Prometheus Bound Books

Oh to be Really Useful

by Marie Stevens
26 February 2012

The shocking news today about Marie Colvin’s death will have affected everyone who values accurate news reporting and admires the selfless bravery of those who bring it to us. If it is not too trite to say it, hers was a useful life in the broadest sense and we all gained knowledge and perspective from her unbiased, truthful and fearless articles.

Today I received an email from a respected political commentator, a giant in her field and friend and colleague of the famous. A recent brush with the medical profession caused her to comment that she wished she could do something “really useful” with her life, commending, as one so often hears, the kindness and empathy of the medical profession. And that from someone whose wisdom, intelligence and insightful writing have certainly been more than useful in shaping political strategy.

So being useful is perhaps what we all strive to be? And such a difficult concept of course. Here at Prometheus Bound we have been working on binding Boudoir photographs (a fairly recent development and offering “intimate” photographs of wives and girlfriends). Not a bit “useful” you might think – until you read the testimonials of the customers who have used these services and presented the “beautiful” results to delighted recipients. Surely “useful” in its own way – supporting, saving or perhaps reviving relationships, all suffering in such difficult times in which those closest to us will feel the effect of individual hardship the most.

It is Lent now – the traditional time for giving something up and perhaps more in the news that usual given the current focus on the position of the Church of England in our daily life. But giving things up is perhaps not that useful (other than the pleasure in the personal sacrifice); more useful perhaps is the recommendation from the vicar in the Archers that those keeping Lent should do a daily “random act of kindness”. Food for thought.

So is bookbinding “useful”? We believe it is. The preservation of a lovely traditional craft has a place, particularly in ugly times; beauty does have its uses – in lifting the heart, refreshing the soul and preserving our heritage.

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