Envelope 9. Latest issue, marked August 26, 2006. The picture of Guillaume on the envelope is turned inside the sheet.
The addressee is Letterhead Studio, that is, the author himself. At that time, the studio lived in the Alpha Design printing house, which, in turn, was located in the building of the University of Printing, the former Polygraphic Institute. So the letter for me was, in a way, a message to the Alma Mater, like a symbolic return of the prodigal son.
In addition, I will insert a completely fantastic story about how the last thirteen (sic!) envelopes of the latest issue of Alcools were printed. Print demons are always around somewhere.
When I started typesetting the ninth and final issue of Alcools, I set the release date for August 1st. It was July 12, and it seemed to me that two weeks for layout, like pictures, and so on, would be enough. But that was not the case: a lot of urgent work ran up, and the issue itself, eight-page, with large pictures, took time.
I realized that if I did not have time to send Alcools before leaving for the sea on August 12, then I would have to do it already upon my return from the second week-long trip, that is, after Apollinaire's 26th birthday. I decided to be on time. Rearranged the release date to 26 - a gift to Guillaume for his 126th birthday.
By the 10th, two days before departure, everything was ready, except for a few envelopes. The printer printed briskly, I entered a few words for each addressee on a specially designated place in the newspaper and sealed the finished packages. Full harmony of manual and machine labor, everyone managed to do everything.
Suddenly. For 13 envelopes before the finish, the printer fell into the deepest General Printer Error. It was not possible to bring a fighting friend out of a coma. It was the late evening of August 10th.
I have two printers at home, an Epson 1290 and an old trusty Apple LaserReiter Select 360. Black and white, but trouble-free. I shoved an envelope into it for a straight pull, optimistically thinking: "then they will be black and white." "Tryk. Trick-trick,” Select said, “sorry, mate. And I would be glad, but the format does not pass.
"Okay," I said. "If you don't want it, whatever you want. I will print in the studio. There is another printer, Epson 3000, A2 format. It's a big, brutish animal running system 9 through some kind of transition plug. It prints messy, but fast.
I was well prepared for printing on outdated equipment from under the ancient MacOS: I converted the fonts to curves, the files themselves to Illustrator 9, threw the files onto two media so as not to forget something. And at noon on August 11, I stood at the door of my workshop in the Park of Culture, hoping to have time to print envelopes, write in texts, pack everything and send it before 17:00, when the post office closest to my house in Lefortovo stops accepting parcels due to weakness of spirit.
He stood at the door and rummaged in his pockets for a long time. I seem to have taken everything. Except for the door key. To run to Lefortovo, then to the Park - I'll lose half a day.
Calm down, don't panic. I'm calling the owner.
Fortunately, the owner of the workshop, the artist Liya Orlova, turned out to be nearby - not in Germany, as often happens to her, and not even at home on the outskirts. 45 minutes later, her son brought the key. I've been writing texts all this time, pressing the sheets against the wall.
So the computer is on, the printer is working, I'm opening a file...
And I discover that I forgot the pictures inserted there. Horror. I'm trying to take pictures with my phone. Then I remember that the Lyst studio (also subscribers of the newspaper) works in the neighboring workshop and they have a scanner. I run to the wonderful man Sergei Krupsky. He, calm and friendly, scans the two necessary pictures. Hooray. Hooray.
I process the files, put them in place, start printing.
And the printer - to eat envelopes. One, two, five, ten... I understand that there won't be enough envelopes. Gotta go buy it.
In the nearest post office there are large envelopes only with the inscription "Where to whom". In the nearest stationery - too. And time goes by.
Empty envelopes were found only in Komus on Belorusskaya. Not so closing, but I'm not up to the subtleties.
I print a test - well, but upside down. Another one - strayed to the side. The third is finally normal. Forward!
The first is order. The second - the color is not very good, but it will do. The third... The third crawls out in azure. Yellow and magenta are clogged tightly.
So. So, all the same, black and white envelopes. It's a pity, but there is no way out.
I am reprinting. I'm packing. I turn everything off, joyfully run to Sergey to leave him the master's key. I'm going to the subway. Almost nine in the evening, but the soul sings: tomorrow morning to the post office. At the entrance to the subway, a mobile phone rings. Sergei, in a polite and calm voice as always: “Tell me, Yuri, did you leave the workshop open on purpose?
I go to the post office in the morning. You know postmen get up early.
A piece of paper hangs on the door: "The department is open from 12:00." Well, okay. Taxi to the airport at two, I'll make it.
I arrive exactly at 12. There are five people at two queue windows. Nothing, let's break through.
My turn. I throw out a stack of envelopes. The girl in the window is in complete shock: “Oh, you know, we are all temporary here, we don’t know the tariffs!” The one sitting in the next window shouts: “First class? Don’t take it, let them carry it on Monday!”
I must say that even when the first printer broke, I decided that I would not be upset, but would accept it as a game. So I make scary eyes and say in a terrible voice: “I sent eight of these packs from here. Last time, interns, kindergarten graduates sat in your places. And they, despite the fact that there was only one simple pencil in the department, managed to accept my correspondence. Now you will take the tariffs in your hands and do everything as it should be!” The trembling mailer runs off to make a phone call (I suspect that to that intern) and, after twenty minutes of negotiations, takes my pack. True, he tries several more times to fall into hysterics, grabbing various pieces of paper and poking at them: “Oh, it’s written here! ...” But I ruthlessly strangle the unfortunate woman, laughing to myself so that I can hardly restrain myself.
End. Taxi is about an hour away.
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