Chivers at Penned in the Margins are taking care to produce such marvellous pamphlets and then packaging them so that you feel like you're opening a birthday present instead of a slim volume of poetry, why would you prefer screen to stamped, limited edition, sand-coloured boxes. Exactly. Glad we're on the same page.