We’ve always wondered about the guys that print
. Up until now, all we really knew was that they’re in a great big room somewhere in the frozen wasteland of Canada and that every 30 days or so, they ship us lots and lots of magazines.
We found out that a guy named Philippe Paris is the press supervisor up there, so we got him on the horn and surprised this soft-spoken French Canadian by christening him Employee of the Month. Then we asked him what it feels like to deliver our rectangular glossy child 12 times a year.
Vice: Hey Philippe. How has your day been so far?
It’s been a very good day. Everything is going well.
What did you have for breakfast?
Cereal with a banana. It was Raisin Bran. Is this going to be in the magazine?
Yes. We want to be sure we’re doing business with stand-up people who don’t eat a bunch of fancy bullshit. How about lunch?
I had a Subway foot-long Cold Cut Combo sandwich.
Any condiments? Mayo? Mustard?
Southwest sauce. It’s very good stuff.
OK, that’s acceptable. Let’s move on. What’s your position at the place that prints Vice and how did you land the gig?
I’m the press supervisor. I’ve been working here for two years. I studied management at a university in Montreal before this.
So you just boss people around all day? Do you even know the first thing about actually putting ink onto paper?
No, no, I’ve had to learn a lot about the printing press. I have a supervising pressman named Michel Vezyna who does all the technical stuff, but I have to be on the floor at the press with him every day. He’s been the best person to have around these last two years, so now I can—
Now you can fire him?
No, no, no I can’t fire him! [
] We’re a team—a good team.
What are you working on today?
Today we’re doing fountain-solution tests on the printing presses. It’s a process of cleaning the plates so the press can run properly.
That sounds boring. Do you like your job?
Of course I like my job. In printing it’s different every day. There’s no routine.
When you first interviewed for the job and they said, “Oh, we print Vice magazine,” did you know what it was?
Uh… no. Sorry.
What do you think of it now?
It’s a nice magazine. It’s different—very different. We like
Do you read it every month?
Any favorite recent articles or issues?
Issues or articles… let’s see… well, there are always many things but I can’t remember…
Well, I like sports magazines.
Are you a jock?
Eh? A jock? What’s that?
You know, a sports guy.
Yeah, I used to play in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. I played right wing for the Quebec Remparts.
Have we ever really pissed you guys off by missing a deadline or realizing we screwed something up after going to press? Like, have you ever thought of sabotaging us by replacing all of our ads with blank pages? Be honest.
Not that I can remember. Your customer-service representative could answer that question better.
Is it a big pain in the ass when we ask to do gatefold covers or add foil to our logo?
It can be, but we try not to refuse anything. We work for the customer, but sometimes we take a guess and it doesn’t go that good.
What other types of magazines do you print there?
All kinds. We print a great magazine called
Maine Home Design
Which is a better read, Maine Home Design or Vice?
, of course. We also do printing for the
You should advise them not to put Devendra Banhart on the cover every three months.
Do you like Devendra Banhart?
Exactly! So listen, have you ever gotten the chance to run out into the middle of the floor and scream, “STOP THE PRESSES! STOP THE FUCKING PRESSES!!!”?
Yeah. Sometimes when we go to press and the person doing the printing overlooks a problem I’ll have to stop it all so we can fix it. I get on the loudspeaker and tell them to shut it down. I’m in charge of quality control and I know the customers we deal with better, so even when a pressman says something is OK, I sometimes have to step in.
We tried to do an issue without using computers anywhere in the process, but our publisher told us it was impossible for you guys to do it the old way. Was that a crock of shit? Did he even ask you? Don’t you guys have some ancient press down in the basement we could use?
Well, that would be hard because all the new presses run off computers—the prepress, too. We have an old one somewhere but I wouldn’t go to press with your magazine on that because the format is smaller and it’s not good quality. As for the truth about your publisher asking us about it, again I’d have to refer you to your customer-service rep.
Thanks, Philippe. If we ever find ourselves anywhere near Scott, Quebec, we’ll buy you a nice Labatt and some poutine.
Yes, definitely. Thank you. Have a nice day.