The late Harry Calhoun approached me after appearing in Alligator Stew and said he had a collection and thought I should print it. That was when Alligator Stew became Pig Ear Press. Working on the book was like being in a mini series as Harry fell to an extreme low with his marriage on the rocks before climbing to a high as they came back stronger than ever. Looking back now the title of the book seems sadly prophetic as Harry succombed to ill health before passing away in 2015.
The Crows of Berlin was the biggest project I have undertaken with 150 paperbacks and 26 hardbacks. Through a combination of drawings and poems the book created a Berlin for me and when I visited the city for the launch I got to see some of the places from the book and was not disappointed. I did also consume far too much alcohol and came to at 5:30am in a random train station, but that story's perhaps best left for another time...
I'd known Stephen Hines for a few years before approaching him about publishing a book and aside from being a funny and charming man he is also an extremely good writer. He has a collection of short stories coming out from Tangerine Press in 2017 and if you are a fan of Raymond Carver then you are going to want to seek that out. Fun fact: the printing plate for the cover was created from a photo of my daughter walking through snow. I thought "He's Canadian...there's no bears in the story...no maple syrup...no mounties...snow it is then."
Alligator Stew was the genesis of Pig Ear Press and was an attempt to combine poetry and illustration into something interesting. I think it worked. There were only three issues with the second one being a collection of postcards to raise money for the SPCA in Gozo. As fun as it was to do, the final issue ended up costing the press more than it could make back due to the decision to print colour illustrations in high quality.