(Issue two is out now, but I have been slow. All judgments below are based on the first issue. I’m not buying another one to see if it’s improved.)

When I saw the first issue of Uno on the shelves at the supermarket, I was hoping it would be the Wellington equivalent of Metro – on a good day, not all “Why your kids’ school will give you cancer and never let them buy a house” Listeneresque. But it’s not. It’s really, really not. Instead it turns out that Uno is every bit as advertising-copy driven as the Wellington Guide – without the advantage of at least being Welly exclusive. I suppose I should have known better give that Wellington’s official villain of 2006 is on the cover. After the jump, more reasons not to waste $9.95.

  • The first line of the magazine is “Uno is unashamedly local”, and yet it only has ‘What’s On’ pages for Hamilton and Tauranga – the two cities that the magazine started out in. In fact, some contact numbers for allegedly Wellington businesses start with an (07) as well.
  • While not everyone is as anti-Kerry as the Wellingtonista generally are, the cover puff piece entitled “wellington’s first citizen” [sic] doesn’t even give a hint of a suggestion that there might be anything controversial about her.
  • There are no capital letters in the article’s titles. Who’s in charge around here – a journalist or a graphic designer?
  • There’s an article on Brazilian waxing, courtesy of a salon called Waxnlaser. I’m not entirely sure how that fits in with the ‘Lifestyle’ theme, but I guess a case could be made for it. But it’s most definitely straight advertorial again, with half a page of text and half a page of ad.
  • One of the few profiles in it that actually relate to Wellington is about phil&teds [sic] most excellent buggy company. Not to nitpick or anything, but the when the Wellingtonista starts producing a magazine, there’s no way that we’re going to profile any company that deliberately leaves out an apostrophe like that. That’d be as bad as big-upping a company that uses comic sans. Oh, and more annoyingly, the article talks about how hilarious the company’s answering system is, with its fake Indian accent. Ahhh racism, that’s sooo Wellington lifestyle!
  • Actually, the proof-reading throughout the magazine needs to be tightened up and a consistent style guide should be applied (and oh yes, I can hear the kettle calling me black right now).
  • The article called ‘Juice!’ is about the programmer of Sky’s music channels. How does this relate to Wellington? Oh yes, Wellington is his hometown. Oh, and apparently, according to the opening paragraph, J2 “has become a part of the social fabric of Wellington”. Really? Really? Silly me for thinking that it was Fat Freddy’s we heard ubiquitously.
  • While “UNO. does not pretend to be a national magazine, nor a news magazine.”, their website also declares “It is not an advertising catalogue!” – but writing rarely gets much puffier than the piece on the new Vodafone shop on Willis St.

Okay, but in fairness, there are a couple of upnotes about the magazine:

  • Nice work picking Hank Cubitt to write about men’s fashion – he’s a Wellington icon and he knows what he’s talking about.
  • Likewise, it was a good idea to get the food recipes from a Wellington recipe – Soi in this instance.
  • The write-up on Pinot Noir 2007 was good, and enough to make me wish I’d been there!
  • Chris Laidlaw’s ‘Civic Jihad’ Wellington perspective piece – I’m not sure if this is a column or just a feature – at least touches on a controversy by calling the proposed Hilton Hotel a ‘spectre’ that would “do justice to a Marx brothers movie”. Tom no doubt would have something to say about that, but at least it’s a piece that could get someone talking.