Tuesday, April 10, 2007


As I mentioned last week Monocle Issue 2 is out and I spent a few happy hours over the Easter break reading it from cover to cover.
The interesting, informative and lively stories are superbly well written by their talented team of writers.

Here are items that especially caught my eye - longish backgrounders on Norway (the world's third largest oil producer), and Ecuador (oil, bananas,flowers and shrimp), and cities, Basel, Bremen and Rotterdam.

And a footnote on page 167 - BSA (Birmingham Small Arms) was once one of the largest small arms and motorcycle manufacturing companies in the UK.
"They used to own Daimler and Triumph and build the motorcycles for Norton with a workforce of 25,000," says Cathal McAteer.
After 30 years of decline, and the end of motorcycle manufacture, BSA currently manufactures spare parts, but McAteer has acquired an umbrella licence that can be applied to anything but motorcycles, and there is even talk of a BSA cosmetics line.

On page172-73 a piece on the La Roma neighbourhood in Mexico City which made me want to rush across for a visit, while pages 176-77 introduce us to Riccardo Illy, industrialist and politician, and President of the Illy family's coffee making empire.

Finally an excerpt from Tyler Brulee's editorial which, refreshingly, appears on the last page of the magazine:

Having just returned from a round-the-world tour to launch Monocle, I'm happiest mixing it up. A little bit of London, a few days in Tokyo, a bi-monthly swing through New York and short stretches in our Zurich office suite me fine. There are many days when I question why I put up with London and its shoddy infrastructure, high cost of living and general quality of life. In the end I usually end up asking myself what the alternatives are.

For a media brand like ours, the options are surprisingly limited. While it would be great to have a Kenga Kuma designed office in Sydney or a tower by Bunzli & Courvoisier on the shore of Lake Geneva, the reality is that London still makes the most sense - at least for now.

The UK government and the mayor's office tell us they are working hard to maintain London's hub status but the hard evidence is tricky to come by. Heathrow is already a national disgrace
and passengers that once swore by BA and LHR are making their connections elsewhere. The city's public transport system has the dubious honour of being the most expensive in the world and perhaps the worst value for money. Young creative talent, one of the city's key economic assets, can no longer afford to line anywhere close to the centre.

There is much more but this will give you a taste of Tyler's theme and the frankness he employs.

Be sure not to miss this issue of MONOCLE. Having said that I have to add for my NZ readers that they will be very lucky to find it anywhere............................

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