Two years in production, The Book of Apertures is the fourth publication by Lazy Gramophone Press; an arts collective whose emphasis lies embedded in collaboration – as a process to produce original, personal, and pragmatic works – by any aspiring artist or writer who feels like getting involved.
At the launch of The Book of Apertures, there was an honest and reverent sense of a team effort, with a mutual respect for each contributor’s offering; be it a short story, an illustration, or a poem. As Phil Levine, a founding member of Lazy Gramophone explained of the project, “it feels like everyone has had their own part in it, like an original hand-made arts and crafts feel.” And it is this sort of grassroots method that has combined and juxtaposed creativity to make for a wonderful environment of ideas and imaginings.
The premise of the group’s new book was that each contributor was given the theme of the unexplainable; focusing on elements of life that just don’t make sense… and to run with it. What was produced were some fantastically remarkable works. Some to make you laugh – The Kidnapping of Little Wallet, by Guy J Jackson had me giggling away in inappropriate circumstances; and some will make you cry, or muse, or just smile (the opening poem, Moment’s Notice by Helena Santos is just lovely). It is this variety that makes the book – the personality of each contributor is exhumed, as Levine reflected proudly (and rightly so). “There is such a wide variety of people that everyone’s got their own style so you can’t directly compare any of the stories, they are all very individual.”
Sam Rawlings, who edited the collection, was equally beaming with the end result. Of particular significance seemed to be the fluidity with which the whole process evolved. Speaking at the launch, Rawlings elucidated that “the idea went out and we didn’t know how many people would respond, it could have been one or two or it could have been more – it turned out that we had about 22 or 23 people, so it was great. It wasn’t everyone at the start – people heard about what was going on and kind of joined in half way, and it started growing and morphing.”
Illustrated throughout, The Book of Apertures combines artists renditions; another dais by which talent seeps from the pages. The book is aesthetically pleasing to the extreme, a myriad of perfectionists jigsawed together amidst a slightly obscure semiotic whole. Dan Prescott, who designed and typeset the book, has produced an impeccable labour of love.
The Lazy Gramophone group as a collective have demonstrated a remarkable and inspiring ethos throughout this project, and their willingness to provide a means of expression is second to none – as Levine said: “there should be a platform for where it would be easier to put work out there, so our work can get out to a wider audience… The emphasis is really on collaborations, anyone who wants to get involved, be it the creative side, the technical side, or even the business side, anything, a mixture of people doing their own thing, and we want as many people involved as possible.”
Several of the writers in The Book of Apertures will be holding readings in and around London prior to the official on sale date, April 6th. Filled with intricacies, I would happily recommend the book to anyone. On asking about their next project, it appears there are more collaborative projects to come – however, as Rawlings joked, “this took two years so don’t hold your breath!”
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