Letterpress List No. 50: Hard Labor

At Typecast Press, we tend to take the Labor Day holiday a bit too literally, meaning we forget about the holiday part.

When most folks are chilling poolside or on a beach somewhere, firing up the grill, soaking in the last bit of summer, you can find us working away at the printshop. Oh, we’ll perhaps poke our heads out the door or stand on the loading dock for a quick breather or to recognize it as the nicest single weather day of the year. (Never fails!)

But mostly, we’re laboring through some job or another.

Sigh. This year was no different. Shop Boy was cleaning the underside of a press.

Now, in the old days, some presses featured gas jets — little burners whose role was to clear static electricity, which messed with the paper flow. We’ve heard tales of lunchtime weenie roasts (as the flames truly didn’t do much for the printshop other than to add a bit of excitement as the occasional sheet of paper caught fire).

Well, Shop Boy was daydreaming about a cookout of his own — hot dog steaming off the grill, in a toasted bun, mustard and ketchup and maybe a little …


A big, black gob of, oh, lord knows what, dislodged by the rag, dropped onto Shop Boy’s ungloved hand as he reached beneath the Heidelberg — beautiful press, but with some nasty hide-y holes.

And just like that, thoughts turned from tequila shots to tetanus shots.

Maybe next year.


Letterpress List No. 50

How about an hour’s worth of music to remember why we celebrate Labor Day in America anyway — working people, including a lot of the caring, sharing printers (OK, the cranky ones, too) who’ve helped teach us the love of this crazy craft we call letterpress? Most of the tunes should be available in the usual places. Goofy or great video links are to YouTube.

Do You Love Me (Now That I Can Dance) the Contours (Work, work.)
I Fought the Law the Clash (“Breaking rocks in the hot sun” — but at least outdoors for the holiday.)
Work ItMissy Elliott (Getting busy.)
Monday MorningEl Pus (Time to get moving.)
Weekend WarriorsTed Nugent (That’s us.)
GreaseFrankie Valli (Nasty stuff.)
Rag DollAerosmith (Wear your worst clothes.)
Working for the WeekendLoverboy (And working through it.)
Slave 4 YouBritney Spears (Sorry.)
No ScrubsTLC (No “glove” for the haters.)
SkinCollective Soul (“Where are your gloves, Shop Boy?” Um … oh.)
NemesisCradle of Filth (Man and machine have reached an uneasy detente. Oh, and wrap your ears in latex before listening to this stuff.)
High Speed Dirt — Megadeth (Head first.)
Guard Your GrillNaughty by Nature (No holiday from hunger.)
Walk of LifeDire Straits (Without the working class, we’re not America, right?)
Wake Me Up When September Ends — Green Day (Gonna be a full month.)

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