At four London tube stations, Hoxton Mini Press will be giving away 1,500 copies of an uplifting book on the most miserable day of the year.
Due to a small black printing mark on the back of Hoxton Mini Press’s brilliant book I’ve Lived in East London for 86 ½ Years, the small London publisher, known for their exceptional photobook editions, have decided instead of pulping the new batch – which would normally happen – to give away the copies this January 15, 2018 otherwise known as Blue Monday.
Turning the publishing error into a joyous quirk, the publishers believe that giving the book away will ‘bring a smile or laugh to Londoners during their morning commute’.
I’ve Lived in East London for 86 ½ Years is about Hoxton resident Joseph Markovitch, who only ever left London once to go to the seaside, never had a girlfriend and used to make suitcases for a living.
The book is a heart-warming chronicle of how the East Londoner over the years navigated London, its changing culture, and often made friends with strangers through his curiosity and openness – including the book’s author and photographer, Martin Usborne.
Unfortunately, Joseph died on Boxing Day in 2013 shortly after the book, part of the East London Photo Stories, was released. But the exquisite collection of photographs that are accompanied by Joseph’s own words is a rare and unique record of a true Londoner’s life.
‘A lot of young kids do graffiti around Hoxton. . . it’s nice. It adds a bit of colour, don’t you think?’
‘In the old days, when a man went to see the opera he had on a bowler hat. People don’t wear hats anymore. . . but they wear everything else, don’t they?’
‘Me and my family used to go to Hampstead Heath to see the fair. We had ice cream. There was a parrot who used to swear at me. It was perfect. . . What’s all this about broken families these days? The most important thing is to stay together.’
So be at Old Street, Farringdon, King’s Cross and Shoreditch High Street stations from 7:30am to be in with a chance of brightening your Monday morning.
I’ve Lived in East London for 86 ½ Years by Martin Usborne, published by Hoxton Mini Press, £12.95.
Want to see more art books? Here are the best books for art lovers around the world.