The Monocle Minute:
Weekend Edition

A round up of design, fashion and quality of life

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Tuesday 3 January 2017

Donald, meet Jong-un

Image: Getty Images

With less than three weeks to go until the inauguration of Donald Trump, most attention has been focused on how the president-elect’s policy will differ from his predecessor on two key areas: Russia and the Middle East. Yet there is another critical issue that Trump will need to tackle and it reared its head again as the world ushered in the new year: North Korea. On Sunday, president Kim Jong-un told his compatriots that the country was close to testing long-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads; this follows Pyongyang’s biggest nuclear test to date, conducted in 2016. Whereas the Obama administration largely shirked the issue, this bubbling crisis will need to be addressed during a Trump term – and it will demand all his powers of tact and delicacy.

Delicious diversion

Image: Claudio Morelli

There is no shortage of cooking schools in Italy and this month its haute cuisine institutes will be joined by the first course (academically speaking) to award the EU-recognised qualification of “street-food specialist”. Run by the Padua-based Dieffe Accademia delle Professioni, it will cover everything from marketing to the history of street food. It will also feature a thorough study of lesser-known Italian specialties from all corners of the boot, including Florentine lampredotto (tripe) sandwiches and Palermo’s panelle (chickpea fritters). If all goes to plan the country’s humble food trucks may yet overtake Vienna’s illustrious würstelstand.

Bargain hunt

Image: Alamy

Poland is on a global charm offensive. Last year deputy prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki visited London to lure post-Brexit banks to Warsaw; this year it’s expanding its soft power arsenal through the acquisition of a treasure trove of artworks, including Leonardo da Vinci’s “Lady with an Ermine”. The Ministry of Culture recently purchased the 1490 masterpiece oil painting along with 86,000 other objects – encompassing works by Renoir and Rembrandt – from the Krakow-based Princes Czartoryski Foundation. They cost about €100m, which is a fraction of the original price tag: an estimated €2bn. When asked the reason for the unprecedented discount the foundation’s founder, prince Adam Karol Czartoryski, said: “I felt like making a donation.” Poland has certainly cashed in on the season of goodwill.

Dress sense

Image: Getty Images

You'd be forgiven for holding your peace in conversations about religious dress. Too often the topic is a bellicose bellwether of bad, divisive and distrustful news stories; righteous indignation against the holier-than-thou souls who dare to wear their burkinis on our beaches. So it's with some relief that we discovered a charming (and eccentric) new flick-through from Cambridge theology graduate Veronica Bennett and London-based publishing house GraphicDesign&. Like the lives of the pious types it depicts, Looking Good: A Visual Guide to the Nun’s Habit, seems like an earnest undertaking. It’s not. Thanks to the talents of illustrator Ryan Todd, the dress worn by 40 distinct communities of Catholic nuns is depicted and discussed in an approachable and even manner. It’s a habit that our friends in the news media would do well to adopt when it comes to the inflammatory issue of religious raiments that's likely to rage on in 2017.

Radio. Have you heard?

Looking ahead to 2017

Image: Faye Sakura Rentoule

Robert Bound sits down with DJ and broadcaster Georgie Rogers, film critic Jason Solomon and author Mark Mason to discuss the year to come in music, film and books.

Film. Have you seen?

The Monocle Guide to Better Living

We take you back to our first book, produced by premier German publisher Gestalten. Our film tells the story of how we teamed up and why we think the time is right for this modest manifesto about improving everything from cities to the food on our tables. Available to buy online at The Monocle Shop.

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