Aussie squares

by Steve Watson in January 2011
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Back in November I got excited about Wooden Toy Quarterly, the Australian magazine that recently emigrated to Britain. And now that I’ve finished the brilliant Trunk Junk Quarterly it’s time for a few comparisons.

// They’re both Australian.

// They’re both quarterly. At least Trunk Junk seems to be – Wooden Toy is proud to be the world’s only quarterly magazine that comes out once a year.

// They both come packaged in their own box, complete with extra bits. The current issue of Wooden Toy has a screen print, a zine and a certificate for readers, while Trunk Junk goes for a fold-out poster and some stickers.

// They’re both square – almost. Trunk Junk is actually slightly rectangular, but both magazines use their unusual format to create vertical as well as horizontal spreads that mix up the reading experience.

// They’re both labours of love. You can guess as much from the production values, but start reading and there’s no escaping the fact that these are magazines made by people in love with print. They’re written largely in the first-person, and are full of the sort of quirks and tweaks that only come from excited eccentrics.

// They’re both hugely exciting and brilliantly absorbing. Trunk Junk focuses on surf, skate and snow, while Wooden Toy takes a different theme each issue, the latest being music, but both draw the reader in with their enthusiasm and quality. There’s something so  authentic and urgent about them that you can’t help but be carried along with their off-beat magazine making.

Wooden Toy has been around for a few years now, whereas Trunk Junk launched just a few months ago so it’s fair to assume that Brandon and Jonathan at Trunk Junk may have taken some inspiration from the old-timer. But if that is the case they should be commended for coming up with something that still feels so fresh and thoroughly independent.

The second issue of Trunk Junk is out now, as is the music issue of Wooden Toy, and it’s well worth hunting them both down. At 20AUD and 28AUD respectively, plus postage and packaging from Australia, they’re certainly not cheap. But they are genuinely beautiful objects that you’ll want to keep forever and show off to anyone who comes within six foot of your bookshelves. The only question is whether to actually pin up that screen print and stick the stickers on stuff. So far I’m one sticker down, and thinking very seriously about getting the drawing pins out…

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