Hugh Paxton’s Blog has worked with hundreds of editors, designers, writers, lay-out experts, and people drenched in the business of printing, publishing and ink. Some have been great, some remain great, but a significant proportion have displayed stupidity, indifference and unorthodox mental activity that has been difficult to comprehend.
To take one example – let’s wind the magic clock and rush back through time to an office in Tokyo and a man named Ueki.
We had handed this man the best of our photographs covering 80 countries. More, actually.
Ueki chose to take the opportunity to give us paternal guidance on the importance of keeping our photos safe.
While he did so, he fiddled with a sharp pencil and then to make his point he jammed his pencil through a photo of a killer whale off Vancouver Island.
He hadn’t done this on purpose. He just did it by accident. While asserting his importance and trying to make us feel intimidated and less superior to himself.
My wife and I looked at our killer whale and we thought different things. Most of them, I’m sure, involved killing Ueki. With his pencil.
Up his arse? Through his eyeball? Jammed into ears (right and left), thrust into that soft bit of skull known as the temple… Ueki sat facing two people who wanted to kill him as painfully as possible.
He suggested that maybe he could fix it.
He then stared at the killer whale image – impeccably punctured – and looked like George Bush at his best. A perplexed moron.
He then lost all of our photos.
All of them!
There were thousands.
I haven’t followed Ueki’s career.
I hope he has scrotum cancer and a witch of a wife who makes his life a perpetual misery.
But, overall, He, Ueki, has faded into semi-oblivion. He lives on as an occasional character in my Blog, an example of indifferent stupidity, and a good reason not to give photographs that are not sent electronically.
If the recipient wants to destroy your images, he’ll be destroying his own computer.
BLOG ED NOTE: Maps? Any plan to actually mention maps?
Hugh: Yes. I love maps. And so does author Simon Garfield!
BLOG ED QUERY: The name rings a bell. Was he the chap who wrote a book about the colour mauve? And that book called Just My Type
Hugh: Yes that was a really good bit of work. Anything involving type writers, fonts, words and whatnot. A good read for any writer. I haven’t met Mauve. I’m not sure I’ll try. But it sounds fun in its way.
BLOG ED NOTE: Mauve has always seemed a strange word and I’m not sure how to pronounce it. How do you pronounce it?
Hugh: He’s written a book about it. Buy it, read, learn and become wise.
BLOG ED ADVISORY: Get on with it! Maps!
Hugh: OK, and fair is fair. Simon Garfield is a gifted writer and has an inquisitive mind.
His new book doesn’t deal with mauve, fonts – it has a crack at maps and all the wonders associated with maps, discovery, the meticulous, the inaccurate, the decorative, the practical, the helpful, – maps!
And, sadly, a long history of people making maps extremely hard to read for other people.
Here’s a review. It might serve as a guide.
“On The Map is full of little conversation pieces. But this book is diminished by the way it has been produced, with an alluringly tinted antique map of Africa on its cover and nothing but smudgy grey illustrations inside.”
Review by Janet Maslin
Was Ueki involved in this fiasco?
Unlikely. Totally unlikely. But if he could have been involved, he would have been involved. The title of choice? I reckon Ueki would have gone for “Off the Map” then set fire to everything on his desk while explaining about the dangers of setting fire to desks.
Hugh Paxton’s Blog wants to buy Simon Garfield’s book with maps in it!
And when that happens, I’ll be content!