I HAVE BEEN TOLD I DESERVE
“A FULL LIFE THAT ISN’T JUST ABOUT FIGHTING FOR THINGS”

Merely a month after release in its homeland, its editor’s homeland finally receives issue three of Monocle (op. cit.). There’s been small decline in quality.

  • On the Contributors page, I am still not clear why an em dash sits on its own line under the contributor’s name and title (the latter given in grey small caps, so it’s not as if this page does not receive specific attention).
  • The maps of Monocle’s global coverage in this issue again show Canada as an unmarked void. Then again, the U.S., Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean are, too.
  • Brûlé really takes his australophilia to extremes, with a nine-page treatment of Australian “policing” of the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea. A sidebar is a useful primer on the recent history and occupation of Pacific islands. (Issue two did the same thing with South American governments.)
  • Did you know that immigrants to Sweden are rushing to svenskify their names, but to do so they have to make up completely new ones? “Under Swedish law, you can’t take the name Larsson if it doesn’t already exist in your family. You have to invent a new name for yourself.”
  • Several typos in the issue, including discrete for discreet (that one’s straight out of gay “dating” ads). The magazine has enough money to get these right, and, as I read the issue on a plane (which took three full hours), I didn’t jot them down. (On what? An Air Canada napkin?) I’ve got smudgy pages 2/3 of the way through the book. Quality control, please.
  • A minor variation on the woodcut-like illustrations used to deconstruct the fashion sense of world leaders: This time it’s the wife of the president of Argentina, who is pretty much derided as a tacky show-off. (At least her name tones down those Argentine ethnic mismatches: Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.)
  • In a major variation of the regular interview with important government ministers, this one’s an interchangeable Singapore Chinese salaryman, not the dashing white guys Brûlé actually likes. I detect some nose-holding at work. And I’m simply not buying Brûlé’s newfound appreciation for Seoul (or the weak article on the same topic).
  • This issue’s brûléist advertorial is for BEAUTY & YOUTH UNITED ARROWS × MONOCLE, the former being some kind of Japanese fashion house whose monoline cartouche logotype echoes Monocle’s. (Such a thing at least makes sense in Japan, where you sign documents with a stamp, called a hanko, bearing a little cartouche of your name.) The Panasonic Olympic advertorial is back for the third time.
  • The whole issue’s theme is bicycling, which leads to the improbable image of immaculately austere Tyler Brûlé pedalling through killer London traffic and smog. I think not. And, as a Gawker commenter pointed out, the new £600 bespoke Monocycle is a relic from the velocipede era. It’s manufactured by Skeppshult of Sweden, whose owner gets his own feature (and who took out an ad near the back of the book). The Finnish Jopo bike, however, looks like a winning combination of lowrider and cruiser (and isn’t listed on the Web site).
  • The number-keyed photo spread of a Finnish ambulance van was right up my alley. Civic infrastructure means more than modernist buildings.
  • Frankly, I didn’t believe the premise of Ian Mount’s piece on Buenos Aires, here presented as a location for U.S. runaway commercial shoots. One guy “recalls repeated instances of Argentine women arriving on set to play office assistants, wearing far less clothing than would be customary in a typical office in, say, Toronto [sic]. ‘The girl comes out in a short shirt and an almost restrictively tight sleeveless top that has “sexual harassment” written all over it…. They send her back with something a little bit more conservative.’ ”
  • Gee, a whole squib on a newsstand in Portugal. Why? They stock Monocle. (I have learned the hard way that Toronto’s giant newsstands in every neighbourhood are unusual. For example, I predict that the only place in Boston to buy Monocle is Harvard Square.)
  • Designer pet furniture and food bowls are modelled by an attractive but ill-photographed long-haired dachshund.
  • I was really confused for half a minute by the fashion spread featuring Gert Jonkers (no relation), listed as “the co-editor… of Amsterdam-based [fashion] magazine Fantastic Man.” This is straight out of The Celluloid Closet. Jonkers started out as founder and editor of Butt (FANTASTIC MAGAZINE FOR HOMOSEXUALS; q.v.). I gather that twee gay fashion is tolerable for Monocle, but pink pages featuring interviews with porn impresarios, John Waters, and “nongay queer popstar Michael Stipe” are beyond the pale. I’m pretty sure Jonkers was in town – while I was out of town – as guest of honour at an overpriced party for the queer film festival. Whom do I have to blow to get an interview in Butt?
  • Last but not least, Monocle channels Spy by buying a ticket on Iran Air’s insane weekly flight from Tehran to Caracas. “When, to my considerable surprise, I’m led upstairs and onto the flight deck….”

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2007.05.30 13:23. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:
https://blog.fawny.org/2007/05/30/monocle3/

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