Letterpress List No. 11: Undo Hardship

It was sad. Shop Boy had tears streaming down his face, anyway.

There stood Mary, watching the ink wheel spin, each pass of the rollers another nail in the coffin. Her brain, the Pantone color-mixing book and common sense each had told her that adding a little dab of black ink to the wheel would, as the rollers worked it in, slowly darken the red we were using and create the perfect shade. They lied.

“No, no, no!” Mary exclaimed, running for the Pantone book and frantically thumbing through it again for clues to what had gone so wrong. Whatever color she’d mixed, it was not of this Earth. She stared at the thermometer. Temperature has an effect on ink density, but we were cool there. The rollers? They were just doing their job. It was — simply, undeniably, irreparably — the dreaded “operator error.” Or maybe just fate helping us with another hard lesson.

Finally, Mary threw up her hands and pleaded, “Undo! Undo!”

And Shop Boy cracked up.

Now, you youngsters might not remember it, but there was a time before the “Control Z” function on your computer, “Undo” to us Mac folks. It was a time when “undo” meant “clean up the mess you’ve made, de-ink the press and the rollers, re-mix the ink, throw away all of the paper you’ve wasted and maybe even get fired.”

Well, at Typecast Press, we’re bringing those days back!

“What are you laughing at, Shop Boy?” Mary threw me a rag and stormed away to wash her hands. “You’ve got a press to clean.”


Letterpress List No. 11
Shop Boy kept the blog a bit shorter this time to save you readers from eye strain — man, I do go on and on sometimes — and to leave more room for music. So, here we go: an hour-plus of music to mop up to. Most songs should be available at iTunes and Napster. One of these days I’ll link directly to all the songs instead of just an easy video or two from YouTube. Not today. Gotta get some purple kind of mess off these rollers here.

Little Drop of Poison — Tom Waits (Black ink kills. Shop Boy should note here that Pantone color books are easier for offset printers to use than letterpress printers, since that method adds water to the mix. Mary’s lived, Mary’s learned.)
Working for a Living
Huey Lewis and the News (Hand-to-mouth to football stadium anthem.)
Gonna Make You SweatC&C Music Factory (OK, so the video’s a fraud. That hot lady ain’t the one singing. Things that make you go, hmmm.)
Love Removal Machinethe Cult (No love from the C&P today.)
Blood and Rosesthe Smithereens (Sort of the ink shade Mary was trying for.)
BusinessEminem (Hell yeah.)
Maggie’s Farm — Rage Against the Machine (Take this job and shove it.)
Welcome to the Working Week — Elvis Costello (I know it don’t thrill you, I hope it don’t kill you.)
Money for Nothing — Dire Straits (Look at them yo-yos.)
Instant Mash — Joe Jackson (Grab can, lift arm, stack can, turn around.)
Mixed BusinessBeck (Making all the B-Boys scream.)
Bang the Drum All DayTodd Rundgren (Hey, why not?)
Working in a Coal MineDevo (Too tired for having fun.)
Thing ThingEl Pus (Whatever you do, do your thing thing.)
Lazy Boy DashJimmie’s Chicken Shack (Son, you better get up while you can.)
Alpha Beta Parking Lot Cake (Left standing when it doesn’t work out.)
North Sea Oil Jethro Tull (Riggers rig and diggers dig their shallow graves. Of course, Mary would prefer that Ian Anderson dig his grave with that stinking flute.)
Allentown Billy Joel (The too-familiar story of a town’s demise.)
My Hometown Bruce Springsteen (Ditto. We’re getting a bit dark here.)
Too Much Time on My Hands Styx (Unemployed, but at a peppy beat.)
Vacation the Go-Go’s (Ah, now that’s better.)

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