VCE Top Designs—frankie Editor Jo Walker Talks to Media Students.


Last Thursday frankie editor Jo Walker spoke to VCE students studying media and design at Melbourne Museum, as part of their annual VCE Top Designs exhibition.

The forum was also headed by two VCAA State Reviewers, who got the event off to a promising start when they asked the students if any of them read magazines as inspiration for their projects, and a tumbleweed blew by.

But you know what high school kids can be like: in the words of Matilda’s Miss Trunchbull, “I’m glad I never was one!”

Walker can count me as one of her loyal subjects, and I hung on her every word.

Granted, a lot of it is stuff I’ve heard before, as it’s been five and a half years since I graduated from high school, but interesting nonetheless.

She spoke about frankie’s humble beginnings, the founding editors Louise Bannister, who left not long after the mag’s inception to backpack around Canada, and Lara Burke, who’s still there as creative director today.

Walker described frankie as a “general interest magazine for hipsters”, which I have to say was a turn off, as I can’t stand hipsters! But, like my friend Zoe, who looks like a hipster on the outside, but is really just a normal, cool, great person on the inside, frankie is similar.

Walker said it’s easier to describe what frankie isn’t than what it is: it’s not a colourful, mainstream mag about how to please your boyfriend in bed. frankie readers already know how to do that, according to Walker!

The mag is inspired by “random conversations in pubs”, bookstores, news shows like ABC’s Australian Story, the internet, social media and frankie staff’s favourite blogs (no word on if The Scarlett Woman is one of them!). But essentially, if editors Walker and Burke  like it, it goes to print.

frankie has stopped using models for its fashion shoots (though not for the cover evidently), instead using musicians in what could be seen as a token gesture to silence its critics.

Stepping away from the typical frankie-esque story, this month has a “frankie weddings” special, which Walker described as “not just another [Cosmo Bride] wedding story”.

Ultimately, Walker says she looks to give each issue the balance, flow and rhythm of a “mixtape” (though I don’t think many of the kids knew what one is; “an iPod playlist”, if you will.)

I was so inspired by the talk and the amount of references to the current issue, I went out and bought a copy, even though I don’t get paid til next week and had already exhausted my magazine allowance!

Related: George Michael Paper Dolls in Independent Zine ZINm.

 frankie Review: January/February 2011.

Elsewhere: [Musings of an Inappropriate Woman] Why It’s Worth Talking About frankie Magazine.

Image via Girl with a Satchel.

Guest Post: Leaving on a Jet Plane.

My first memory of the airport is fragmented: seeing my cousin off to Berlin a couple of years after the fall of the wall, all I remember is a green glow emanating from Tullamarine airport (which is more than likely a figment of my imagination), playing with a plastic toy set of some kind bought for me by my grandparents at the gift shop, and the smell of The Body Shop’s cocoa butter moisturiser.

Almost fifteen years later I made my return to the terminal, my first ever flight being en route to San Francisco via Sydney as part of a US exchange program. It was scary, and a lonely trip overall, but it instilled in me the travel bug.

Twenty plane rides later, I’m hoping my next trip will be to New York for my 25th birthday in 2012. It’s been nearly two years since I’ve travelled anywhere interesting, unless you count the two hour train journey from Melbourne to my country Victorian hometown, which I don’t!

Personally, my favourite thing about travelling is the interrupted reading time; up to 20 hours on some flights! The atmosphere of the airport, with all its luxury stores, newsagents and overpriced food bars, comes in a close second, so after reading Chris Guillebeau’s “For the Love of Airports” piece on The Art of Non-Conformity, I solicited my high-school best friend, Natalie, who I remember being obsessed with aerospace travel, to write a post on her love of airports.

Airports have always been a favourite place of mine; having grown up travelling overseas every couple of years since I was an infant I have fond and happy memories of the terminals. Although it’s so large, there is somehow an atmosphere of warmth amongst the hustle and bustle at the airport. I love that you can be there any time of the day—morning, noon or night—and see so many people heading in all directions to catch flights. Just watching them, wondering where are they off to…

My favourite memory of going to an airport was probably the most disastrous start to a family holiday. It was the day before Christmas Eve and my family and I were headed to New Zealand for the holidays. We had many delays and ended up getting a free overnight stay at Tullamarine’s Travelodge Hotel in the interim. Although it was stressful and annoying for my parents, I really enjoyed all the excitement of having to shuttle our way to the hotel and knowing we would be returning to the vibrancy of the airport the next morning; anything to prolong my time there!

To me, airports symbolise many things. Often the happiness of reunions between families and friends, the enjoyment of embarking on a holiday, and the sadness of seeing someone off [Scarlett Woman note: I will be seeing my good friend April off indefinitely to Canada in a couple of weeks. I will be packing tissues]. At times, airports can be stressful, scary and unpredictable but they’re also mesmerising and intriguing to me. I could sit in a cosy departure lounge all day with my face pressed against the warm glass, marvelling at just how those big airbuses get off the ground. Sometimes the airport is more thrilling than the journey, because there’s always so much to look forward to: café food, duty free shopping and my favourite of all, the smell of aeroplane fuel! Strange, I know, but it always sends those airport memories flooding back…

Elsewhere: [The Art of Non-Conformity] For the Love of Airports.