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)

I never read. I just look at pictures…

…is something the Picture Desk team and Andy Warhol (sort of) have in common.

As picture editors, we of course have to, and might I add – enjoy to, read the stories that land on our desks. But our thing, just like Warhol, is pictures. And since I’m no wordsmith, I’ll keep this short!

We’re fortunate to work with some fantastic photographers and want to show them off. So here’s a sneak preview of some of next month’s commissions from the London office…

Ben Quinton went to Florence’s Botanical Gardens for Ronda.

Josh Shinner photographed Petitie Meller, Spector, Andreya Triana, Twin Atlantic, Kwabs and Gaz Coombes for easyJet Traveller’s Sounds of Summer feature.

Greg Funnell made the most of the extra hour of daylight in Mexico for Thomas Cook Travel.

And finally, our resident photographer Tim E. White braved the bright lights of Las Vegas and LA for n by Norwegian’s neon cover story.

(Posted by Julia Holmes)

There, there, my deer

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The cover of this month’s n by Norwegian had my wife in fits of giggles. But the behind-the-scenes shots are pretty funny too.

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Above, art director Rickard Westin and model.

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Photographer Liz McBurney.

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Below, the alternative cover that might have been.

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(Posted by AndrewH)

Gran rules

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The cover story for September’s N by Norwegian is that old chestnut, modern Spanish cuisine, elBulli and all that. Except it’s not. In a novel twist, Alicante-based writer Trevor Baker (author of the official book of I’m A Celebrity. . .Get Me Out Of Here!) bypasses the chefs and their restaurants in favour of meeting the people who literally gave birth to the phenomenon, the mothers and grandmothers. Photographer Rafa Galan did a series of portraits of the actual ladies interviewed for the interior pages, but the cover was shot in a studio in London by Ink-regular Liz McBurney, art directed by Rickard Westin. The model, Gilly Daniels of Source Models, was obviously totally game – Metropolitan got four covers out of its recent shoot (see previous post) but Norwegian could have had twice as many, as you can see below. A tip of the hat to the client too, Norwegian, for having the courage to put an elderly (and belligerent) woman on its cover.  (Posted by AndrewH)

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You want me to do what with that fish?

If there is a society for cruelty to models then Ink may now feature on its warning list. The reason? The cover shoot for the latest issue of N by Norwegian, which involved art director Rickard Westin rolling half of a herring into a condom and having a model take it into her mouth. Kudos to the airline for going along with the idea, although they did reject a full frontal image because they thought it was a bit kinky.

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Model: Nicky Connolly from MOT Models. Photographer: Liz McBurney

In Ink’s defence, the model’s discomfort was a lot less than editor Toby Skinner’s, who wrote the story on surströmming (fermented Baltic herring), which is reckoned to be, as the cover suggests, the world’s smelliest food. Look it up on YouTube and three videos on the first page contain ‘vomit alerts’. In one of them, a retching Daily Telegraph journalist describes the smell as being like ‘rotting dog faeces’. So, of course, Toby had to spread some on a sandwich and eat it – but only after rising at 2.30am to go fishing off the coast of Sweden and following the catch to the gutting tables, where interviews were conducted over bins of bloodied heads. The resulting story, previewed below, is in the forthcoming August issue of the magazine. Sadly it was too expensive to do a scratch-and-sniff. (Posted by AndrewH)

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Second only to slimming

Last Thursday, 10 July, Rickard Westin, art director of N by Norwegian, and myself, the magazine’s editor, went to the PPA Awards at the Grosvenor House Hotel and just about succeeded in not disgracing ourselves. The PPA for those who don;t know is the Professional Publishers Assocation and it is the UK’s grand publishing body.

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It was a really fun night, if slightly more formal than the BSME Awards. Claudia Winkelman was a lively if slightly too polished presenter; there was a warm, funny video piece about the eccentric late publisher Felix Dennis; and a nice speech from Michael Heseltine, who was very amusing on Felix Dennis. Otherwise, think distinguished gentlemen in tuxedos and 45-quid bottles of house wine – though horrifyingly, no goodie bags.

A nice touch was that winners were serenaded by personalised theme songs – business columnist of the year Sally Donovan, for example, got a bit of ‘So Sally can wait’ from Oasis. Sadly we never got to hear a snatch of Norwegian Wood. However, we were compensated by the honour of being “highly commended” (ie second) in the Customer Magazine of the Year.

