This book took a long time. A shamefully long time. Here’s a piece of advice: If you happen to find yourself planning a book that involves coordinating 24 people who have never met, don’t quit your job and move to the other side of the world in the middle of it all. That is a dumb idea, and you will be dumber for doing it.
This book also took a long time in that it finishes a trilogy that began back in 2008, with I Am The Friction. We made 100 of those things, Lizzy and I. Her illustrations, my terrible attempts at stories. We printed the covers in my Brighton bedroom with my trusty Print Gocco, and had them hand-bound by Helen, then the masterful bookbinding technician at the University of Brighton. We gave them to friends and family and sold a handful to friendly internet strangers. A year later, now living in Edinburgh, we made We Are The Friction, an altogether grander affair but with the same premise (stories inspired by illustrations, illustrations inspired by stories). Twenty-four of our favourite people, 1000 copies, countless swear words delivered between breaths after lugging them up to our billionth floor flat. We had a proper launch party with Russell and Julie at Analogue, and slowly they trickled out into the world via our local post office.
And now this. You Are The Friction. Monstrously delayed, but finally, thankfully, a real thing. We’re lucky again to have such a heroically patient and magnificently talented collection of people in it. I shouldn’t speak to favourites, but I will say that Craig Taylor's 'Ash Banditry' is warm, funny and extraordinary; Ned Beauman's 'Xylyl Bromide' is a stout, compact wartime tragedy; Carson Ellis/Tess Lynch's collaborations are magical; and putting Joe Meno and Oliver Jeffers together was a proud, satisfying moment. But there’s truly not one story or image that I don’t love, and I truly hope you will feel the same.
We had a lot of help from many people along the way, and these are just the ones that I can remember: Sam Winston spent a long time talking to me on a cold Scottish step. Bryony Quinn read one of the earliest complete drafts and gave some excellent notes. Scott Boms offered herculean typographic guidance. Justin Stahl built our site with grace and aplomb. Ike Edeani took some wonderful photos. The inimitable Ray Fenwick provided the cover illustration, and we asked Sean Michaels to write the foreword as he’s been supportive from the start (see?). We also put together this video - Josh Allen's story inspired by Scott Campbell's illustration, read by Roman Mars, and scored by Tom Rosenthal.
You can find out more about the book and purchase it at singstatistics.com. Thanks.