Glossy Talk: Maggie Alderson to pen final Style Notes for Good Weekend

Glossy Talk: Maggie Alderson to pen final 'Style Notes' for Good Weekend

Those of you who follow my tweets may have been privy to the imminent demise of Maggie Alderson's Style Notes column for Good Weekend magazine last Friday; those more inclined to follow Caroline Overington's Media Diary web page (no offense taken; she's great, a newshound, and I should have blogged it!) would have picked up on it today.

Alas, Fairfax's Good Weekend is undergoing a redesign – in line with the recent spate of makeovers in the glossy newspaper supplement genre – and Alderson's popular Style Notes column, now 12 years running, will not be a part of the new editorial offering.

"They’re changing the magazine around and getting rid of all the columnists except for Mark [Dapin]. I’m quite devastated," Alderson told me, clearly dismayed (and a little miffed) by the news last Friday morning. "I get so many letters and emails from people saying how much they like it and can really relate to something I said, and I’m going to lose that."

One of Australia's most prestigious and respected magazines, Good Weekend – which celebrated 25 years in print last year  and is inserted into The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age each Saturday – is known for its insightful personality profiles, award-winning long-form feature stories and, of course, columnists.

"What you go to newspapers for is comment, expertise and opinion and humour in the columns," says Alderson. "Maybe they’ve got a raft of fabulous new columnists who are going to be brilliant. And maybe they need a fresh voice. My ego is obviously a little bit hurt, but it’s my relationship with the readers – some who have grown up with me, who started reading [Style Notes] when they were teenagers and now have children, and I’ve kept in touch with them; and new young ones – little 16-year-olds keep popping up. Anyway, it’s over." 

Good Weekend currently ranks second in the magazine supplement sector, behind News Limited's Sunday, in readership (1.635 million is not to be sneezed at) making it fertile ground for journalists and writers of a certain calibre (like the brilliant Jane Cadzow). And for Alderson, it's been a fruitful partnership: she's compiled three non-fiction books (Shoe Money, Handbag Heaven and Gravity Sucks) based on her sartorial musings.

After completing her current book tour in Australia, Alderson will be returning home to Hastings, England, to blog here, where she pens book reviews and writes of her daughter's reluctance to embrace book reading.

"I love to read, and if I write about each book that I read then I will be reading it actively, thinking what I'm going to write, rather than reading it passively," she says. "My plans at this moment are to do another [blog] that will be similar to the column and I will probably archive the old columns on there so my readers can find them. I might try and archive them by subject, to make them a little resource for people."

So there you go... better late than never.

'Tis a shame to see Style Notes go – particularly as it's the very column that this writer has lovingly archived since her days as a uni student – but we can at least continue to get our Maggie Alderson fix through Twitter and her blog.

See also: InStyle with Maggie Alderson, and stay tuned for a review of Alderson's new book, Shall We Dance?

Yours truly,
Girl With a Satchel


A Melbourne Girl said...

Bummer! I love Maggie's column.
It's the most popular column in the mag and they're dumping it. So darn typical.

kj said...

My whole Saturday paper routine will be thrown into turmoil. It has ALWAYS been
1. Read Maggie
2. Read The Two Of Us
3. Read the rest.


bookgrrl said...

That is truly sad. I've always loved Maggie's columns- they are a part of my Saturday ritual.

Anonymous said...

I love Maggie's work. I always read her column first and then the depressing news. I really hope she continues her column on her blog.

Top Bird @ Wee Birdy said...

Bloody hell, not the marvellous Maggie Alderson - one of the few good things in Australia's weekend papers.

I'm aghast by the prospect of a gaping Maggie-shaped hole in future editions of Good Weekend, but look forward to seeing what Maggie does next online. Good Weekend's loss, our gain. Look out world!

Amy said...

Very sad. I was 23 when the column began, at the beginning of my own newspaper and magazine-reading life proper, and I came to see it as a gentle, personality-infused column that you could rely on. Surely this is the kind of intimacy with readers that only comes with time!