The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Friday 9 December 2016

Image: Richard I'Anson/Getty Images

Bottoms up

Good news for the new year: New South Wales premier Mike Baird has announced that the 01.30 lockouts and 03.00 last drinks laws of the new Sydney CBD Entertainment Precinct will be (slightly) relaxed come January. During a two-year trial both curfews will be shifted by 30 minutes and the state-wide ban on take-away alcohol and home delivery after 22.00 will be moved to 23.00. Meanwhile small bars, currently forced to close by midnight, will be able to remain open until 02.00. License laws will also see changes. The controversial restrictions were put in place in 2014 in an effort to curb drug and alcohol-related violence. Sydney will likely never be on par with Berlin but it’s taking a step in the right direction.

Image: Julie Florio

Design for living

This week New York menswear designer Todd Snyder launched his new flagship shop on Madison Square Park North in Manhattan. The expansive multi-level retail space, designed in collaboration with James Mills, includes a Persons of Interest barbershop, a café bar headed by restaurateur Nick Morgenstern and shop-in-shops carrying Aesop and eyewear brand Moscot. Snyder’s relaxed Americana menswear range boasts a new Selvedge Denim line as well as a Made in the USA Black Label and Made in Canada White Label suiting collection, alongside an in-store tailor for customisation. To complement his garments Snyder has partnered with other brands such as Mackintosh and Globe-Trotter. “Every collection starts with inspiration from the worlds of art, architecture and design, made to fit the modern man and his lifestyle,” Snyder told the press. “We created the New York store to embody that lifestyle.”

Image: Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Golden growers

You can always gauge the generosity of an Iranian cook by how yellow the rice is. Yellowing saffron threads are a staple of Persian cuisine yet they’re expensive to produce. For years Iran’s cheap labour dominated the market but farmers in Spain’s crisis-hit rural heartland are now reviving the industry. At the start of the 20th century more than 100 tonnes of saffron were hand-processed in Spain each year – the legacy of Arab-owned plantations from the Middle Ages – but this dwindled to a fraction in the face of overseas competition. Now chefs are keen to get their hands on Spanish saffron for its slightly less bitter flavour and a La Mancha distillery is even exporting saffron-flavoured gin. At €5 a gramme for some batches, blessed are the farmers who kept a plot going despite their neighbours tilling differently.

May contain nudity

A two-week stand-off between the Singapore Fringe Festival and government media authorities has finally come to an end after the organisers of the annual celebration of art, theatre, music and dance pulled two performances from the line-up. Initiated by an anonymous complaint letter, an advisory panel found that pieces by Canadian artist Thea Fitz-James and Singaporean dancer Ming Poon breached the nation’s Arts Entertainment Classification Code due to excessive nudity. It’s a disappointing setback for the boundary-pushing festival, which has addressed tough issues including LGBTQ rights, race and religion since its first edition in 2005. Yet the organisers’ firm stand against compromising the integrity of the artists and the public debate that ensued after the incident indicate that the tide may yet turn in the near future.

From Monocle 24

Image: João Trindade

Lisbon: collective action

A recent workshop in Lisbon gathered together speakers from across southern Europe to explore the role of architecture in processes of social organisation. Nothing that extraordinary in itself perhaps – except the fact that it all happened on a moving boat.

From Monocle Films

Monocle Christmas Market 2016

Tyler Brûlé got the band back together again for the fifth annual Monocle Christmas Market last weekend. With Midori House transformed into our own winter wonderland, beloved brands from around the world shared a mulled wine with stallholders representing our favourite nations – and had an audience with a certain Santa Claus too.

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