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Oh, no – another whinge about the paper

April 27, 2009

As a “bonus” with Saturday’s Age, we received a copy of




There’s an awful lot to dislike in this shiny, inconveniently sized publication.  Earnest lower case titles, random use of contrasting colours, and enthusiastically misplaced brackets are only a small part of the problem.

A much larger part of the problem is the sheer pointlessness of this production.  The content (sorry, the(content)) is divided into three main sections: the cover, the features and the regulars.  In the current issue – #55, apparently – the cover story is an interview with Sigrid Thornton.  The features are: a profile of a sex therapist (it’s called the love doctor. Really); an article about surbubanites growing things (pigs, chooks, grapes, bees); and an article about the Julie Ramage case (a book on the case, written by an Age journo, has just been reissued – this, therefore, is mere promo).  The stories are weak, which is also how the Good Weekend has been recently.  None of these pieces would be out of place in the current GW – they could be included in the GW to try to bring it back to a place where it’s at least a lengthy, if not particularly interesting, read.

the regulars (damn this e e cummings pretentiousness!) is broken up into five sections, all of which mirror the sections in a number of other Age liftouts: eat drink, fashion, maintenance, homes, box office.  In fact, “mirror” is apt, judging from the eat drink.  Larissa Dubecki is welcomed to the team as the new restaurant critic and her contribution to this magazine is to cannibalize the reviews she’s done over the past few weeks as the new restaurant critic for Epicure.  Her main review is of Brown and Do: it’s essentially a condensed version of her review of a month ago, but she’s changed the cheesy war references (not cut them, changed them – instead of “lines of demarcation” and “occasional reconnaissance mission(s) into territory” there are “subtle little forays”) and de-purpled the prose (thank God).  dishitup is the second page of the eat drink section and is more editing of previous work from Dubecki.

Seriously, I can’t figure out why this magazine exists.  Every piece could fit into another publication, and some of it already has (albeit in a different form).  Even one of my least favourite M sections has a twin here: THEMELBOURNELOOK is a match for “Street Seen” (this is in the insideinformation section, along with EATTHIS, NEEDTOKNOW, WE’RELOVING and HAPPYBIRTHDAY.  Where did these production designers learn their skillz?).  Clearly it’s an advertising vehicle – three double page ads and a left-hand full page before the contents page – but couldn’t that advertising be sold into one of the other publications and the quality throughout the supplements raised?

I don’t know – I’d like to say this is the last rant I’ll have about The Age, but Sophie Hexter has promised a “makeover” to the Ask The Stylist section in M, so I might not be able to restrain myself…

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