The Bikwil subtitle says it all, of course.
Bikwil celebrates quiet enthusiasms, where “quiet” implies subtlety, restraint, minimum hype, while “enthusiasm” has its usual meaning of any pursuit or interest that beguiles us. A crucial corollary of the Bikwilian approach concerns our avoidance of negativity. What we emphasise here is involvement that is mainly “positive towards . . .” and “in praise of . . .”.
Bikwil first saw the light of day in Sydney in May 1997 as a “newsletter”. Although the idea of a magazine was that of editor Tony Rogers, in a way its genesis had actually occurred a few years earlier among a group of like-minded souls. They were talking over lunch and the phrase “small dinosaur” got coined to convey the meaning “we are small creatures who enjoy waxing passionate on topics of value that most of the modern world appears to deem ‘old-fashioned’ or even ‘extinct'”.
|(Hence Emily, the nostalgic little apatosaurus — née brontosaurus — that graces our site.)
Tony and several other compatible types were soon recruited into this proto-society of neo-Mesozoic iconoplasts. Many conversations later, Bikwilcame into being as a free publication, with the aim of sharing our enthusiasms with a wider community.
At the time of Bikwil’s appearance there were a mere handful of contributors involved, and just over a dozen readers, all of them friends or associates of the small dinosaurs. By September 1997, with our third issue, the number of pages had grown, as had the number of readers on the permanent mailing list. The latter increase was due entirely to word-of-mouth publicity. From then there was no turning back.
As our third year approached, however, the costs of producing a free magazine were becoming prohibitive, so with the agreement of the ever-faithful readership a nominal subscription was levied.
Despite the advent of its Web site, in print Bikwil today retains much of its former appearance: 24 handy-sized A5 pages, printed in glorious black-and-white.