Better than Rolling Stone

Apparently music blogger Bob Lefsetz is big news. He’s the author of the Lefsetz Letter, on which he posts at length bits of analysis and rants. He actually has the attention of the music industry, to the extent that the targets of his abuse often respond in person, then wind up taking him out to dinner or debating with him on TV. Wired magazine did a whole feature on him back in 2012. Anyway, point is he also sends out a by-subscription email letter and this was in it today:

Oh, baby baby, I didn’t know Max Martin wasn’t his real name!

Every month I get a care package from Ralph. A legal envelope from the U.K. filled mostly with obituaries, the English do it much better, and ski stories (Did you know you could go heli-skiing in Iceland in June? I’m gonna start a Kickstarter to fund my trip, ha!) and odds and ends like this story from a Norwegian flight magazine about…Swedish music producers!

That’s right, Spotify is not the only Swedish export, the only thing tearing apart the fabric of the American music business. Hell, I learned more reading this piece than in a year’s worth of Rolling Stone.

The piece he’s referring to is the cover story of the current issue of n By Norwegian, which you can read here. And then cancel your Rolling Stone subscription.

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The illustrations for the story, BTW, are by Thomas Burden, who says his work is best described as ’60s and 70s National Geographic meets 80s and 90s Argos catalogue’. It was written by n By Norwegian editor Toby Skinner. (Posted by AndrewH)

The Dead Rodents Society

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A couple of month’s back I posted how much I enjoyed reading the Dispatches section of Hemispheres, the magazine Ink produces for United Airlines (here). Well, here’s a really good Dispatch that’s coming up in a future issue.

The Dead Rodents Society
Creating dioramas out of mouse cadavers isn’t as cute as it sounds
By Chris Wright

Oscar the mouse is in poor shape. To be fair, he didn’t look great when we started out, but now he’s a mess. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time snipping, scooping, peeling and tweezing the deceased animal (and inadvertently mangling and de-furring him) in an effort to create a piece of taxidermy art. What I’ve got is an extra from a Tim Burton film.

There are a dozen of us working on white rodents on a long table at Boxpark, a pop-up mall in London’s hip Shoreditch neighborhood, one of the venues for a series of workshops run by a local taxidermist named Margot Magpie. Magpie currently hosts two classes a week, but demand has been so high she’s about to introduce more, some of them involving larger animals like squirrels and rabbits.

“I think people enjoy the hands-on aspect of it—we don’t have that today, with all the digital stuff,” says the former medical history student, explaining why her sessions have been consistently over-subscribed since she started them almost two years ago. “Also, I just think people are really interested in dealing with something that’s dead.”

Then there’s the fact that this is billed as an anthropomorphic taxidermy class, meaning we get to make our mice do human-y things like play tennis or read the paper. As one of tonight’s students puts it after spending a couple of hours knuckle-deep in viscera: “I thought we’d be spending more time making them into cute little shapes!”

“Cute” isn’t the right word. Taxidermy turns out to be messy, fiddly and fraught with the potential for minor disasters. “I’ve lost his face!” shouts one student. “It’s a monster!” cries another. But, when we’re done, most people seem happy with their creations. “Look!” says a guy who has put a little broom in the hands of his mouse. “He’s sweeping up his own entrails!”

This is probably the best bit of mouse art tonight, but it’s not the best ever. One student, Magpie says, went on to create a mouse circus. “Another one I liked,” she adds, “was a mouse painting a picture of a cat.” On our table, meanwhile, there’s an animal that’s even more grossly misshapen than Oscar. “What are you going to do with him?” someone asks the would-be taxidermist. “Mother’s day?” he responds.

Very mice

Above, Chris’s finished piece – pending its listing on eBay. (Posted by AndrewH)

A warbling American cultural cluster bomb


J Magazine has a bit of a scoop coming up in its April/May issue. Editor Sakhr Al-Makhadhi managed to catch up with Jennifer Grout. If you don’t know who she is, you need to read the story. But just to give you the bare bones, she’s a 23-year-old, all-American, girl-from-next-door Bostonian who fell in love with Arabic music and became pretty good at singing along to CDs. So good, in fact, she entered the Middle East’s version of X Factor, Arabs Got Talent, filmed in Beirut. Bizarrely, she was invited to take part only to be almost laughed off stage when the judges and audience realised she didn’t speak Arabic. Then she sang and delivered such a flawless rendition of an Arabic classic that she immediately became the sensation of the series and darling of the Arabic-speaking world (well, apart from the faction that reckoned she must be some sort of warbling American cultural cluster bomb). She didn’t win but… well, read J Mag when it appears in a couple of week’s time.

Jennifer now lives in Marrakech, and art director Rob Timm commissioned locally based photographer Alan Keohane to do the shoot. (Posted by AndrewH)




Scoot stars: making use of in-house talent


Choosing to go with an illustrated photograph for the Scoot covers made the idea of shooting our own models seem unfeasible. Throw in the cost of both a photographer and model agency fees, and we would not be able to stay within our budget. Previous issues have all included stock photographs for the models, however as our client has specific requests regarding the models being used — everyone should appear Singaporean and look like they’re having fun – we were starting to run out of options. Luckily for us, two Inksters volunteered to appear on our cover and their bright, smiley faces really help make the page pop. (Posted by Alexandra Karplus)

Changing stripes

Team Tiger has spent the last couple of months reworking the magazine – or more specifically, three magazines as we produce Australian, Asian and Indonesian editions – and we’re very happy with the result. Editor Paul Chai introduces the fresh, new, experiential Tigertales.




As Tigerair underwent a complete rebrand at the end of 2013, it was time to overhaul the magazine. The new Tigerair was all about enabling a multitude of travel experiences; the new Tigertales was to reflect them. The airline tasked us with creating a magazine that would focus on “people” and “experiences”.

For the new cover approach we aim to get the type of travel photo that makes you want to join in with the fun everyone’s having. They can be a challenge to find but, in US-based photographer Sarah Lee, we found to two shots that set the tone for what we want in every future issue. Our main coverline is always a question: ‘Where are your hidden surf spots?’ or ‘Isn’t it time you went to the Maldives?’ so we immediately engage with the reader from page one.

Tigertales 2014 is packed full of people, sharing their encounters and experiences. We renamed the upfront section Crowd Source, and much of the content is sourced from real people. The newsy pages are led by fresh, interesting quotes, the Why I Live In … page has someone telling us why they love their hometown; hotel reviews have become interviews; and a longer news feature tells you about travel trends.

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Slugged Encounters, the mid-section focuses on experiential travel. There is always at least one first-person travel experience, but there are also lists, a local neighbourhood experience and a big picture of someone doing something out of the ordinary. Headlines are out, simple instructions are in – like they were told to you by a new travel buddy: “You really have to….” GO dirtbiking IN Java; DO a horse trek IN Hong Kong; GO nightfishing IN the Maldives


Our signature feature, Weekend Warriors has two people facing off with their ideal weekend – giving us two different perspectives of a destination, documented on their smartphones.


In the Melbourne comedy feature we skip the usual round up of the festival and instead have comics take us around ‘their’ Melbourne. For the images we had illustrator Kev Gahan annotate the stock PR photos in a graffiti-style that is synonymous with the southern Australian city.


The Tigerair Guide is a loose heading to allow us to group Tigerair destinations around a theme, be it geographical (Indonesia in the Asian edition) or how we travel (Surfing in the Oz edition). We go beyond ‘eat, sleep and go’ by including apps, movies, books (etc) about the featured topic or destination.


This is just a snapshot – we’d love to hear your thoughts on the complete issues up on ink-live. (Posted by Paul Chai)