Monday, 19 April 2010

Tue 20th April: The Gentlewoman: Penny Martin

Reading Penny Martin's editor's letter in the first issue of "The Gentle Woman" I can almost hear her voice reeling off the words as its written in replica of her patter.  I can also hear the tapping of her laptop keys through memory of listening to her live interviews previously broadcast on SHOWstudio.  So it was a pleasure to be able to tune in to her latest offering in person, at her inaugural lecture at LCF where she is Professor of Fashion Imagery.  
The  opening topic of "Off The Page - Fashion Imagery's New Futures" was a breakdown of a recent media stunt at a Milan Fashion Week show.  One of the major players positioned celebrity bloggers pride of place front row, between the recognised royalty.  We learnt that the pretence of the stunt was merely a smokescreen for the brand to prove acknowledgment of new media but without the actual promised follow through.  As it turned out none of the pioneering peers uploaded reports until the following day.  Penny divulged the statistics of the outwaying volume of viewers to these named blogs versus unit sales of the key international Vogues.............which brought her onto the question "Print vs. Webpage".
As a blogger myself, I started to feel self conscious of persecution as part of the parasitic plague gathering prominence.  However, the audience were soon assured with credible authority that the two can co-exist.  With an associated analogy, Penny likened the partnership to the arts of Painting vs. Photography............there is no contest as both are valid and have stood the test of time together.  With equal appreciation, both editorial formats carry content in parallel proximity but will not necessarily cross paths to collision.  Periodicals will just have to switch course to become chronicles of quiet, considered and edited appraisals that will transcend day to day trivia available online.    Indepth interviews and interrogations will rival the influx of forgettable featherweight flotsam on blogs.  Not only can Penny prove this with a precise PowerPoint presentation but also with a primary resource of her own publication "The Gentlewoman".  (If you haven't yet picked up a copy, get one pronto..............if you can find one as rumour is rife that it has sold out.)
I am an obsessive magazine collector and otaku geekoid on the subject.  It is a crazed addiction I can liken to any sick irrational reliance.  I find myself anxiously darting in newsagent doorways to scan shelves to discover new issue arrivals.  I take great delight in arranging each title to my current compilation as they home into view.  So it has been disheartening of recent times that these bound resources have been out of date and unreadable by the time they have been dissected on my coffee table.  Evidently it is only a temporary glitch before publishers review and redefine the role of the hardcopy.  
I would hate to be part of the opposition and responsible for the extinction of my initial passion for print.  But now, after Penny's justification I can relax and enjoy contributing to the plethora of replenishing personal viewpoint platforms online.  Paper pages will maintain their place without sufferance.......albeit in a morphed guise..........which is no bad thing as each title will become more characteristically independent and identifiable.  For this is where The Gentlewoman is a perfect case in point............. 

(Thanks for this portrait entitled "Penny and the Duke" which is a little insight into "The Gentlewoman" that is Penny Martin.  I specifically requested a phone-pic from her for this post as a tribute to her early days revolutionising catwalk reportage at SHOWstudio.  It was their astute embrace of technology that had immediate imagery direct from the runways via mobile snapshots LONG before the rest of the industry where it is now common place.........lets not forget!) 

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