The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Thursday 22 February 2018


Image: Shutterstock

No dice

Japan is working out how to regulate its potential new casinos but getting people interested seems like a bit of a long shot.

Although Japan’s politicians controversially voted to open the country to casinos in 2016, the rules governing the operation of new integrated resorts that will host the casinos have yet to be fixed and fears about gambling addiction have not been addressed. Yesterday, a report by a government working party presented several proposals to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party: one is to charge Japanese nationals and foreign residents of Japan a ¥2,000 (€15) admission fee. This, the group believes, is high enough to make casual gamblers think twice but not so high as to deter visitors altogether. Tourists from overseas meanwhile would be able to gamble in Japan free of charge. Yet it’s questionable whether casinos are a smart bet for Japan at all. One government survey revealed that regardless of the entry fee, 42 per cent had no intention of going into a casino.


Image: Getty Images

Spin doctors

Gucci’s Milan show was a lesson in how to make an exhibition of yourself.

In the luxury landscape, Gucci is red hot. Last week Kering, its parent company, announced record-breaking profits in 2017, mostly off the back of another year of soaring Gucci sales. The Italian label’s remarkable success has been design-led. In the past few years creative director Alessandro Michele has conjured an escapist world (his clothes are fantastically playful: his most recent ad campaign featured dinosaurs and UFOs). In the process he has captivated the next generation of luxury customers and triggered a maximalist movement, with other designers aping his style in a bid to find similar traction. Against this backdrop, the industry eagerly awaited Gucci’s latest show, which took place yesterday in Milan. Once again Michele stayed ahead of the game. He teamed up with Roman special-effects company Makinarium to create a Game of Thrones-esque world (in a hospital setting): models wore checked suits and floral dresses and carried baby dragons and severed heads as props. At a time when many are questioning the relevance of runway shows Michele demonstrated how to make a spectacle that will keep people talking – and generating revenue.


Image: Shutterstock

Put it in writing

Falling ad sales are tearing New Zealand’s print industry apart and smaller titles are paying the price.

It’s a sad time for New Zealand’s print industry as news kingpin Fairfax Media announces it’ll be shutting, or selling, a whopping 28 newspaper and magazine titles this week – more than a third of its total number of publications in the nation. Most of the titles being closed are community and rural publications such as the Kaikoura Star, The Hastings Mail and the Queenstown Mirror. The announcement from Sydney-based Fairfax wasn’t all that surprising, however, as the company battles falling ad revenues, while a recent attempt at cutting costs by merging with its competitor NZME was blocked by New Zealand’s high court. But it does leave many questioning the future of the industry – just last week, New Zealand’s only independent news agency New Zealand Newswire (also Aussie-owned) announced it’ll be shutting this spring.


What’s the name of the game?

A French-speaking announcer at the Winter Olympics has reignited tensions between Anglophone Canada and Québec.

A very Canadian brouhaha has erupted in the country this week. The French-speaking hockey announcer at the Winter Olympics faced sharp criticism after using French pronunciations of players’ names such as Derek Roy and Rene Bourque. Though Roy and Bourque are common surnames in Québec, the two players are from Ontario and Alberta respectively and go by the Anglophone pronunciations. It was viewed as a big enough misstep that Hockey Canada, the sport’s official body, issued a statement reiterating that they respected all players and their cultures; meanwhile, Canadian commentators and NHL players have weighed in on the issue. Though it might seem like a minor matter, the gloves-off response is telling in just how delicate relations between French and English speakers in the country can be.

From Monocle 24

Image: Alamy

Made in Greece

Section D

Nathalie Savaricas charts 160 years of Greek manufacturing at an exhibition that suggests there’s plenty more to come.

From Monocle Films

Retail special: gin distilleries

Just like craft breweries, small local distilleries are reinventing drinks that have fallen out of fashion. Monocle Films visits three entrepreneurs who have uncorked the potential of the old spirit in London, Hamburg and the Finnish countryside.






00:00 01:00