Brand power – flick off the switch on the way out, would you…

Well, well, well – here we are at a momentous time in our publishing history. Well, I am, anyway. I’m sure you’re somewhere else entirely, and rightly so if you know what’s good for you.

It seems that the ducks haven’t been in a row for quite some time, my friends – according to my other friend the elephant in the room. And my, what an elephant it’s been – the kind of elephant that everyone in the entire universe and beyond has been aware of for months, but only the people who are crushed against the mantelpiece behind it aren’t allowed to talk about.

No matter – ‘twas fun while it lasted. Mostly. And what talent I worked with! No, not you, Curtis Stone, nor you Gary and George and Matt and Matt (well, maybe the Preston one).

No – I’m talking about our art directors Natasha Allen and Vanessa Samuels – superstar creatives with unswerving patience and uncommon valour in trying circumstances (see above) – along with similarly endowed art editors Elizabeth Lough and Melanie Yun; food geniuses Sophia Young (enough said), Olivia Andrews, Dominic Smith, Jessica Brook, Sarah Hobbs – dream teams in every configuration; and a sub-editing line-up that not only blinded boys with their winsome ways, but who were all smart as whips and far, far better at subbing recipes than me – that would be Selma Nadarajah, Yasmin Newman, Zoe Lyon, Phoebe Macrossan, Samantha Jones and Rachel Hanson.

Good times.

Better food.

And plenty more besides. Splendid contributors and REAL food people, Leanne Kitchen and Marion Grasby, whose power with the written word and prowess with the pans have never ceased to delight, educate and cause an embarrassment of Homer Simpson-like drooling. And always filed on before deadline – bless your cotton socks. Wine wit and muso Greg Duncan Powell – a constant since Vogue Entertaining + Travel days; stylist extraordinaire Kristine Duran-Thiessen, whose ingenuity with a napkin and drizzling spoon are non pareil; and of course, Matt Preston, international man of mystery – but only when he’s waaaay over deadline with his copy. Apparently he’s scored a cameo on Lowdown which presumably doesn’t entail him judging a beautiful dish. Not the only one teetering at the brink of a new career, then.

So, that sodding row of ducks. This delightfully obtuse phrase was brought to my attention yesterday at an extremely long and rowdy lunch at the new Movida (oh, how I shall miss scattering those little insider foodie bon mots among the news-hungry) with the MasterChef Mag mob, by my partner-in-cynicism and formidable boss-woman, Trudi Jenkins, to whom I’m eternally grateful, among so many things, for keeping me company and being my immoral compass in this crazy little game we call magazines.

Or should I say, content platforms. Typical – just as I start getting to use this gibberish without being locked up in a padded cell, I have to rethink my career. I’m already boning up (ha!) on my doggy-day-care jargon. I’ll get back to you on that. According to Trudi, I’m two years behind with my corporate-speak anyway, so it may take a while.

Yeah, those ducks were all over the place, apparently. I blame myself (and I’m sure plenty of others would too, if they gave a fuck) – I thought it was a food magazine we were publishing. I had no idea it was about sports shooting, although it felt like it sometimes – usually at management meetings. Vale MasterChef Magazine – I’m going to miss you, but not as much as I’m going to miss the people… or the perks.

Ah, the perks. MasterChef aprons, MasterChef knives, MasterChef mixing bowls, MasterChef contestants, Curtis Stone measuring cups. Gluten-free flour, enough quinoa to feed a small South American nation (well, it’s them or us), obscure chutneys from Byron Bay and, worse, coffee from Byron Bay. Come on people – be honest now – there is no such thing as a decent Australian home-grown coffee bean. Our combined body weight in chocolate every Easter. Ditto mince pies every Christmas. Can’t say fairer than that.

So here we are then. The November issue will be our last – out on the 22nd of this month. The month doesn’t really have the suave cachet of a September issue, or the splendid, yet poignant, finality of a December issue, does it… But never mind. Go forth and buy it in droves, people – it would be good to give the finger to the bean counters by stuffing up their sales forecasts. Hell, it may even become a collector’s item.

But probably not.