Amy Middleton, Archer
This Monday morning we’re at work with Amy Middleton, editor of the Australian magazine of sexual diversity, Archer. We catch up with Amy while she’s promoting her publication throughout the US, and a few weeks before she starts work on issue five.
Where are you today?
I’m on tour, so this isn’t a normal morning for me… today is my tenth day in New York City. I’m staying in Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY and loving it.
What can you see from the window?
A tree-lined street flanked by Brownstones and lots of dogs. It’s a little bit Sesame Street.
Are you a morning or evening person?
Morning! I get my best work done before midday. In the evening my brain starts to switch off, and after about 6pm I only have enough concentration left for food, wine and DVDs.
Which magazine do you first remember?
The first magazine I subscribed to was the newsletter of the RSPCA, the animal welfare organisation in Australia. I was six years old. I wrote a story for them and attached a Polaroid of me and my Australian blue heeler, Pluto, and we were featured in the next edition.
What’s your favourite magazine this morning?
Since being in the US, I’ve come to appreciate the diversity of sex writing in Adult – these guys are doing a similarly unique thing to Archer, their publishing is inclusive and sensitive while addressing real issues around sex. It’s crucial stuff, and they’re doing it well.
What social issue is on your mind this morning?
My partner and I are getting married in Vegas next month because it still isn’t legal for us to marry in Australia. The debate rages on, but our Prime Minister refuses to bring the legislation before his party. It’s incredibly frustrating and disappointing, and on my mind a lot.
Can you tell us about the meaning behind the name Archer?
My great grandmother had an art deco statue of a naked woman with a bow and arrow, which she kept in the basement because it was considered too racy to put on display. Throughout history and mythology, there are stories of matriarchal cultures led by empowered female archers, like the Amazonians. The name seems to mean something different to everyone, but to me it represents masculinity and femininity, strength, art and censorship.
How does Archer differ from other publications that focus on LGBT issues?
Our main point of difference is that we’re inclusive. We discuss matters of sexuality and gender but we’re not a specifically straight or gay or trans publication – we talk about the complexities of sex and sexuality for everyone, by everyone. The interesting thing about people’s attitudes to sex, for me, is how diverse they are. As I always say, sex is weird for everyone, so we should talk about it.
The other key difference is that we spend a lot of time and energy nurturing first-time writers, and we run every edit by the writer and the subjects of the article before it goes to print. This is key to our existence – it’s how we ensure everyone is represented as they wish to be, and it’s how we stay sensitive to people’s identities and experiences. Such a process is unheard-of in publishing, and we try to set an example to other media outlets with this process.
You’ve been traveling through Europe and America this month, speaking with a host of magazine makers and publishers. What have you learned on your travels?
I’ve picked up a lot of interesting different approaches to digital publishing by speaking to online editors and watching how other mastheads have developed. I’ve learned that print publishing is a global scene, which I always suspected. I’ve also learned that shots of Jager really are an integral part of partying in Berlin.
What are you most looking forward to this week?
We’re going to watch baseball tonight at Yankee Stadium, which will be fun. At the end of the week we’re heading south to tour around Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans en route to San Francisco, where I’ll be speaking on a panel on queer writing as part of Folsom St Festival. I’m looking forward to some iconic American roadtrippin’.
What are you least looking forward to this week?
The moment when I realise my accommodation has three flights of stairs and no lift. Magazines are a lot heavier than they appear…
What will you be doing after this chat?
I’m not trying to be a jerk here, but in all honesty, I’m heading out into NYC to an awesome breakfast spot with my wife and her brother. It’s a pretty good life on tour.