IslandSide at 30

This month marks the 30th anniversary of the first issue of IslandSide, the venerable magazine founded by Jim Brown in 1989.

Here’s the Editor’s Note from that issue:

This is the first issue of IslandSide Magazine and I hope that, no matter where your interests lie; in politics, sports, the arts, history, fashion; you’ll find something here worth reading.

This month’s cover story is an interview I had with Joe Ghiz in December. I wanted to interview the premier to get his response to the post-election conventional wisdom that’s been swirling around the Island that, a) he is largely responsible for the Liberal sweep of seats, and b) he is gearing up for a provincial election so that, with another victory under his belt, he can turn his sights on Ottawa.

Not unexpectedly, the premier wasn’t giving anything away during our talk, but I think you’ll find his answers interesting and, although Mr. Ghiz didn’t come out and say so, I’d say a spring provincial election looks like a pretty good bet. I say that for two reasons, his vagueness when asked about calling a by-election to replace Prowse Chappell, and his apparent decision to retain the agriculture portfolio.

Barbara MacAndrew‘s story on land speculation was written before Community and Cultural Affairs Minister Gilbert Clements announced his freeze on land development pending the findings of the Royal Commission on Land Use. While his announcement addresses, at least temporarily, some of the concerns raised by Ms MacAndrew, her story provides a detailed illustration of the facts that led to the minister’s unprecedented move.

This first issue introduces readers to IslandSide’s three regular columnists. Two of them, Deirdre Kessler and Jack McAndrew, are well known to most Islanders. The third, Campbell Morrison, will be writing every month on the actions of our Island MP‘s and senators from his vantage point in the press gallery on Parliament Hill. Mr Morrison operates a news service for Maritime daily and weekly newspapers called NewsEast.

One regular feature of IslandSide that doesn’t appear in this issue. because it is the first, is the letters to the editor section. We welcome all letters and look forward to some lively debate.

I’d like to close this first Editor’s note by thanking all of the writers, photographers, artists and advertisers who took a chance, sight unseen, on IslandSide Magazine. I’d. also like to thank Jim MacNeill of the Eastern Graphic for his guidance and assistance.

IslandSide ceased publication about 6 months before I landed on Prince Edward Island and thus has long served as a helpful introduction to the cast of characters that have populated my quarter century here (I will never forget the time that—by that time Lieutenant Governor—Hon. Gilbert Clements called me looking for technical support for his Internet connection; what strange planet had I landed on).

The highlight of Issue 1 for me was Jack MacAndrew’s back page column on George Proud’s defeat of Tom McMillan, Bouquets for Ordinary George, which ended like this:

Ordinary George won one for the ordinary people. The little man you’d never notice in a crowd, stepped out of the pack and let his ordinariness win it for him. He was simply himself, without pretence, and that turned his ordinariness from a putdown to a positive. That’s the fact of the matter, whatever they may think in the drawing rooms of Brighton.

Something else. Ordinary George will do just tine at those cocktail parties on embassy row. Decency, straightforwardness, and personal humility are attractive attributes in any language. I can hear him now, telling the regulars at Tim Horton’s all about those splendid affairs.

How I wish we had someone with Jack’s insight and skill with words to interpret the times we’re living through now.

Jim Brown, of course, went on to become a national broadcasting treasure, most recently at The 180; a tip of the hat to him on this anniversary.

Thanks to my friend G. for leaving a copy of Volume 1, Number 1 on my doorstep this afternoon.