As this 35th issue gets ready to ship to our printers’ plant in Dorset there’s a giddy sense of excitement on the editorial floor at Monocle and it has nothing to do with the fact the little Lebanese food van has pulled up out front with Friday lunch for the team. This is not to say there’s not a little Levantine influence in the air, however. As June is holiday time around Boston Place (and also Omotesando Hills and Broadway and Houston – our other addresses), many of us are heading off to Beirut to catch the sun, comb through bookshops, hang out at Sporting and dance late into the evening.
There are plenty of places around the Med (and elsewhere in Europe) that make for a perfect 10-day escape, but somehow we keep heading back to Beirut. The fast flying time from London is an immediate attraction but it’s the mix of proper heat, a bit of anarchy, good local wine, great friends and pockets of perfectly intact 1970s architecture that give it an edge over other destinations. In no particular order, we’re looking forward to the following:
- Outdoor breakfasts on the rooftop of the Albergo
- Morning runs along the Corniche
- Browsing for magazines at Papercup
- Browsing for vintage erotic fiction at Esquire Books
- Lunch at Kamal’s house up in Batroûn
- Culinary tours into the Bekaa Valley
- Furniture shopping in Hamra
- Cocktails at a faded hotel high above the city
- Dancing into the wee hours in the basement of another faded hotel
- Being led to another venue by our trusty correspondent Carole
At the same time, we’re also looking forward to getting back by the end of the month to start work on a special project we’re tailoring specifically for the time you’ll be spending on sea (or lake, or poolside), under the sun or in the shade. On 29 July, a special newspaper edition of Monocle will hit newsstands around the Mediterranean and select resort pockets in the US and elsewhere in Europe. With so much digital tablet hype going on, we started to consider how people would be consuming written content this summer. After a short round of research on the beaches of Honolulu and poolside at the Halekulani, it was soon clear that no matter how connected people might want to be, their iPads and Kindles are not fans of moisture, salt-water, fresh water, sun cream, sweat, sun and sand.
To complement this current issue and ensure reading reserves don’t run dry, Monocle in newspaper form will be edited to offer a solid week’s worth of grazing, mixing essays with reportage, fiction with fashion stories and a host of opportunities that will have you excited to get back to work. To keep the whole package fresh, “Monocle-on-Med” will also be accompanied by a weekly audio programme in the form of The Monocle Summer Series, which will bring together the sharpest thinkers and musical artists in a one-hour package of talk and tunes.
As our print distribution for the newspaper will be limited, you can order (reserve) your copy via monocle.com or pop into our shops in London, Los Angeles and Tokyo to secure a copy.
Finally, on the retail front, our new Hong Kong shop should be open by the time we start work on our newsprint edition and in late breaking news, we’ve just signed for a space in New York’s West Village. We have also launched a special-edition set of building blocks for all aspiring urban planners or parents who’d like to encourage their children to pursue a career in city planning policy or architecture. A couple of us have already snatched up sets, so take a peek in our shopping pages or in the shopping section of our website. While we’re out of the office for most of June, the Monocolumn will still be going live daily on our website, the Monocle Weekly will be around on Sundays and we’re always available on e-mail. You can find me at firstname.lastname@example.org and my ever-efficient assistant Alexander at email@example.com. Have a great summer and we look forward to delivering you an entertaining summer in newsprint and audio form from the end of July.
For more from our editor-in-chief, read his column in the FT Weekend.