Also: there is never a dull moment. But this is translated into: there is never a moment's peace, no guarantee of a good night's sleep. There is never a dull moment, and yet life is an endless succession of dull moments (the idea is to make even the most unexpected emergency a matter of routine), especially for those sweeping the decks, or cleaning, wiping, washing, shining. Day after day for seven months.
Geoff Dyer will be coming to the Bookshop on 9 July to talk about his latest project, Another Great Day At Sea, written as part of the Writers in Residence series, which seeks to record and describe the key institutions which hold power in the modern world.
Each book in the series pairs a writer with a photographer and sends them to explore the organisations which are, for most of us, completely closed off; to put faces to institutions that are considered faceless. Dyer was paired with Chris Steele-Perkins, an award-winning Magnum photographer, and sent aboard the American aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush. The portrait that they produce of the floating fortress is both wonderfully humane and surprisingly funny. The ship is a kind of self-contained metropolis, mundane as well as military: Dyer talks with F-18 fighter pilots and the officers manning the catapults, but his attention is equally captivated by the ship's bakers, dentist and Pentecostal Bible study class.
The book is published by the consistently excellent Visual Editions, who describe the series as looking 'to collapse boundaries between long form journalism and non-fiction, finding a third way between a book and magazine to reveal stories and places as they’ve never been seen before'. If there's one thing we love more than great long-form writing, it's great long-form writing that's been beautifully designed and produced. With Steele-Perkins' striking, direct images providing a counterpoint to Dyer's wry humour and eye for the absurd, it's a brilliant opening to the series.
Geoff Dyer will be at the Bookshop on 9 July. Book tickets here.