A Little Addendum... And Some Big News

I know I'm meant to be semi-retired from The Library. And I am. However, I felt it would be courteous to say 'thank you' to all those wonderful commenters who have been kind enough to leave a note, either via email or the Comments Box. Thank you. Thank you. You are truly lovely people. I have tried to respond to everyone's gracious and thoughtful comments, and will certainly finish replying by tonight.

I'd also like to explain why the blog is having a hiatus. You see, a few of us are working on a little project. Actually, it's quite a big one. An international one.

It all started with XX magazine, that dubious bit of tabloid entertainment that we all love to loathe.

A few months ago, I was browsing through either Vogue or Elle Decoration in the newsagent's when a woman came in, picked up XX, flicked angrily through it and then paused, in shock, at page three. "Oh. My. God.," she said out loud, looking at a certain celebrity in hot pants. "She is JUST HUGE!" Then she tossed the magazine down (creases and all), and walked away. I peeked at the creased page. (Terrible, I know.) The 'huge' celebrity was a singer. Who is NOT huge. In fact, she is incredibly beautiful. I looked at The Critic flouncing out the store, and noticed she was wearing gym clothes. Her own butt was as far from Zahia Dehar's pert behind as the Pope is from Kim and Khloe Take Miami.

Talk about kettle and pot.

Welcome to the new world of 'Bottom-Dweller Media', as a witty friend of mine has dubbed it. A world where we are all being encouraged to read shallow tabloids and be nasty about others' derrieres. 

I don't know about you all but I can't take another snarky Twitter remark, or indeed another tabloid spread. Our family is a broadsheet family anyway, but I'll pick up a gossip page at the check-out, like everyone else. The problem is, we are dumbing down our society with all this 'lowest common denominator' media. Please God, don't let me suffer another Kardashian chapter. And what's with that new TV channel '7 Mate'? I had to sit through Gator Boys, Rat Bastards and Swamp People the other night. I swear, I needed serious therapy by the time we got to the Wormwood Scrubs doco...

Here's something else I've noticed. What's with all the page spreads promoting sofas and cushions*? We're all intelligent people, with first-class degrees, successful careers and smart minds. Why are we browsing cushion-filled product pages and buying them by the baker's dozen? I love cushions but we have 30. THIRTY. I think I've lost the dogs underneath them. Are we all breeding them?

{* For the benefit of our American friends, cushions in Australia are the decorating item that sit on sofas. Pillows are the longer things we sleep on. I realise it's different in the US.}

Why is it that media and magazines have softened over the years? I'm not sure if you remember the grand glamour of Vogue and Harper's in the 1990s, and even before then, with the vintage issues of the 1950s and 1960s? (Which many of us are now collecting from vintage dealers for huge prices.) Magazines back then were things of beauty. The covers. The content. The creative mastheads. They were also interesting. Even the dull stories were clever. Truman Capote. Cecil Beaton. Nancy Mitford and her sisters. 

Whatever happened to personalities like those?

The new anniversary issue of Australian Harper's Bazaar with the different celebrity-conceived covers is inspired publishing. But wouldn't it be great if the innovative spirit continued all the way through the industry? What has happened to us? Where is our sense of style, and adventure, and creativity? Where are the great stories? The wit and whimsy? Where are the insightful, delightful, aspirational, glamorous, relevant and – most importantly – celebratory stories, with a positive, Jonathan Adler-style philosophy on life, rather than a critical, derogatory one. What has happened to us all? Why are we settling for cushions?

Whatever would Diana Vreeland say?

And so, dear readers, we are working on a new project. A new online international magazine for women of The Glamorous Age. As we've now dubbed it. 

A friend has described it as "a sexier, wittier, more glamorous version of The Huffington Post", but I think it's more like Harper's or Vogue in the heydays of those titles. The days when magazines were magnificent. 

(NB These titles are still beautiful, don't get me wrong; but just look at these covers I've posted. Aren't they incredible?)

I can't tell you more about it yet (forgive me), but it will be full of things you love: books, fashion, gardens, people, a bit of travel, interiors, cities, shopping secrets, and just those old-fashioned glamorous things we all miss. It's going to have lots of humour. and whimsy too. I'm not working on a dry magazine. 

The good news is, we're rapidly gathering together the MOST amazing group of magazine people, many of them big overseas names. And the content is going to be like nothing you've ever read. Trust me. These stories are amazing. Insights into extraordinary historic homes in LA. Stylish new hotels in New York. One of the original Great Gatsby mansions on Long Island. Interviews with people we love and admire. Exotic destinations off the beaten track – the kinds of far-flung, glamourous destinations that make us remember why we love travel much. And of course gardens... Secret gardens. Grand gardens. The original Versailles-style garden of France. We hope you'll really love the gardens. They're so beautiful they'll make you weep.

So please do bear with me. And when we manage to get the first issue our – hopefully by summer – we hope you'll put down those cushions and come celebrate with us. As the Edwardians used to say: "It's going to be a grand summer..."

Love this last cover. No wonder these vintage issues now sell for a small fortune...

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