Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Oliver Jeffers and the Joys of in-flight Entertainment

Every time I fly on an airplane, I make a point to read the airline's publications. It sounds a little lame, and you would think that the articles would be fairly boring but to be honest airplane magazines are one of my favorite reads.
Not that I am or even have the time to be a voracious reader, but I see in-flight magazines as a less serious version of perhaps National Geographic (don't get me wrong, I LOVE NatGeo). They show you the world, how different people in niche cultures live without the burden of scientific and anthropological prestige.  

As sad as it sounds, I am actually quite the Hemisphere fan - United Airlines' magazine. As is my usual routine, the minute I plop my butt down into one of the plane's smelly, tight seats my hands automatically grab at the kangaroo pouch before me. Turning to that month's Hemisphere was like making a regular and necessary visit to the on-board fortune teller. Whatever the cards held in terms of your flight's fate was printed in the back pages of this magazine. Would my flight be enjoyable (because nowadays, we can just about throw any hope of having a "comfortable" flight out the window) and filled with my favorite television programs? a movie I had on my "must watch" list? Or would I be stuck forcing myself through something like "Real Steal" - full of drama, corny one-liners, and campy shots of rugged, rough-and-tumble men?

It probably wasn't until I started taking an interest in being a well-rounded and seemingly educated person that I began considering the airplane magazine's actual content (outside of the tv and movie listings, I mean). I have never looked back since. I owe several of my imaginary travels to Hemisphere magazine. In the span of one 5-6 hour flight, I slowly, but surely made may way through cross-country BBQs (yumm!), run marathons (to burn off all that BBQ, of course), and met some famous and really cool people (Sup, Donna Karen! How's it, gurl?). But, my most fruitful adventures were my fantasy trips abroad. With the help of my good friend Hemisphere, I have been everywhere from Lisbon to Moscow and everywhere in between.

My favorite part of these overseas excursions were Oliver Jeffers's quirky illustrated prefaces. Their whimsy, playful lines and fragmented notes scrawled along the edges instantly won me over. Looking at these "maps" was like trying to read the supplementary map Fagan made in Oliver & Company to go with his ransom note to Jenny, and to me that just made them all the better (If you don't know what I'm talking about, go watch Disney's animal/musical adaptation of Oliver Twist and get back to me when you're caught up on life!). So here are a few of his works for you to enjoy! Happy travels, courtesy of Oliver Jeffers.  :-)

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