Sunday, 29 June 2008

Alkyd, epoxy, polyurethane

Here are Janos and his son-in-law, who came over from Hungary a week or so back to help Wiesiek put to rights his south London flat which tenants had trashed. Janos and helper had never before been out of Hungary; they are perfectionists but they are used to dealing with Cement and with Paint, and were perplexed and ultimately frustrated by the range of materials available here – one type of filler for this and another for that and another for the other; emulsion, undercoat, eggshell, non-drip . . . I’m seeing, as Wiesiek describes the state of his carpets to me this morning, Jackson Pollock. I feel for them, J and his son-in-law. Me, I want simple books with plain covers and decent paper, and I want readers to be able to get hold of them reasonably fast. Now a range of printers are sending me samples and telling me I can have this with that but not that with this, and suggesting special deals on this but not the other; and as for selling the books, the route through wholesalers and distributors with percentage discounts at all the stop-offs sounds more complicated to me, right now, than getting from west London to the outer reaches of east London on three buses, two Tubes and some legwork between the stops. I’ll get there, but I may be a bit late.

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