LARPing around

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There’s a great read in the new August issue of easyJet Traveller by Vicky Lane, about the weekend she spent LARPing (that’s Live Action Role Playing) – basically fancy dress in a field for adults.

“So, here they are and it’s an awesome sight. Around 400 creatures – scaly beings clutching spiked staffs, elf-like beauties with bows and arrows, armoured knights swinging broadswords – clash with the 400-strong enemy army, who snarl from a fort in the centre of the battlefield. It’s as though Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings and Star Wars have all been mashed into one epic finale. At least, it would be, if it weren’t for the nervous dog walkers scurrying past, a reminder that this fantasy setting is very much in the real world.”

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The photos are by Carlotta Cardana. (Posted by AndrewH)

Big catch

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The team narrowly missed out last year to Slimming World but last night n by Norwegian was named as Customer Magazine of the Year in the prestigious 2015 PPA awards. This is a huge accolade as these are the most prestigious awards in the UK magazine publishing industry. Norwegian beat out a shortlist that included British Airway’s High LifeWaitrose Kitchen and Slimming World. Winners in other categories on the night included Esquire, Cosmopolitan, Porter Magazine, Jamie and The Big Issue, so we’re in good company. Former Ink employee Darren Endicott was awarded Designer of the Year (Business Media) for his work on Professional Manager magazine. Well earned congratulations to Toby Skinner, Rickard Westin, Mandi Keighran, Omer Ali and Regina Wolek. (Posted by AndrewH)

Ice, ice, baby

The latest issue of Germanwings contains an interesting story from Iceland on Europe’s longest man-made ice tunnel. It is burrowed 550 metres deep into the Langjökull glacier and ends in an eerily lit cave that doubles as a chapel for weddings and bar mitzvahs. It opened to visitors for the first time this summer. Credit to editor Kerstin Zumstein for digging out the story and to regular Ink photographer Tim White for the photography.

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This is incidentally the last issue of Germanwings in its current form, as Germanwings the airline merges with Eurowings; going forward the new magazine will just be called GermanEuro Wings. (Posted by AndrewH)

B title goes A-list

Say goodbye to b there and b spirit, the European and long-haul versions, respectively, of Brussels Airlines’ inflight magazine. From July these have been replaced with a single, new magazine, b inspired.

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The addition of five story-teaser tabs at the top gives a newsstand feel, a bit Guardian-ish, but more importantly presents passengers with multiple content hits poking up out of the seat pocket. We decided to go with a quirky cover concept that would reflect the vision and branding of the airline itself, and it was agreed that we would offer two covers each month, one for the European network and one for the long-haul routes, using two images from the same story.

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Inside, the idea was to give the new magazine a stronger Belgian identity, so we created a new front section called Belgitude, which is a bunch of newsy shorts on a Belgian theme, plus a column from Antwerp and a profile of a Belgian personality (no, it’s not Jean-Claude Van Damme). Previously the front section of the magazine was rigidly sectioned with pages devoted to hotels, food, ecology etc – we’ve got rid of all this and replaced it with something far looser, a more free-form diary section that is picture led and totally flexible in format, and which we’ve called Perspective.

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Also in perspective is a four-page city guide. The rest of the city guides, which used to jam up the magazine, have migrated online, where readers can find guides to the entire network – which is a good way of driving traffic between the printed magazine and the website. Our regular business writer, Boyd Farrow, has been promoted to a spot mid-book, where he files his dispatches from the global frontline: for our relaunch issue he wonders why we can do anything with technology except make other technology work:

Yet there is one big difference between [Jack] Bauer’s world and ours: spies are never scuppered by their technology. Indeed, whatever their assigned task – producing the “schematics” of any building in the world, say, or disabling any security camera – they can do it instantly in just three keystrokes. They can unclog the photocopier in four.

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For the cover story, author of the bestselling Where Chefs Eat Joe Warwick interviewed Albert Adria of elBulli fame, who has almost single-handedly transformed the once-shabby neighbourhood of El Poble Sec in Barcelona into a serious foodie destination with five of his inimitable restaurants. Deputy editor Maresa Manara visited a vineyard in Tuscany where a group of women are creating some excellent wines in a very macho industry and Graeme Virtue joined some wannabe Jedi warriors in training at a lightsaber school in Belgium.

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Design-wise, art director Marten Sealby wanted to simply things with a cleaner look – so more white space and wider columns, with fewer fonts and less showy headlines. This allows the photography to really shine and we are committed to shooting as many of the features as we can afford.

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The first issue dropped on to our desks today and we are pretty pleased with the result; after a lot of brainstorming, wrangling, hard graft, blood, sweat and tears, we are confident this new magazine will be a hit with Brussels Airlines passengers. (Posted by JaneWright)