It’s true what your mum and dad said. Hard work and dedication can take you anywhere – including the pages of Smith Journal.
Volume 22 is out in Australia today and features some very committed ‘aeronauts’ from rural China who design and make their own D.I.Y. planes, an enthusiastic bloke called Emperor George II who’s set up his own micronation near a sheep paddock in New South Wales, a team of diligent Indian scientists who worked out how to turn silver into gold – without using magic! – and a magnificently bearded Russian adventurer who circumnavigated the globe in a hot air balloon. (He’s also gone camel-riding with Vladimir Putin.)
Then there’s the Black Stuntmen’s Association: a group of performers who broke the Hollywood colour barrier in the areas of punching, falling and driving really fast. Or Stefan Mandel, a guy who spent years figuring out the maths theory behind winning the lottery (he ended up winning 14 times). Or the generations of physics experts that spent their spare time throwing cats out of windows – all in the name of science.
We meet a man messing about with beer on a genetic level (he has an order of Belgian monks on his side), and another who really wants to know how economic theory works in Star Trek. We venture inside some romantically grubby abandoned buildings, copping a face full of mould for our troubles, and pen a love letter to brutalist architecture, which is in danger of imminent abandonment as well. And did we tell you the one about the funny handshakes, the mechanical goat and the early history of life insurance? Well, that’s in there too.
Plus there’s nuclear business cards, mid-century New Zealand tourism, the Godmother of rock’n’roll, NASA’s Office of Planetary Protection, some extremely macho crockery and a few well-made boots.