Observation | Monocle

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It’s been a busy but smooth year up here on the bridge of HMS Monocle. When we set sail at the start of the year we weren’t really thinking about moving into newspaper publishing but there we were, back in July, fiddling with a new format and delivering it to teak decks and sun loungers around the Med at the start of August. By the time we got back from our final round of holidays we also didn’t expect we’d be doing another one for Christmas but that’s exactly what’s keeping our crew busy as we send this issue off to press and clear our decks for the production of Monocle Alpino.

At this point I should drop the nautical references as our next newspaper edition will be focused on all things snowy, cosy and situated at least 500m above sea level – think essays from the brightest academics, reports from remote valleys, architecture profiles on the best firms to build your chalet, recipes from hidden huts near Niseko and sensible fashion for piste and lingering in wood-panelled lobbies in Gstaad. In the days to come we’ll dispatch a team to work out of our Zürich bureau to not only manage the newsgathering but also work with our distributors to ensure that Monocle Alpino will be available in all the best ski resorts across Europe. In fact, our Alpine edition will have a far wider distribution and will also be found in ski resorts across North America and Japan – not to mention our own shops and most major aviation hubs.

To accompany Alpino while you’re stretched out in front of the fireplace with a warming glass of red, we’ll be heading back into the studio to produce another edition of the Monocle Winter Series. For the Christmas season we’ll be pulling together an international line-up to belt out our favourite Yule classics and also a group of our top contributors to share their favourite reads, recipes and ski tips around our chunky table. The Monocle Winter Series will be available via monocle.com (and iTunes) every Friday from 12noon CET – starting 17 December.

At the same time, we’ll also be crossing town in the run up to Christmas to work on our most significant new venture since launch. From mid-December we’ll all be going live action when we’re beamed across the world with the debut of Monocle on Bloomberg Television. In development since summer, our weekly, one-hour series will be a mix of films, discussion and one-on-one interviews reported and produced by our network of correspondents. In keeping with the season, Monocle on Bloomberg Television will focus its lens over the horizon into 2011 and deliver a well-paced, elegant hour of television that will allow us to spend more time with our subjects and let stories go into greater depth.

By the time we switch off the lights and pull down the shutters for the holidays we should already be installed in our new HQ (more on this in our February issue) in the heart of Marylebone and raring for a host of new adventures in London and far beyond in 2011.

We were quite surprised by the number of you who registered your interest about wanting to buy a space in Monocle Mansions (don’t worry, we’d never be so crass on the naming front). While we were half-joking about the concept, all the notes of encouragement will have us thinking a bit harder about what a mixed-use development could and should look like and how we might fund it. Before we start laying foundations in London, however, we’re lining up our next cities for bureaux, assigning new correspondents and upping numbers in our existing offices.

If this issue has landed on your desk, coffee table, counter or armchair pre-Christmas, then we hope we’ll see you at one of our events in Helsinki, Oslo or London. For our subscribers in the UK, you should be hearing about our Christmas shopping and singing evening by the close of November. For subscribers in Los Angeles, New York, Hong Kong and Tokyo we’ll be hosting slightly smaller evenings perhaps without the singing – but then again you never know what happens after a few glasses of glühwein when our more randy readers get together.

As it’s time to head to the mountains to start work on Alpino and practice reading off the teleprompter, we’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your support, recommendations, continuous correspondence, newsstand policing and evangelism about all things Monocle related. If we don’t see you at one of our events before the world winds down then have a merry Christmas, happy holiday season and healthy and prosperous New Year. We’re always checking into our mailbags, so please drop me (tb@monocle.com) or my assistant Alexander Mills (ajm@monocle.com) a bit of seasonal correspondence. Cheers.

For more from our editor-in-chief, read his column in the FT Weekend.

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