Page 6 - May 2016
P. 6

| Stephen Gill (10152) |             | |John Easson (2959)

Ithink it was 1964: I was a          samples. His work included quite
   student on holiday with two       large publications for Glasgow
   friends, on the isle of Arran,    University, and for this he had
and I went into an old church in     the text trade-set Monotype in
Brodick that had been turned into    Glasgow, and shipped over to the
an art gallery. When I went up into  island on the daily ferry.
the balcony area, I looked over the
edge – and saw a printer working        Steve and the family were
away in the main part of the         political activists, CND supporters
church. Having just read Printing    (the Faslane base was just up
for Pleasure and bought an           the river, in its early days, with
Adana flatbed, I rushed down and      frequent protests), and Steve even
introduced myself to Steve, and      told me he had believed he had
we chatted. The consequences         been subtly targeted by the CIA
were several, for he introduced      to sabotage some of his support
me to BPS by giving me copies        for the protests. With recent
of Small Printer, and I went back    revelations about undercover
the next year for a week or more     police operations, I can believe
as ‘apprentice’ to help and learn.   that he might well have been right.
In addition I bought a Jardine
treadle press and a Rotaprint litho     He was the first enthusiast
machine from him, for he had         printer and the first BPS member
moved on to a small automatic        I met, and he couldn’t have been
cylinder press. He told me it had    a better model of the helpfulness,
caused problems, as it was three-    encouragement, and friendliness
phase, and the island only had       I have found through the decades
single-phase at the time. (This      in printing circles. He was a great
seems unlikely: I suspect it just    help to me, and it was I think
wasn’t widespread.)                  only the accident of geography
                                     that meant he wasn’t known
   He, and his family, gave me       more widely by BPS members.
a very warm welcome and              I lost touch with him when I
provided me with accommodation,      moved south, and was more than
wonderful pizzas and great           delighted when I found him again
conversation. His brother made       (in the ‘Overseas Members’ branch
jewellery, also in the church, and   – a joke that perfectly suited him)
his mother ran the gallery. Steve    in time for him to come to the
was an artist by training, and       Montrose Convention, and for us
although he was a very competent     to meet up for the first time after
local printer, it showed in his      fifty years.
style. His type of choice was
Centaur, his illustrations often        He was one of those people
linocuts, and seeing his ephemera    whose warmth and humanity
for local businesses using these     shone through, and who brighten
was wonderful: I’m only sorry I      up lives around them. Even last
didn’t acquire a few to keep as      year, despite his age, he was as
                                     dynamic and delightful as ever.
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