Smith volume two review, by Frank

Saturday March 17, 2012 Written by smith

Where did you pick up Smith Journal? I bought it from a newsagent in Ballarat.

What did you like about volume two? I really liked the breadth of content. I liked the story about the families working together, the fathers and sons, because it didn't just tell me about their work philosophy but their relationships, which is why I thought the first story about the bakers was the best. I'll tell you the other article I really liked: 'Little in Japan', I thought that was just a beautiful story. I also liked the guy with the car, we had a car like that. It was a really cute car, but it was just crap. The seats were so uncomfortable.

Was there any story that particularly resonated with you? I thought the guy who started the problem-solving company was so clever. It was brilliant, because he was making use of a resource that’s so undervalued; namely, people’s obsession about one particular thing. What you’ve got to do is marry the expert to the problem, but connecting them is hard to do. It’s just brilliant to think about how he’s using the internet to do this now.

Did you learn anything new? I did read about the edible plants so I learnt about that; and the thing about the jumpers, how much it costs to make a jumper. I also didn't realise Mark Twain had done so much, that he was a newspaper reporter and he'd been brought up on the river.

Any stories in there you'll be talking about over dinner? I've already spoken to people about the cabin in the woods. It's gorgeous. The whole concept of having something that’s not what it appears was interesting on a philosophical level as well as a building level. At one level it’s a shed that looks like no one loves it, but open it up and it’s this really beautiful place that everyone connects with.

Was there anything in there that rubbed you the wrong way? Well, for "old" people - the writing’s very small. It’s hard to read. I had to read with my glasses on. It’s a pain in the bum.

What did you think about the pig on the cover? I don’t think it would have led me to buy the magazine if I didn’t know about it already. There was nothing that really attracted me to the image and it didn’t tell me anything about what I’d get inside, but that’s just my opinion.

What else would you like to see in Smith? I’d like to see an article about the tractor pull. It happens in rural Australia, there’s one in Gippsland in Victoria, but it’s not peculiar to Gippsland. What they do is, they get really old tractors – some diesel some even steam – and they test the strength of them by pulling weights, or pulling objects. They’re generally old American brands: Chamberlain, Massey Ferguson or Italian tractors like Fiat. They’re the tractors that were used to establish the Australian pastoral lines. I'd also like to see more Australian stories.

Anything else you’d like to say? I think it’s great to have a men’s magazine that you can buy from a newsagent and when they say: “Do you want it in a paper bag?” you’re proud to say “No”.