TALL STORIES FROM A SMALL SHOP
It was a customer's wife's idea really. They were travelling show people (fairground) and we were having a cup of tea after doing some work for them and discussing trades and crafts that were becoming dying arts, when she suggests I should note all these ideas down and write a book about sign writing etc. After that I started making notes and building stories and tales. So far I've got about 22 chapters, not just about sign writing but characters I've met, deals I've had over work, the shop and the van. I've had several people try to type up my illegible scrawl and here is a few samples from it.
It will be available soon from the website and all good bookstores.
So this small fat hairy Greek bloke comes in the shop. He looks like Telly Savalas' brother out of Kojak (his brother has an unruly mop of hair). He wants me to do him a sign on a clear piece of plastic to a specific size. I said to him "tell me where it is and I'll come out and write it on the window for you" With this he pulls out a card shows me the design he wants "slight problem" he says "oh?" "Yeah, its in Greece!" Then I found out why he wanted it an exact size, to fit in his suitcase! So I did it as required and he came and collected it a few weeks later. I didn't recognise him when he came in, he'd had a really close hair cut! He was really pleased with the sign. Later that year a friend of mine drops in the shop. He's recently been on holiday in Greece "Do you know I could have sworn I saw one of your signs with stars on in a wine bar in Skaithos" I showed him the artwork for the job, "Was it that one?" I said, "Oh yeah that's it" he said.
OK T.C (or not)
Sometimes you get to work in the morning and there would be a piece of white perspex through the letter box and it's 6 in wide X 6 ft long with instructions what to put on it taped to it. They were illuminated tipper truck headboards. I never took them off the truck or put them back on because they are a complete bastard to replace. I was getting a bit fed up with these (and they didn't pay much). When one day one pops through the letterbox and has to have 'T.C Reader' on it. Ha! I thought we'll have a laugh here I'm quite a big fan of top cat. I had him and officer Dibble on the side of my van for years, a friend of mine loved it because he said "it took the piss out of coppers" I didn't think so it was just a cartoon off a t shirt I had. Anyway getting back to the headboard (guess what's coming!). In the corner I painted top cat reading the paper because they always called him T.C. We wrapped up the perspex for someone to collect it and pay us. Weeks later I was informed that Mr. Reader wasn't too happy with it but his staff loved it and it stayed on the wagon. I actually saw it a few times but I don't have a photo of it. T.C Reader is still going strong whenever I see their trucks I always think of top cat!