Thursday 18 May 2017 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Thursday. 18/5/2017

The Monocle Minute

Image: Getty Images


Out with the old

Is Europe ready for another 30-something leader? Sebastian Kurz, the fresh-faced Austrian foreign minister, will lead the right-wing Austrian People’s party (OVP) into October’s elections, which were called earlier this week. Despite being just 30 years old, Kurz is already something of a veteran – he became foreign minister four years ago. While Kurz will welcome comparisons with new French president Emmanuel Macron, his politics are much further to the right. Although the OVP is currently in coalition with the centre-left Social Democratic party, Kurz arguably has more in common with the far-right Freedom party, which currently leads the polls. Whatever the result of the election, expect Kurz’s political career to continue on an upward path.

Image: Alamy


Tune in, drop out?

One of Canada’s largest telecommunications companies, Bell, has announced plans to shake up the cable-television subscription model with the introduction of a new mobile television service called Alt TV. The streaming service will be available to those who don’t already have existing cable TV packages with Bell and it’s a clear attempt to grapple with a rapidly changing market. The number of people deserting traditional cable TV packages is rising in Canada – 220,000 fewer people subscribed to services like these in 2016, with 24 per cent of households reporting that they do not have a cable service, according to a recent report on the sector. Yet while Bell is clearly trying to compete with the likes of Netflix, Alt TV has no immediate plans to create its own programmes à la The Crown or House of Cards. Without a more ambitious on-demand plan, it’s hard to imagine Bell will capture viewers’ attention.


Snap happy

It’s taken just three years for Photo London to make this week in May photography week in the capital; neat work. The fair itself is strong, central and well organised and the high-ceilinged labyrinth of Somerset House means you never know what’s around the next corner – a refreshing change for a big-name art fair. Taryn Simon is this year’s ‘Master of Photography’ and presents her Google-search work ‘Image Atlas’ (Simon will also be on hand to explain it as part of the extensive talks programme). Elsewhere Mat Collishaw presents ‘Thresholds’, a new virtual-reality work that riffs on Fox Talbot’s first-ever photography show of 1839. Among the galleries, Sprüth Magers joins the fray this year with Stephen Shore, and Michael Hoppen keeps it London-centric with Tim Walker glorying in Alexander McQueen (pictured).

Image: Alamy


Diva fever

After the Australian Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker this Saturday, the Joan Sutherland Theatre at the Sydney Opera House will close for seven months to upgrade its stage machinery, lighting, acoustics and other amenities. The theatre renovation is just the first of five projects to improve the Jørn Utzon structure’s main concert hall, entrance areas and educational centres – its biggest upgrade since opening in 1973 – billed at a whopping AU$273m (€180m), part of which was provided by the state government. It’s a welcome upgrade but with the national government’s recent announcement that it is putting more cash into infrastructure to spur a troubled economy, it’s hoped officials will put as much zeal into building roads, railways and runways as they do into refurbishing treasured national icons.

Image: Vitsœ


In the world of high-end, long-lasting and much-loved furniture brands, Vitsœ is perhaps without rival. For more than 50 years, the company has manufactured and sold furniture designed by the legendary Dieter Rams. But how do you sustain a legacy of top design, not to mention a profitable business model, for more than half a century? This week we meet Vitsœ’s managing director Mark Adams – the man who saved the company from bankruptcy and who has ambitious plans for the brand’s future.


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