Ampersand reminds me why magazines will always have a place on my increasingly packed shelf. It is a magazine that commands you to take time and savour it. A typeset order to turn each page, read the words slowly, admire the illustrations, pause at the photography, and miss your next tube stop as a result.
Started in 2009 by Alice Gage, Ampersand was born from her desire to lift the bar of Australian magazine publishing. As she explains in this interview, “I didn’t think Australians were taking enough risks in magazines, it seemed everyone was just towing the line. It had gotten so bad that readers had forgotten what a good magazine could be. I also wanted to do something useful with my brain before it turned to gazpacho and I carked it.” Thankfully for us, the art publishing powerhouse Art&Australia magazine have picked up Ampersand and will help Gage publish another edition in 2011.
Issue four, the first Ampersand to make it into the world as an official quarterly magazine put together in three months, explores themes of remoteness. It dwells upon the outskirts of Australia, the highways, silences and borderlands of urban sprawl and life at the edge of the world. The writing is sharp and funny and the design is wonderfully clean.
It’s the kind of magazine that inspires people to create timelapse videos and twelve-letter acronyms about. ‘Nuff said really.