Brendan McKnight
Frankie and Smith Journal

Brendan’s one of those rare diamonds that everyone wants to hangout with. He’s real, smart and most importantly — seriously fun. Add on top of that his ability to turn anything he touches to gold and you’ve got a pretty wonderful combination. Brendan’s also been quietly setting the publishing world on fire for some time now — highlights include Desktop, Frankie and Smith Journal. And I’ve been lucky enough to persuade him to create some lyrical magic over here.

Describe yourself in one word.

Tell us a bit about your day job?
I work as the brand and marketing manager for frankie press, which means I work across both frankie magazine and Smith Journal. Basically wherever you see any of those publications outside of mag land – sponsoring gigs, running market stalls, throwing parties, creating spin-off books and products, giving people delicious treats, I’ve probably had something to do with it.

What’s your earliest memory?
It was on a family trip to New Zealand to hang out with my uncle and aunty who live there. I think I would have been around three. I remember being a bit loud and annoying on the plane, and the male flight attendant threw a piece of ice at me to make me quiet. I should really check with my parents to see if this actually happened, or if it’s just some weird fucked up thing in my head.

What type of kid were you?
I was a pretty creative kid, and was quite content sitting silently in my room for hours creating all kinda of wacky inventions with my epic LEGO set. On the other hand, I was also pretty attention seeking and would often be dressing up, singing, dancing, being a bit of a doofus. Not much has changed, I guess.

What posters did you have on your walls?
I had a weird obsession with Melissa George from Home & Away, which is quite hilarious when you think about it now, so I remember my entire cupboard doors were a shrine to her. When I was in high school, I managed to convince my parents to let me paint each of my walls four different colours, so the walls were pretty bright there for a few years. I also had these massive glass picture frames and I’d go to the video store and buy their expired movie posters for $1 each and frame those.

Did or do you get into trouble for daydreaming?
Not so much daydreaming, but I tended to nap quite a bit, so I would get in trouble in school for having a little kip. My friends have become used to it. I’m well-known for needing a ‘disco nap’ before I go out.

Did you have a hero growing up?
Hmm, there have been people that have inspired me along the way, but I wouldn’t say there was one defining ‘hero’ that I had whilst growing up. Perhaps Neil Buchanan who hosted Art Attack. He was a cool dude. I googled him recently, though, and there are some pretty strange images of him wearing leather vests and playing the guitar. There goes my childhood.

How do you relax?
I’m a pretty homely person these days. I used to be extremely social, and although I do love catching up with friends, I really enjoy nights spent at home. Sometime last year my brain switched from FOMO to JOMO (the joy of missing out), and I’m loving it. I’m a big believer in spending just a couple of minutes to create a relaxed atmosphere, so normally that involves doing the dishes, putting things where they should be in my room, lighting some tea lights, burning some oil, putting on a record, making a pot of tea.

What’s your favourite smell and why?
The Australian brand Page Thirty Three have a small but great range of essential oils that I burn most days. They would probably be my favourite smells at the moment. They have three blends, called Upper, Downer and Centre, and they all really suit for those specific times that you want to feel energetic, relaxed, or chilled. That sounds like an ad, it’s not. They just make nice smelling things with attractive labels.

Where’s the most enjoyable place in the world?
I’d probably say my bedroom. My boyfriend Louis and I have gone to a fair amount of effort to set the space up. It just feels so comfy and chilled and ‘us’. We are pretty keen amateur gardeners with an unhealthy obsession for indoor plants, so they make us pretty happy too. I think we have about 50 different plants, mostly small ones, in our room alone. Our room also has a fireplace, so I’m really looking forward to cranking it up in winter.

Who’s the funniest person you know and why?
I hope he doesn’t get a big head when he reads this, but I think my boyfriend Louis is pretty funny. We’ve been dating for three years now, and he makes me laugh all the time. We have all these stupid little in-jokes, dances and voices that we do, and it’s all really good fun. I think being silly is pretty important in relationships.

What’s more important to you, getting it right or making mistakes?
I’d like to say making mistakes and learning from them, but I try pretty hard to get things right most of the time. I’m not a super crazy perfectionist, but I’m pretty bad at delegating because I like to do things myself. I’m learning. Having said that, I’m all up for taking risks and trying new things out.

How do you stay happy?
I think by not taking myself too seriously. I’m a good worker at work, and can put on my professional hat when needed, but you’ll also find me doing little dances on the spot or singing badly or goofing around. I think most people would find me pretty friendly and easy going, with a ‘can-do’, positive attitude. I don’t particularly have a mantra or a mission to be this way, it’s just the way I am.

If you could collaborate with anyone in the world who would it be?
I guess I’d have to say Neil Buchanan. Circa mid-90s, no leather vest. We could make one of those big art pieces together. It would be magic.

Tell me one book, movie, blog, recipe, holiday destination or anything that could change my life?
It’s not a destination as such, but I’m a huge fan of getting away for the weekend. Finding a random country town an hour from the city, a cute and cheap Airbnb place – or a mattress in the back of the van – and you have a mini escape. It doesn’t need to be expensive or super planned, but just being on the road, leaving the city and exploring a new place – and its Op Shops – is a really fun thing to do for the soul. I try to do it as often as possible.

What’s your definition of happiness?
Rest up, smell the roses, make an effort, be silly, smile.

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The Enjoyable Collective