books on the radio

DIY Incendiary Codex: The Robert Chaplin Interview

Chaplin Vault 02In the vault with Rob Chaplin: to listen to our conversation click this link.

I’ve known Rob Chaplin for a few years.  Ever since he walked into Sophia Books – back when I was buyer there for art books & graphic weirdness – and asked me to take a few copies of Ten Counting Cat into stock for general sale.

10 CountingNo problem. After all, the writing was funny, the drawings were great and the design was bang-on.

It had everything that I wanted from a book: independent spirit, unique and well realized vision and a sense of humor.

So we took the books, put them in the shelves and displayed them in the window.  It didn’t take long for them to sell.

Part of the magic of Robert’s books is that he does all the work himself.  He writes, illustrates and designs each of his books.  Then he sends the files to Friesens in Winnipeg and they send him a couple thousand books a few weeks later that he then sells to people, bookstores, libraries, whomever.  It’s an act of fine art, true dedication to his vision and more than a little wariness toward the entanglements of the standard book publishing process.

Brussel SproutsRobert and I have a tendency to bump into each other a couple of times a year at various speakeasy establishments and nocturnal gathering places where we’ll sketch out plans for global conquest on napkins on the bartop.

When I was helping to plan Bookcamp Vancouver I knew that I had to include Robert in the program somehow.

He showed up in his trademark sweater with a backpack full of books.

Every time I turned a corner Robert was singing the rhymes of the Brussel Sprout or leading small groups of confused conference goers in the Oath Regarding the Existence of Unicorns.

It was hilarious.

I really like Rob’s energy, his enthusiasm and his desire to demonstrate his independent approach.  He’s out there slinging funny rhymes, perpetrating great design and generating new ideas every day.

I just can’t argue with that kind of dedication.

I’m really happy to be able to share this interview because we really get a chance to hear the fundamental breakdown of how Rob sees the creative/publishing process.  It should be like manna from heaven for anyone out there looking for inspiration or help in their own DIY book projects.

For more information on Robert Chaplin, Library Editions and sterling silver brussel sprouts check out his website.

Angels in the Angles: Opening Night at the Gallery Atsui

Angels in the Angles Cover

I went down to the Gallery Atsui last night to check out the opening for the Angels in the Angles exhibition of concrete poetry.  It’s been guest curated by my friend Steve Calvert and he’s done a great job conceptualizing and showcasing the work of Donato Mancini, Christian Bok and Marina Roy.

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When I arrived at the Gallery I was impressed to see so many people crowded into the two rooms and spilling out the back door into the parking lot.  A warm and convivial crowd, as they say.  I met some cool people and made new friends and it was a really refreshing atmosphere.  I think that the show will be a huge success.

Angels in the AnglesX08The exhibition runs until the beginning of November so there’s lots of time to check it out.

Steve will be haunting the gallery space on Saturday and Sunday afternoons from 1-5 if you want to drop by for some added insight into the show and the artists’ other works.

For more information about the ridiculously strong conceptualization for this show please check out Steve’s intense “introduction” to the show on the Mechanical Brides website.  Also includes artist bios and info on purchasing prints.

Books on the Radio will be rocking an interview with Steve in the next week or so for broadcast on CJSF 90.1 FM.

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O’Reilly Radar Picks Up the Future of Publishing Interview

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Mark Sigal at O’ included a link to the Open Book: Toronto interview that I recently did with Book Oven‘s Hugh McGuire in his most recent O’Reilly Radar posting.

To be mentioned positively on the O’Reilly Radar is a huge enough honor but to be included in a piece about the revolutionary prospects of the forthcoming Apple tablet… well, that’s just beyond words.

Mr Sigal’s piece begins with this quote:

“It is August, 1927, and Al Jolson is industriously, unwittingly, engaged in the destruction of one great art form and the creation of another…In four short years, the ‘talkie’ will completely subsume the silent movie.” – from The Speed of Sound by Scott Eyman

Here’s what he had to say about our interview:

In “The Future of Publishing,” Sean Cranbury and Hugh McGuire do a beautiful job of getting to the it of what makes a book, a book.

They say that the primary thing a book has to do is “fulfill its promise as a transmitter/inspirer of ideas, art, thoughts, story, entertainment.”

Thanks again to Amy and Clelia at Open Book: Toronto for being so great.  And to Hugh McGuire for being an amazing accomplice in this.

The Day Does Not, by Ernesto Priego

I only know about this great poem because I follow him, Ernesto Priego, on twitter.  Further evidence that twitter is not a vacuous hole of suburban non-sense (all the time).

Check out Ernesto’s blog, Never Neutral, for more poetic experiments involving technology, text and comix.

The visual poet is the person who sees text where others see words, the visual poet is the one for whom words are not invisible portals toward meaning but concrete structures that harbor meaning, the visual poet is the person who loves the letter and the structures of sequences of letters over the word.

Geof Huth

Cranbury v. McGuire: The Future of Publishing Interview


Sometime around the middle of August I got an email from Amy Logan-Holmes at Open Book: Toronto asking whether I would be interested in participating in something called the 48 Hour Interview that would run in their Fall Issue.

She described it as an email exchange or co-interview between two people working within the books/publishing industry.  The participants are free to discuss whatever they like provided that the ‘interview’ occurs within 48 consecutive hours and, I suppose, is at least tangentially related to the business at hand.

So I’m thinking, “Ok, that sounds doable.  I wonder who she’s going to pair me up with?”

And, of course, it was Hugh McGuire, co-creator of Book Oven and  Organizer of BookCamp Toronto and well-coiffed confidante of the Digital Literati.

No pressure, right?


It was a great, if somewhat long, interview that really dug into some key issues facing the evolving – convulsing? – book publishing industry today.

The whole thing was edited and punched into shape by the very talented Clelia Scala.  Many thanks to Hugh and everyone at Open Book: Toronto.

For an example of something that I wrote for the interview that may or may not be interesting, please click the little red (more…) button below.

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Punch the Boss Launch = Final Show at the Legendary Cobalt!

Come celebrate the launch of Chris Walter’s new book, Punch the Boss, on the final night for the legendary Cobalt, Vancouver’s finest current punk venue.

September 26th featuring the Subhumans,  Alcoholic White Trash and Speckled Jim.  The Books on the Radio crew will be there!

If you don’t know where the Cobalt is… ask around.


ANGELS IN THE ANGLES: Atsui Gallery Concrete Poetry Exhibition

Books on the Radio is happy to support this amazing exhibition of concrete poetry curated by Steve Calvert.

Featuring the incredible & beautiful work of Donato Mancini, Christian Bok and Marina Roy you can check out the exhibition at the Atsui Gallery from October 9 – November 3.

Check out the Bachelor Machines/Mechanical Brides site for more details.


As artists adapt to the growing insecurity of our national institutions, creative communities are presured to galvanize and grow stronger, more independent, industrious, and interdependent, developing means of production and trading networks in cultural and cosmopolitan pockets far and wide. In the absence of federal support, producing autonomously, even anonomously, we work for a future milieu which does not yet exist. Rushing in to fill the vacuum, exchanging ideas with a non-linear, open source, transhistorical temperment, we braid our conceptualizations beyond translation, openly hostile to that trust which has forsaken us… this utopia has been dreamed before.