Monocle has risen to the challenge this year. That’s worth celebrating, says Tyler Brûlé.
Come in and gather round, dear readers – it’s time to slide out of your loafers and pull on some chunky felt Südtirol slippers. You’ll notice that the bar is open and I can fix whatever you like. It’s a bit of a Christmas tradition that we start with gin and tonics with fresh yuzu peel from our garden in Zürich but we can also do a French 75 or Billecart-Salmon or something red from one of the vineyards down the lake. I think you know everyone gathered on this fine eve. The one in the funky hiking get-up is our creative director, Richard Spencer Powell, and the chap next to him with the tumbler of eggnog is our head of radio, Tom Edwards. Tom’s had a very busy December pulling together the best sounds for the Christmas season along with a range of programmes looking forward to hopefully a sunnier, more chipper 2021.
Over by the fireplace you have Chiara Rimella, our culture editor, and Nolan Giles, our senior editor in charge of architecture, design and the fashion beat. I wanted to introduce you to our deputy editor, Josh Fehnert, but he could be in the kitchen intercepting canapés or warming himself on the terrace with some fellow Parisienne fans – the cigarettes, not excited readers. Megan Gibson and Christopher Cermak (our editors for global affairs, diplomacy, defence and the general news beat) are huddled in the corner with Pälvi Pulli (more on her here) from Switzerland’s defence department talking fighter jets and Finnish Christmas cookies. And speaking of all things Finnish, Santa will definitely be putting in an appearance sometime just before midnight despite protests about provenance from our Norwegian publisher. What’s that playing in the background you ask? It’s monocle’s Christmas anthem, of course. You don’t know Tatsuro Yamashita’s “Christmas Eve”? Well, now you do, so please join in as we gather around the piano for a round of carols and bid farewell to 2020.
As you meander through this final issue of the year you’ll meet more than 100 other colleagues who edit radio packages, co-ordinate photographers, consider silhouettes, book guests, design packaging, procure products and much more. Aside from the crew in London and Zürich there’s also Ed Stocker, who’s now manning Milan, plus our long-standing bureau chiefs and staffers in Toronto, Hong Kong and Tokyo. (If you’re still on the hunt for four wheels to tie up in a big bow for Christmas morning then have a read of team Tokyo’s review of Honda’s latest e-vehicle, here.) Alongside our staff we have 36 correspondents covering a variety of subjects and territories. Benno Zogg, new to our ranks, is now in charge of the security beat and has penned a fine piece on Switzerland and soft power. Read more here.
Thanks to our dual hubs, our bureaux and our network of correspondents we’ve been able to not only up our coverage over the past, very tricky, 10 months but also launch new shows and even a new magazine. Konfekt, a fresh standalone from the monocle stable, is the creation of Sophie Grove (our former Istanbul bureau chief and Paris editor), Rich (the one in the hiking gear), Marcela Palek (our leggy Czech style director), Matthew Beaman (our photo editor) and a host of other collaborators and contributors. Aimed at monocle readers who have been missing an extra dash of women’s fashion, elegant interiors, wine coverage, good recipes and more, Konfekt will be available on newsstands and in letterboxes quarterly. It will also have its own deluxe monthly podcast and an informative newsletter. To find out more, please visit konfektmagazine.com.
Looking forward to 2021, it is our intention to build on our efforts of the past months and further strengthen our daily digital offerings with more sector-specific newsletters and a deeper, faster audio output on Monocle 24. We want to bring more points of view to our audience and also continue the monocle tradition of being solution-driven in our editorial approach. We want to challenge an increasingly single-track news cycle, we want to apply common sense to topics that too many outlets overcomplicate and we want to be a forum for asking questions that many think but rarely say. On many occasions we’ve been reminded that there are perspectives that might be fashionable on east coast US college campuses or boardrooms in Melbourne but we shouldn’t be so quick to think that these same values should also be applied in Graz or Athens, Buenos Aires or Dakar. monocle would like to serve as a beacon for more nuanced discussions and debate – always in a most civil and respectful tone.
Before I head back to the bar and restock the canapés, I’d like to make a little toast to our editor, Andrew Tuck. From next year he’ll be taking over the post of editor in chief and welcoming you to the issue. Yes, yes, these are big boots to fill but I’m sure if he doubles up a couple of Christmas stockings from the mantelpiece he’ll do just fine. Besides, he’s been running a big chunk of this show for going on 15 years. As for me? I’m sure there will still be a page or two for me here and there, and I now have a new magazine to help shepherd along while keeping an eye on this one – plus a few other projects on the go.
All that’s left to say is a huge thank you for your input, ideas, support and thoughts throughout 2020. It’s amazing what a simple note of praise or even a swift kick can do for keeping us on our game. It’s most appreciated. Wishing you a very merry Christmas, top of the season and a happy new year. Cheers.