Q&A: Chris Narayan Bindery manager, Rapidity

By Jo Francis, Monday 13 November 2017

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Chris has worked for 37 years as a hand bookbinder, and his expert skills have been called upon to give demonstrations and teach classes in the art. He loves music and football, his wife, and his Boston terrier. He was also the only man in a kilt to grace the stage at this year’s PrintWeek Awards.

qanda

What is your nickname? 

Victor Meldrew (courtesy of my wife)

Why did you get into printing? 

I wasn’t good enough at football and my band split up

What is your dream bit of kit?

My Imperial press from 1890, lovingly restored by Les at Homeward Bound in Shropshire

What is your favourite TV programme? 

I never miss Question Time

What is your favourite phrase or saying? 

‘So whose round is it?’

What is your favourite album? 

Almost impossible to answer… Pet Sounds, Highway 61 Revisited, London Calling...

What is your favourite book?

Last Train to Memphis (the story of Elvis up to 1957) by Peter Guralnick 

What is your greatest luxury in life?

My record collection. I have thousands and I never have enough money to buy everything I want

What is the strangest job you’ve ever done?

I used to have a client who collected Japanese pornographic magazines that I had to bind into leather volumes – I kid you not!

Who would you like to be stuck on a desert island with? 

Well I guess Robinson Crusoe would have a few handy survival tips

What is your greatest ambition? 

As my dreams of rock ‘n’ roll stardom fade, it would be to own an animal sanctuary

Who or what makes you laugh? 

Tommy Cooper – he could stand there and say nothing and be hilarious

What piece of kit would you like to see invented?

A machine that can gold tool leather books with rounded spines and raised bands

Most embarrassing moment?

When Kim in the office was looking at the leather-bound wedding album I was planning to give to my wife on our first anniversary, and noticed I had the wrong date stamped on the cover!

Where would you like to be now? 

Out mountainbiking, I love it even when I crash

What’s your worst fashion disaster? 

My yellow and black hair, pink mohair vest, and my green tartan bondage trousers take some beating

Who would be your favourite party guests?

Those with large carry-outs

What was your childhood obsession?

Music. It still is

What is the worst kind of print? 

Anything that spreads hatred or promotes it

What was the best business deal that you’ve pulled off? 

Persuading Mr Inns, my first employer, that despite my yellow hair I was worth employing aged 16

How would you like to be remembered? 

As someone who cared, and always bought a round

Life is…? 

Too short, and always, always treat others as you would expect to be treated yourself

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