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MediaSeptember 24, 2015

What’s a Magazine For? Simon Wilson on His Final Issue of Metro

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Simon Wilson writes about the October issue of Metro magazine – his last as editor.

What’s a magazine for? All the things that any other media are for, of course, but also, to give readers something they can hold in their hands and love.

It’s an artefact: a thing you craft with all the skill and money and time you have available, so its value to readers is not just in the quality of the information, the writing and the pictures, but in the very process of turning the pages, sitting with it in their laps or propped on the table, feeling and smelling the paper, going from back to front or front to back or randomly, as you do, soaking it all up. Taking pleasure from the contents as you take pleasure from the thing itself.

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My last issue as editor of Metro went on sale in Auckland today. It’s a special illustrated issue, with 23 original illustrations: that’s no stock images at all, and 21 of the 23 commissioned specially for this issue.

We were going to do this anyway, but it felt to me like a specially good way of signalling what I love about magazines. In time, you’ll be able to read many of the stories online, and see many of those illustrations too. But will never deliver you the whole package, as a package. Wait for it online and you will miss out.

This artefact has great stories by Naomi Arnold, Aimie Cronin, Greg Bruce and more – a new wave of writers making their mark in the magazine. Great reviews too, by a refreshed lineup of Anthony Byrt, Kate Duignan, David Larsen, Catherine McGregor, Gary Steel, Noelle McCarthy and more. And great columns by David Slack, Janet McAllister, Matthew Hooton, Leilani Momoisea and others. Yes, there are photos, by the wonderful Jane Ussher, Simon Young, Vicki Leopold and more. But stitching all of that together, making you stop and look, and look again, and love (at least, that’s what it does for me) is art of Henrietta Harris, Max Thompson, Anna Crichton, Toby Morris, Anna Johnstone, Nadeesha Godamunne, Daron Parton, Rebecca ter Borg and so very many more.

Oh, and we’ve got burgers, with big photos. Because, you know, food porn. We got 10 chefs to cook their best, and already people who’ve read it have been telling me it makes them go straight out and buy one. The power of a magazine, right there.

Simon Wilson


The October issue of Metro is out today. If you’ve loved Metro these past few years, buy it to remember what a brilliant publication it has been. And if you never have read the magazine itself, buy it now and realise what an experience you’ve been missing out on all this time.

Keep going!