The book features large roman numeral chapter numberings, and the use of archaic-looking discretionary ligatures on the typeface (stopping short of using the 18th century long s - ſuch a ſtrange flouriſh might've been a ſtep too far). These unhip, non-modern quirks are deliberately deployed to subvert the book's subject matter, which superficially revolves around 'mod' culture in 1960s Leicester. Anyone buying it for 'mod' reasons might be perplexed... The book is a surreal dreamscape shifting between gritty Leicester vignettes: interviews and reminiscences interspersed with arresting, and sometimes baffling, archival matter.
|ResonanceFM's Cafe Oto stall|
|Diagrams from 'Omphalosophy' (c.1953)|
thwarted histories': their stories are virtually unknown. Familiar Leicester names like Colin Wilson or Joe Orton are mere footnotes here.
|'Jelly' in 'Perfect Binding'|
We are all inextricably tied to our formative cultural memories, and the 1960s contains William's. I grew up in the 1990s, an era that holds a certain fascination for me - the ideals of modems, cyberspace and email. Sometimes I feel that a form of investigative time travel is possible by a mixture of meditation and scrutiny upon archival footage of 1990s TV advert breaks, continuity announcements, or within CD-ROM magazine coverdisk directories, or in gunk plucked out from inside a rollerball-based computer mouse... it is almost as if by tilting the artefacts slightly - metaphysically speaking - light can be shone down the memory tunnels to illuminate the past from a different, fresher angle, thereby exposing history's complex webbing. This, I think, is what William's 'Perfect Binding' is getting at. It's a fresh primary source nugget, preserving all the dimensions of raw absurdity, natural poetry and factual overlap that characterise real life's ongoing historical continua.
|William English researching|
|Rear and front covers for William English's 'Perfect Binding'|
* Some of the interviews contained in 'Perfect Binding' were originally partly aired on William English's long-running radio series Wavelength on Resonance 104.4FM.