MAN OF THE MONTH – FINANCIAL REVIEW'S REAR WINDOW COLUMNIST JOE ASTON
Sydney is a big town with a lot happening from politics to sport. Its diversity is amazing. And they all party, whether it’s at lunch, at the football, after hours in a local pub or at the Ivy.
The scene is mercurial and relentless. There is media fodder at every event and is usually documented by journalists who wouldn’t be there except for their by-line, and that just gets them in!
There is however one satirical columnist that has the brains, the network and the wardrobe to cover any arena with style and wit. He is our Man of the Week, Joe Aston, Rear Window columnist for the Financial Review.
MP: I know you love a party and have seen you in action often. Where does the stamina come from?
JA: If I knew the answer to that MP, I'd bottle it! The Sydney cocktail circuit can be pretty grueling and you would never try to go to everything. I pretty much refuse to go more than 100 metres from home on the weekends so maybe that's when I revive to survive.
MP: You have to find a lot of fodder every day to fill your column but it always resonates with informed knowledge. Do you have to chase stories or do they come to you?
JA: There's far more chasing stories than having them dropped in your lap, although certainly I get more hand-delivered than when I first started out. The thing with stories that come to you though is that 90 per cent of them are either not interesting or just plain wrong. Sadly there's just no substitute for working the phones and getting out and about.
MP: Your career has been diverse - politics, airlines, journalism, hence your amazing national network. Does one of them stand above the others?
JA: I love doing what I'm doing now more than anything that's come before it. Hands down. But I will always have a soft spot for the airlines.
MP: You are a stylish lad in a nerdy way – is this your look?
JA: Your words not mine! I don't really have "a look" on purpose. I do have a thing for eyeglasses though and I've written for AFR Magazine about companies like Barton Perreira and DITA who both design their stuff in LA but produce them by hand in Japan.
MP: Other than Ron Bennett I know you love Prada and Tom Ford. They are really not designers journalists normally wear. Are your associates aware of how well dressed you really are?
JA: My colleagues probably think I'm a slob because I do sometimes roll into the newsroom looking pretty unkempt and under-dressed. The Tom Ford is pretty much limited to the ties and pocket handkerchiefs these days. And Prada do great jeans. There's a Prada outlet 45 minutes outside Florence, which is an annual pilgrimage.
MP: Because you dress so well and are pretty handsome there are rumours that you are gay, especially after you appeared in bed with Karl Stefanovic on Financial Review Sunday on Channel 9. Having seen you in action I can swear on a stack of bibles you are not. Does this affect you in any way or is it a good lure to catch girls?
JA: To murder a Twain-ism, reports of my homosexuality are greatly exaggerated. And Karl was a perfect gentleman. I think being mistaken as gay is one of the highest compliments one can be paid.
To finish - was doing that backstage story on Victoria’s Secret a career highlight?
JA: Absolutely - once in a lifetime. Well actually, hopefully not! I'd love to go again. Writing about the fashion world is a nice and interesting change to some of the drier subjects I have to cover.