With the demise of The Bulletin, a gap opened up in the magazine market — something for dyspeptic businessmen to read in the Qantas Club. Step forward the UK Spectator, which has launched an Australian supplement. Fronted by failed columnist Oscar ‘son of Barry’ Humphries, and featuring Christian Kerr and former Brendan Nelson media rep Thomas Switzer, there appears to be no start to the talent.

Of course, a somewhat snooty UK mag launching downunder has to be make sure it feels at home, that it’s part of the culture and the conversation. Witness the first editorial:

Introducing the new Australian Spectator

In 1828, just 50 years after Arthur Philip’s 11 ships sailed into Port Jackson, an advertisement for a new magazine appeared in the Times, heralding the start of what became London’s finest weekly …

Yes, um, unless Captain Philip made an early visit to check for parking, the First Fleet’s 1788 arrival was FORTY years earlier. And it was Botany Bay he sailed into, subsequently exploring Port Jackson in a longboat. Or is the author referring to James Cook’s 1770 arrival with 10 less than 11 ships, 58 years earlier?

Who knows? Who cares? Let’s get to the articles on Louis Vuitton.

Nevermind. It’s only two errors in the first sentence of the first issue.

Look forward instead to the half dozen articles on the decline of history teaching that are in the works?

Peter Fray

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