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We were beaten, incidentally, by the almighty Slimming World, a juggernaut of real-life weight loss stories (we were too distracted to hear their song). Would you rather read about how to lose three stone in six weeks or about bull’s testicle whips and severed fish heads (all in the August issue of N by Norwegian)? Actually, don’t answer that. (Posted by Toby Skinner)

Best Svalbard issue ever?

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What do you get if you send two journalists, an art director, photographer and sales team to Svalbard for a week? A cover story with 30 pages-plus of editorial and lots of excellent ads – all in the May issue of N by Norwegian. It might seem a little singular to devote 30 pages to one destination, but then Svalbard is a unique and fascinating place and somewhere very few people have ever been (and are ever likely to go). There is a precedent here in magazines like Boat, which devotes each entire issue to one city – and Boat, incidentally, is one of the magazines featured in a story on the new independent travel mag scene that also runs in May’s N by Norwegian.

The 30 pages are not just one story, of course, but a multitude of stories. We are introduced to a cross-section of Svalbard residents including mariners, miners, hostel queens and the go-to guy for polar bears. We visit a Russian mining town that was abandoned in a single day in 1998; Spitsbergen’s northernmost cabin where fresh water comes courtesy of a nearby glacier; and discover a wasteland composed of the bones of 550 Beluga whales. We eat smoked whale and reindeer sausage, travel by dog sled and have a crafty fag in an old bus converted into a smoking room. It’s not just one destination, it’s a whole other world.

The magazine will be onboard all Norwegian flights from 1 May, and you will be able to read everything online at www.norwegian.com/magazine after that date, along with lots more material that didn’t make into the printed issue. Meanwhile here’s a sneak peek. (Posted by AndrewH)

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The magazine at the top of the world

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The May issue of n by Norwegian is a Svalbard special. For this we relocated the whole team (editor, deputy editor, art director, photographer and and sales people) to the main town of Longyearbyen – the world’s northernmost permanent settlement – for a week, armed with a set of ‘n’ logos recreated in MDF (pic above). That’s our temporary office, below.
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It was an intense week of dog-sledding, snowmobiling to bizarre Russian mining towns, “researching” bars (tip: don’t drink the night before a snowmobile trip) and running around the place doing portraits. Photographer Tim White took more than 7,000 photos.
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We were completely blown away by the place, and not just for the reasons we expected. We went expecting it to be beautiful, and to provide lots of “Holy crap, we’re in the Arctic” moments (it did) – but we also expected that Longyearbyen would be a small town with a small town mentality. Actually, it’s a really vibrant place full of smart, interesting people, that really feels like it’s on the up. The university, UNIS, is doing world-leading research into everything from glaciology to climate change, and the vibe is MIT with tents and snowmobiles. Many of the restaurants, surprisingly, are world class, including Huset, with its 25,000 bottles of wine. Mary-Ann’s Polarriggen is one of the quirkiest hotels I’ve ever stayed in, with its wood-fired hot tub and mining bus turned smoking room, and many of the other hotels are top-end. But the main thing is the people – everyone we interviewed was obliging, passionate and smart. It’s not an easy place to live (there’s practically no healthcare, and everyone needs to have a job), so literally only the strongest survive.
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It really is an incredibly special place, on so many levels – we expected to have cabin fever after a week, but we didn’t want to leave. They call it the Arctic Bug – and we caught it. (Posted by Toby Skinner)

 

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)

A winning Kombi-nation

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It may have passed you by – it certainly passed me by – but last December, the last ever Volkswagen Type 2 Kombi vans were made in a Brazilian factory, after 64 years of continuous production had made it the longest-running car model in history.

Type 2s went to Woodstock, took surfers up and down the Californian coast, and appeared on everything from Scooby Doo to Bob Dylan album covers. They represented not just a hippie dream, but a form of freewheeling, countercultural California soul.

Photographer Kwaku Alston has spent the past decade photographing VW Kombi vans around his home in Venice Beach, LA’s original hippie haven, and posting the results on his Volkslivin’ blog. ‘What I love about them is that each one has a story; it’s a little treasure,’ he says. ‘There’s this whole cultural identity around the vans, but most of all they tell a story about the owner; it’s like they are characters themselves, whether they’re rusted-up or pristine.’

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You can see more pics and read more about Alston and his vans in the forthcoming March issue of N by Norwegian, available from all the best outbound Oslo flights every month. (Posted by AndrewH)