Page 23: The Neat Review #1

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Our latest page 23 features the largest 23 we’ve yet shared, filling an entire page of new launch The Neat Review. You’d almost think the publishers deliberately did this to attract our attention.

The reality is a little more mundane; the new magazine claims to be about painting, theatre, TV, philosophy and more, but actually its’ subject is magic. Or as editor-in-chief Alexander Hansford puts it in his introduction, the eight people behind the magazine are all linked by their interest in magic. So does the large numeral have any magical references or qualities? Nope!

‘I feel that text heavy magazines can quickly become a bit of a blur, so it was important to include little whimsical elements in The Neat Review,’ explains Hansford, ‘Most of those elements are based on what made Kez and I laugh in the moment while making the magazine – the illustrations, the annotations, and indeed the massive numbers at the beginnings of the articles. Then what started out as something funny actually started to look pretty cool!’

The first issue is a promising start; the 194-page format and gtextured, monochrome cover give it a satisfying tone, which continues with the strong typography inside. It is the coolest piece of magic publishing I’ve seen, even if the magic is largely limited to card tricks. The star attraction is a long interview with star magician/performer Derren Brown, while other features address more general topics such as inspiration.

One odd oversight is a lack of women; if ever a particular world needed to offer a tilt in gender balance it must be this one. ‘Magic has always relegated women to the “beautiful assistant” role, or painted female magic figures in a pejorative light (witches, temptresses, etc),’ says Hansford, ‘There’s lots to be said about this topic and we’re working on addressing it in later issues.’

ultraneat.org


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