/ log / 24th Sep, 2007 /

An Ode to Exersize Book Margins

Remember your old school exersize books? If you went to school in the UK, you’ll probably remember the margins, with a red or grey vertical line giving the page a little elbow room (and trying to make your writing line up.)

Mine would end up full of all sorts of things: Numerous red “Sp” spelling reminders from the teacher (nothing᾿s changed you’ll note), with oft–begrudged marks of “7/10”, as well as my own art, in the loosest sense of the word. That would include snippets of ubiquitous bubble writing; predictably inspired by the girls who seemed to love it—and anyone who could do it well—even more than Wotsits or Cabbage Patch Kids. There would be various malformed “Chad” and Fido Dido sketches (inspired by 7-Up ads in Singapore when I was younger,) and carefully crafted reproductions of Biffa Bacon next to attempts at rendering male reproductive anatomy. Banksy wasn’t even a twinkle in his mummy’s eye at that point, and anyway, Chad and mutated willys were easier to draw than teddybears with Molotov cocktails.

Therefore, I decided to resurrect the exersize book margin in my print stylesheet. It’s still a little messy and very verbose and will, no doubt, be massaged into pedantic cleanliness over time. The stylesheet, that is, not the margin.

Asides and small pictures are pulled into the margin where they belong, leaving you bags of room for your own notes, doodles and experiments in anatomical drawings of the male reproductive organ. Ah, but if only browsers would respect orphans, page-break-after:avoid, page-break-inside:avoid and other useful print CSS, but that is a tale for another day. Do a print preview to take a peek. Perhaps the best margin art™ should win a prize—what was in yours all those years ago?

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