But as The Guardian’s music expert Dorian Lynskey recently taught me, the sophomore slump is real – and the reason for it is an increasing “fetishisation of newness” in the industry. “You have a lifetime to make your first album and only a year or two to make your second. Sometimes there’s nothing an artist can do to avoid that sense of anticlimax,” he explained.
Even though I’m not a musician myself, Dorian’s comment did resonate with me when I came across it as we produced the last Prime Mover issue of 2016. As promised, we once again partnered with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) to update our National Fleet Productivity Report, a comprehensive overview of high productivity vehicle design in Australia. Yet, revisiting the project not only reminded me of just how successful the inaugural Report was – it has been referenced all around the world in 2015 – but also brought back fond memories of working with Prime Mover’s founding Editor, Peter Armstrong.
The December 2015 issue was Peter’s last before I took over from him, so recreating an international success story without him on the team felt strange for a moment – just like Dorian predicted. Luckily, though, we managed to field a team that I know Peter would approve of. Internationally acclaimed PBS expert Laszlo ‘Les’ Bruzsa once again helped us unearth a suite of exclusive data to work with, and NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto generously made himself available for a revealing executive interview. On top of that, Philippa Edwards permanently joined us on the team as Assistant Editor and will no doubt leave her mark on the magazine in the year to come.
As for Peter, of course I still caught up with him before going to print. People have been asking for him every day since he retired, and I am sure they’d be glad to know he is thoroughly enjoying his retirement – even though I can’t help but feel a strange sense of longing in his voice whenever we talk trucking over the phone.
Peter told me he was excited to learn how much progress high productivity vehicle design has made over the past 12-month period and to find out whether or not Australia’s world-leading PBS scheme has been able to shake all the teething issues we uncovered last year. He also mentioned that he didn’t actually mind Nirvana back in the 1990s. At that moment I knew we were on the right track.