Big catch


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)

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.




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.


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.



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)

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.
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)

Norwegian noted


The excellent It’s Nice That design website has a post up about the illustrations David Sparshott produced for N by Norwegian magazine to accompany a story on the return to service of a luxurious private train that once belonged to Yugoslavia’s Marshall Tito. Conceived by art director Rickard Westin and editor Toby Skinner, the commission involved illustrating over the top of photographs of the train interiors. (Posted by AndrewH)