First-year CASS students Nick and Ned were in Centennial Park in Sydney when they hatched their grand plan.
The Canberra-bred best friends were talking about one of Ned Walsh’s favourite books The Savage Detectives. Set primarily in Mexico City in the 1970s, Roberto Bolaño's novel painted an atmosphere of lots of arty people talking poetry, reading and producing their own magazines.
“Ned was like, ‘That would be cool to produce a magazine’,” Nick Crowley recalls. “But it sort of seems like this nebulous, far away thing for someone else.”
Then, they thought: “Actually, there’s not really any reason why we couldn’t do that.”
And so the idea for Yolk Magazine
was born, somewhere between Centennial Park and their walk to Bronte Beach.
The literary magazine will showcase poetry, short stories, articles and essays and visual art by Canberrans. Three months on, Nick and Ned have received solicited pieces from such Canberra notables as Labor MP the Hon Dr Andrew Leigh and former ABC Radio presenter Alex Sloan.
Dr Leigh’s contribution is a poem about Canberra light rail, while Alex’s essay will be on the progression of Canberra over the generations.
“We’ve got a section called ‘Poem from a Polly’,” says Nick. “For every issue we’re going to hit up a politician to write us a poem.”
Yolk Magazine is a natural progression from their shared passion for books and reading.
“Dad just loves books and he was always feeding me books growing up, so I just really got into it,” says Ned.
Nick adds, “A common catchphrase of Ned's, he'll be sort of meditating, sitting back, and he'll just look up and be like, 'I just love books'.”
Nick’s love of reading developed, by comparison, only recently. He enjoyed at English in school, but it wasn’t until his gap year in 2017 that things clicked into place.
“I was just reading for pleasure and I was like, 'Wow, this is actually really cool'.”
Their affinity for the written word extends to writing music together under the name Nick&Ned
. Both play guitar, Ned sings and does the bass and drums. They recorded their EP in Ned’s bedroom, which doubles as a mini studio.
While they’ve started writing some new songs, Nick suspects they might get too busy running Yolk – on top of studying and working paid jobs – to produce another EP anytime soon.
“In a fantasy world the ambition would be to make the magazine go big,” Ned says.
“For me at the moment though, it’s seeing the writing talent out there in Canberra and seeing what people come out of the cracks.”
Nick and Ned are taking submissions for Yolk Magazine
. Proceeds from the magazine will be donated to Hartley LifeCare.