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The Italian Donkey Started It and I intend to Finish It

July 11, 2015

One evening in April 2008 I remember walking into my late fathers flat – the fusty smell betraying neglect and loneliness – I could conjure his profile, by the sea-view peeping window, in the twilight glow of a ghost cigar. A contemplative sigh that no one would hear, no one to reassuringly nod or wink at, just a sigh like the unseen tree falling in a forest.

I wasn’t looking forward to sifting and clearing the memories. Placing myself in the decay – questioning my absence while this decline took hold and I was putting diesel in my motor in another town.

Mapping the clearance out like a military operation, black bagged, carpet rolled, boxed and disappeared. The act of cleaning is primarily an act of erasure. Knowing these possessions are what it comes down to and resenting an unwelcome phrase – uttered by a bland acquaintance from Dorset – “he who has the most toys in the box wins”.

I picked up the ornamental donkey fruit bowl and it told me the story of being brought back from Bologna, Italy circa 1955. Dad had fought Luigi Coluzzi at the Palazzo Della Sport stadium in front of a crowd of sixty thousand people. A journey that started in a cafe off Piccadilly, travel tickets and expenses, the era of the hungry fighter.

I took the donkey out to the kitchen, there was no hot water. I washed it using Fairy Liquid – the plastic bottle green crusted on the squirter. I dried it with kitchen paper, in the quiet of this deserted nest, and found in a draw an old red striped glass towel to wrap it in.

I left the flat carrying our treasure, carefully placing it in the footwell of my car – I had to start somewhere – a bit like writing a book.


June 8th 2015

Hello Louise,

I hope you are well

Thank you for your e-mail and I’m pleased that you are in approval of the printing quality

I’ll ask our Studio to check the pages concerned @ 21 / 35 / 46 & 72 and respond accordingly 

We would only check for page bleed that concerns the finished page trim size (i.e: outside the printed area) that really affects our imposition guide and lay down for binding – but but I’m confident that as you have received untrimmed book blocks, then the areas of concern that you have raised are outside of the trim marks ?

Unfortunately, we can’t set the bleed perimeters inside the printed page to the individual pictures – that would be a design issue and should have been clearly visible on the hard copy proofs !

I’ll come back to you as soon as we can check the artwork files against the printed sheets accordingly


Kind regards and thank you




Alun Phillips

Business Development Manager

Zenith Media

9th June 2015

Dear Alun,

I received the folded copies of Smoke this morning. The pictures look great and the quality of the printing is very good. However, I am concerned that on pages 21 and 72 there is a white strip at the inner edge of the picture. Also on page 46 there is an orange strip on the picture from the overlapping of the image on page 35.

Hopefully this can be rectified as I did point out to you that the bleeds and positioning needed to be checked.

All the best,


Hi Louise,

Can you please send the delivery addresses for the bulk and file copies to Anthony Miles at in order for us to arrange the necessary deliveries

Kind regards and thanks

Alun Phillips

Business Development Manager

Zenith Media

June 9th 2015

Subject: Re: Job No: 69108 – Smoke and Other Tales (Zero Lubin)

Dear Alun,

I will put it in the post tomorrow but I really don’t want to hold the job up. If you say the irregularities are not on the printed sets on those pages then it should all be ok shouldn’t it?




10th June 2015

Hello Louise,

We are not holding back on production, but we do need to ascertain your concerns before we case-in the text book blocks into the cases

Kind regards and thanks


Alun Phillips

Business Development Manager

Zenith Media


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