Earlier in the week I promised to tell you what I thought of new Aussie mag The Monthly, which according to it's publisher will fill the space that the New Yorker' or Atlantic Monthly might fill in the States.
I have never read either of those, but The Monthly was a bit disappointing. For a start, after having a quick flick through it, I was surprised at the crude, cheap looking layout. I almost just chucked it straight onto the coffee table, ready to be put out with the thirteen supplements that come with the Saturday Age.
But back to The Monthly. The articles (well essays really) are pretty good, once you remember that Aussie writers sometime become a mistake throughtfulness and seriousness with being over tedious. That aside, you can expect lengthy, generally well written articles by Margaret Simons on the ABC, John Birmingham on his home town of Ipswich, John Harms on 1950 Stawell Gift winner Ken Trewick, an piece by one of my favorites Don Watson on how country towns have changed,as well as contributions by Tim Lane, Helen Garner, Robert Forster and others.
They all combine to make The Monthly a reasonably good read. It is just that it looks really crap. I know that mags like this don't need to offer a graphic experience, but this is 2005 and I would expect a bit more sophistication. One thing I still don't get is the cover image. Now isn't it standard practice that the image on the cover is somehow linked to the a story, usually the cover story? Most magazines I know use the cover to illustrate a theme or central point in the story.
But not with The Monthly. Strange. I am at a loss as to why you would want an ordinary photo take up the whole cover of your first edition that adds nothing to anything inside..
Anyway, I'll pick it up again next month.
(If anyone else has any thoughts on the first Monthly, I'd love to hear them)