I suspect that they hired Kafka as a time and motion man.

The day is spent mopping up the cover for Pirate Pete. Since this is one of the few projects I’ve mentioned by name (and I don’t know why I have) perhaps I’ll go into it in more detail: I received black line artwork for two versions of the cover, the UK version (which has a more prominent picture) and the US one (which features larger type and a smaller picture). This is to match the design for the previoius book in what we should now think of as a series, Once Upon a Time (available from good book shops everywhere, and one or two rotten ones too I’d imagine). I take the line and, after making sure it will print correctly (100%K overprinting a 60% Cyan shiner) fill in either flat colours or patterns to Nick’s specifications. It’s sort of semi-artistic work, although I’m really just doing what I’m told.

From this I produce three covers – the UK, the US and what’s referred to as the Neutral cover, which has not coloured type on it, but rather a blank area where the type should be. This is for co-editions. The type is on a fifth film – Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (referred to as K, for Key, I think) plus TextPlate, which is usually combined with the black plate. This is so that a different set of colour films don’t have to be made for each version of the book as would be the case were the text to be part of the normal CMYK. The Neutral has a blank space where the words should be, and a (black) title can be printed there instead.

There we are: more than you could possibly want to know about my job. And that’s the interesting bit.

I also go to pick up a package that I missed the other day from Mandela Way, my sorting office (there is, apparantly, at least one sorting office closer to me, but I have to traipse all the way down there, a road off The Old Kent Road, with Tate Gallery storerooms, industrial estate stuff and a lot of Post Office buildings. If Nelson Mandela saw the road they’ve named after him, he’d be deeply offended). There’s one bloke in the building, cheerful and pleasant enough but the whole experience is grindingly, soul-crushingly slow. I notice several things they could do to improve productivity, and if someone as uncoordinated as me can do that you’re in trouble. I suspect that they hired Kafka as a time and motion man. It’s difficult to get angry with him, because he is, as I said, very pleasant, and it’s not his fault. So I leave the office pulsating with vague undirected anger.

Then back to the covers and some corrections to another book. Not much more interesting than that. Sorry.