It’s complicated… but Black Daffodil Press back in business at Sheffield Zine Fest 2019. @sheffzinefest #sheffzinefest

After something of an extended hiatus, Black Daffodil Press is back in business. Please come and see us and lots of other zinesters at Sheffield Zine Fest 2019 at The Workstation, Paternoster Row S1 2BX on the 18th of May 11:00-17:00.

I am not sure what I’m going to be showing or doing, but that has become part of what I show and do these days, so please come and say hello and join in the chaos.

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Sheffield Anarchist Bookfair 2015 – 16th May at The Workstation 10am – 6pm


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COMING SOON! Sheffield Anarchist Book Fair 12th July 2014


I do not describe myself as an anarchist, (I think I’m more of a socialist) but they are both labels that are widely misunderstood and, arguably, both unnecessary and unhelpful.

I was introduced to the term anarchist through the punk scene of the late 1970s and, specifically, the music and ideology of CRASS. Much as I admired their ethics and music, they were a bit too straight-edge for me, although certainly influential in both ways.

“Penis Envy” is an astonishing artistic achievement, not something that is often said about overtly political work, and Gee Vaucher’s paintings & collage (and the design of CRASS album covers, generally) at least partially defined the look and feel of a whole generation of outsider activism.

My own activism is not quite so hardcore, although I am repeatedly spurred on by the quotation that is attributed to statesman and political philosopher Edmund Burke (1729 – 1797), “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”.

My own hobby horses are anti-corruption and pro-voting.

So come along to the Sheffield Anarchist Book Fair at The Workstation, Paternoster Row, Sheffield UK S1 2BX on 12th July, and see what I am up to.


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Yorkshire Zine Weekender 15th & 16th March 2014 – #DIY #zine #bolamat50


A daffodil’s-eye view at Sheffield Zine Fest 2013.

Coming soon! The Yorkshire Zine Weekender with a doubler-header of ziney goodness in Sheffield and Leeds, 15th & 16th March 2014. Please come along and see my even more swollen catalogue of goodies from Black Daffodil Press.

Also, there will be a party in Sheffield on the saturday night.

Sheffield Zine Fest 2014 15th March at Electric Works, Sheaf Street, Sheffield S1 2BJ, 11am – 6pm free entry.
Facebook event here:


One of the other tablers called my display “industrial” last year, which I am very happy with.

Leeds Zine Fair 2014 16th March at Wharf Chambers, 23-25 Wharf Street, LS2 7EQ 11am – 6pm free entry.
Facebook event here:


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Sheffield Zine Fest 2014 – coming soon…


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For the unrequited love of Big Brother/Epson/Canon – more inkjet troubles

Screen shot 2013-07-30 at 10.57.05

Okay, more whining about inkjet printers (strictly for the enthusiasts). This time about my Epson Photo RX585.

When I choose “A4” in the page setup menu item, and then go to print, it gives me a list of media to choose from.

Screen shot 2013-07-30 at 10.32.22

But when I choose “A4(Sheet Feeder – borderless) I no longer get the option to print onto plain paper.

Screen shot 2013-07-30 at 10.32.11

Why? It will physically print on plain paper if I choose a different option but load plain paper rather than one of the Epson papers that are listed, so it’s not a mechanical issue, but it will not print with the correct ink balance, hence the muddy prints (see below).

I am not a printer engineer and no doubt there are technological limitations that I am not aware of. However, you can’t tell me that the same transport mechanism and the same inks that can print edge-to-edge to photo paper, comme ci, can’t manage to print an acceptable page edge-to-edge on plain paper, comme ça.

One one hand, it is fair enough for manufacturers to disclaim any quality or reliability issues unless you use their recommended ink and paper, but neither of these printers is remotely economically viable if you do. If you use third party consumables, you haven’t got a leg to stand on when things don’t work properly.


Left to right: Canon ix6550 (A4 borderless), Epson RX585 (A4 borderless), RX585 (A4)

However, the print shown here (above, right) is printed on 120 gsm plain paper with third party “universal” dye inks and the print quality is fine. The print in the middle is on the same paper with the printer set to one of the Epson photo papers because there is no plain paper option.

And this is the crux of it. I would not recommend either of these printers although they both work excellently in some circumstances, and this is not an issue solely caused by printing large batches. It’s this issue that neither printer can be relied upon, given the current driver software, to print a full range of acceptable results on the range of media that they both claim to support. Given the occasions that they will print satisfactorily, I do not accept that these limitations are anything to do with the mechanical limitations of either printer, but the software / firmware implementations.

I have yet to try absolutely every combination of papers and print settings, and I will let you know if I find a suitable compromise.

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Why print black when you can Pixma bleck?


I have come to realise that we live in a post-magic civilisation. The details of inkjet printing are more esoteric than anything The Order of the Golden Dawn could have ever thought up, and heaven and hell are separated by a mere razor’s edge between the transitory salvation of printing satisfactorily and the potentially endless purgatory of not printing satisfactorily.

Apart from The Good Lord Himself, who knows what evil lurks in the minds of Canon printer engineers. In Australia Canon used the advertising tag-line “Why print when you can Pixma?” and I’ll tell you why in a moment.

What’s wrong with this picture?


That is correct, the one on the left is black-and-white and the one of the right is blue/black-and-white. Both were printed on my recently purchased Canon Pixma iX6550. The one on the right was printed on the “A3” page layout option and the one on the right with the “A3 (borderless)” setting, both with “grayscale printing” checked.

The iX6550 uses two different black cartridges, a dye black and a pigment black, although there is no user control of which is used. The pigment black is like the pitiless dead eyes of a shark, and the dye black is more like the dewy pupils of an apologetic Care Bear, kinda black-ish but tolerable. For some reason I cannot determine, it uses the dye black (mixed with other colours) when printing edge-to-edge and exclusively the pigment black when not printing borderless. The difference is not just noticeable, it is quite marked, and the pigment black is actually far too black for a mixed colour print compared with the saturation of the CMY colours.

Okay so, what’s wrong with this picture?

Screen shot 2013-07-29 at 16.18.07

That is correct, the scan above is monochrome dithered and the one below is multi-colour blended. Despite selecting “grayscale printing” neither of them is actually gray, never mind grey. I hate to be picky but gray/grey is not a movable feast so mobile that any approximation will do.

Do you think one is the the North American “gray” and the other the British “grey”?

It’s quite possible that I’m missing something and I will be happy to publish my contrition should I be shown to have overlooked a user-definable setting. This printer is perfectly capable of producing outstanding results, it’s just a shame it insists on Pixma-ing rather than printing.

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