In an age when trivialisation is mightier than considered thought (or, at least, a time when many seem intent on imposing that idea on society) it’s stimulating to be reminded that engaging the brain in cerebral activity remains man’s highest achievement. One was so reminded of this at the launch of The Spectator Australia magazine held in the spectacular Sydney Conservatorium of Music.
‘The Spectator’ is, of course, a giant amongst British magazine publications and has been since it was first published on 6 July 1828 with its principal subject area being politics. Although generally The Spectator takes a conservative editorial line, regular contributors often carry a completely contrary viewpoint. Additionally amongst the pages is a wide-ranging coverage of the arts, literature, music and entertainment.
This new Australian version of ‘The Spectator’ also subscribes to the idea that magazines can still deliver thought provoking and challenging journalism. Journalism to be digested slowly and reflected upon at length as apposed to today’s snatched comments that all too often pass for commentary and debate.
With the English version’s legendry coverage of politics over the ages, ‘The Spectator’ would have featured so many articles about great parliamentary performers such as; Benjamin Disraeli, Lloyd George and Winston Churchill incorporating the intrigues and controversies often swirling around these immense characters. Therefore it seemed appropriately apt to have, amongst the literati, politcali and glitterati crowd assembled at the Conservatorium by the events’ publicist Philippa Dryden, one Peter Costello. He was the perfect guest for the evening, being by common acknowledgement, the long established best political performer currently in the Federal Parliament. Peter has never been far from intrigue and controversy – the political journalists’ staple diet.
The current edition of the Australian version of the magazine displays a front page featuring a drawing of Liberal Party political heavyweights in a certain Roman tragedy notably involving Caesar and Brutus.
Launch guests appeared caught in the web of the magazine’s topical alertness as lively chatting and a feeling of excitement filled the venue. The Buzz was only temporarily silenced by the welcoming speeches and the extraordinarily talented violinist, Richard Tognetti, who treated us to a superb performance.
The Australian Spectator is, for the first time, a local edition and is being printed in Australia – thus ending what had been a week-long delay between publication and copies being available here. Under the editorship of Oscar Humphries, this edition will contain an uniquely Australian segment by Australian writers in the opening pages followed by the usual English edition further in.
Now Australians have the prospect of being instantly informed spectators to world affairs, politics and culture on a weekly basis. Pen a note to yourself to make The Australian Spectator essential reading.
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