Gin Lane Gazette

By Adrian Teal

Heat magazine – 18th century style

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Definitely My Type

I had a meeting with the Unbound chaps and my pal Lisa Hunter, last week. Lisa is taking on the task of typesetting the Gin Lane Gazette, which will be quite a complicated business, although I've no doubt she will discharge this duty with her customary brilliance and assiduousness.

Lisa is keen for me to create my own typeface, and I think this is a splendid idea. I'm hoping to create a cartoony, Gillrayesque script, which Lisa can use for caricature captions, speech-bubbles and the like. We also had a chat about the use of the archaic long 's', which is governed by very strict rules. I'm assured its inclusion won't present too much of a logistical nightmare, and I do feel it's essential to lend authenticity to the overall look of the Gazette. Someone once described fonts as 'the clothes that words wear', and I want mine to be in full frockcoat, breeches, and laced hat, cocked at a rakishly jaunty angle.

John Baskerville (1706-1775) was perhaps the 18th century's most famous and pioneering typographer. He was an atheist, but this didn't stop him printing a magnificent folio Bible in 1763. Benjamin Franklin was a big fan of his typefaces, and they were adopted by the federal government for most official publications in the United States. Baskerville was buried upright, at his own request, in unconsecrated ground, "in a Conical Building...Heretfore used as a mill", in the garden of his house, Easy Hill. To date, Lisa Hunter has made no such stipulation.

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John Mitchinson
 John Mitchinson says:

Death was just the begining of Baskerville's advaentures. Nearly fifty years later, the house and garden at Easy Hill were demolished to build a canal and his coffin was disinterred. Baskerville’s body was found to be in a miraculous state of preservation, so a local businessman set up the coffin in his warehouse and charged locals 6d to view the body. This went on for the next eight years. It was then transferred to the yard of a local plumber, by which time it was really beginning to smell and several people fell ill after viewing the corpse. The plumber needed to get rid of it and managed to persuade a local bookseller to smuggle it into his famiy vault in a city centre church.

This he did under the cover of night using a wheelbarrow. But this church in turn was demolished in 1898, and Baskerville’s body was once again moved, this time to its final resting place at Warstone Lane catacombs, some 113 years after he died.

posted 20th February 2012

Peter Falconer
 Peter Falconer says:

I would love to have heard the plumber trying to explain this to the bookseller.

"Thing is, see, I've got this corpse..."

posted 2nd March 2012

Adrian Teal
 Adrian Teal says:

If he had any sense, the bookseller would have charged the plumber an exorbitant call-out fee.

posted 2nd March 2012

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