FYI France

File 3: Ejournal and archive

by Jack Kessler,

September 15, 2012 issue. This file presents an archive copy of the issue of the FYI France ejournal, ISSN 1071-5916, which was distributed via email on September 15, 2012 - and, a little later, on, and at Facebook-Jack Kessler's Notes

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Versions of the following have appeared online regularly, since 1992, as a feature of the FYI France ejournal, ISSN 1071-5916, which is distributed for free via email every month except August. Ejournal subscriptions may be obtained via email request to:

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FYI France: typography and Europe


If you will be in or near Lyon, in October, or even if you won't: a conference plus a "day of study" -- of interest to anyone fascinated with The Book, certainly, but also anyone interested in Victoriana, or machinery, or design, or history, Europe, culture, industrial evolution, telecommunications, just plain communications whether "tele-" or not, newspapers, placards, paper, cities, transitions-in-media, personal expression, tools... aand very much including The Digital, and The Internet... --

>Announcing: a day for studying our typographic patrimony, in conjunction with the congress of the Association of European Printing Museums.

>The Musée de l'Imprimerie, Lyon, welcomes, October 11-13, the congress of the Association of European Printing Museums / AEPM, which includes over sixty printing museums in Europe.

>In conjunction with these meetings, a day of study devoted to techniques of conservation, preservation, and the use of typographic patrimony, will take place on Friday, October 12.

>The presentations:

>A publication -- La lettre en Europe, Type in Europe -- will accompany this Congrès 2012...

>This day-of-study, which will take place at the Musée de l'Imprimerie [in Lyon], is open to all who are interested in typographical heritage, to the extent that places are available.

>Tarifs : 25 € pour la seule journée de conférences. 65 € avec cocktail (18 h) + dîner (20 h) avec l'ensemble des délégués des musées de l'imprimerie européens.

>Chèque à l'ordre de "l'Association des Amis du Musée de l'imprimerie", à envoyer avec ses coordonnées complètes aux,

Amis du Musée de l'imprimerie
13, rue de la Poulaillerie
69002 Lyon

Musée de l'imprimerie:
13, rue de la Poulaillerie, 69002 Lyon




And now a Note: about Europe...

One of life's more interesting pleasures is to linger, fly-on-the-wall, at one of these European cultural events, such as the one announced and described above.

There is a special energy, in this place so distinguished by the extreme variety in its many different approaches to life. To watch the mingling of representatives from County Sligo, the Mezzogiorno, Catalonia, al Andaluz, Silesia, Flanders, Wales and Bretagne and Savoie and all the rest, as they assemble to discuss, debate, argue animatedly about their shared European Patrimony.

To an Outsider, particularly one from a larger and perhaps more unitary place -- the US or China or India, Indonesia, Australia, Russia, Brazil -- or from a place far older -- Japan -- modern Europe is the oddest combination of differences and similarities.

The place is tiny, Europe, as any visitor from the Great US Midwest, or the vast Russian Steppes, or the Outback's Alice Springs, or the Sovereign State of Texas, will attest -- as a senator from Texas famously advised a US President, regarding a wartime speed limit of 55 mph, "Mis-ter President, you can't get anywhere in Texas going only 55 miles per hour!"

European autopiste & autostrada & autobahn speedsters regularly traverse their entire "continent" at speeds far in excess of that -- these days still, and speed limits set recently in some places notwithstanding -- haphazard enforcement, it's a difficult & dangerous duty, I remember the French police chasing them in police sports cars....

You can cross an entire European nation -- with its own unique languages and traditions and cultures, all above-all different from its nearest neighbors -- in the time it takes to get from Alice Springs to Nowhere, or around or through Los Angeles or Tokyo, or from Shanghai to its suburbs on a non-gridlocked-day in China.

So to such an outsider, someone from Omaha or Osaka -- or these days more likely Suchow or Mumbai, on one of those whirlwind "If it's Tuesday this must be Belgium" packaged-tour initial visits -- little Europe might seem a unified whole, similar people doing similar things in similar ways.

But then you begin to spot the differences --

First, languages: in Tamil Nadu, everywhere in that beautiful place except in the centers of the biggest cities, they speak, well, Tamil -- not even Hindi, too much -- while in Europe at any gathering everyone speaks several.

Then, technique: in the UK they still drive on the Wrong Side -- I hope the Scots won't change that... chaos at Hadrian's Wall... -- I have a very funny photo on my Pinterest "Whaat?" board of, "The first day in Sweden they switched from driving on the left to driving on the right".

Then, food: I imagine "breakfast" in Perth and Yarraville, that's 2000+ Australian miles, is pretty much the same -- but two neighboring villages in any given European countryside bake their morning bread very differently, as any motorcycle-riding visitor there can attest -- a difference maintained very deliberately in Europe, I'm told, "artésenal" licensing and "Brussels" uniformities notwithstanding.

But back to the meeting-room, and that upcoming European "congrès"...

I always have been amazed at the variety of approach, in any given European meeting. It is a variety which made Luigi Barzini proud (The Europeans, 1983). It comes out greatly at any cultural event: poets, painters, musicians -- there is less in-common, in a European event, than there is in any similar event I've ever attended anywhere else. It's very stimulating, makes one pause and Think Different. So I hope there'll always be a Europe, at least to make us monolithic globalizing giants remember to think, "variety!"

This particular European event should be fascinating -- like any event arranged by the Institut d'Histoire du Livre / IHL -- or Lyon's equally-excellent Musée de l'Imprimerie, or its richly-endowed Bibliothèque Municipale.

n.b. that last safeguards, among many other "wonderful things", an ms. in their collection from the library of no less than Charlemagne... 800 a.d., Alcuin et al., imagine!... -- see Bob Peckham's site: Consulting Medieval Manuscripts Online -- -- and for mss. at the BMLyon itself,

Bonne lecture,


Jack Kessler,






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