The Monocle Minute

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The week ahead, opportunities and observations
Saturday 5 May 2018

Diplomacy

Image: Getty Images

Clocking in

The Korean peninsula wastes no time in getting its diplomatic relations back on track.

Another symbol of rapprochement between the two Koreas is due to happen today, as the North sets its clocks forward by 30 minutes to match the South’s official time. The two countries had been out of kilter since 2015, when North Korea decided to put its time back to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of Japanese occupation (and scorn its southern neighbour in the process). Time-zone decisions have often been the result of political posturing flying in the face of logic. The single time zone that spans the entire landmass of China was ushered in by the Communist party in 1949 as a symbol of unification but it leaves swathes of people in the west of the country in the dark – literally. In Xinjiang province the sun doesn’t rise in the winter until about 10.00 and doesn’t set in summer until midnight. Proof then that time zones should be less political and more practical.

Literature

Image: Shutterstock

Mighty pens

The Sydney Writers Festival is always a celebration of the written word but this year there is a more reflective tone.

The Sydney Writers’ Festival is in full swing, with an array of visionary authors and literature fans having descended upon the Carriageworks Arts Centre. The opening address set the tone for the festival with André Aciman, author of bestseller Call Me by Your Name, Min Jin Lee, finalist for the National Book award and Alexis Okeowo, staff writer at the New Yorker, in turn discussing literature’s role in redressing inequalities in society. It seems providential then that the festival coincides with World Press Freedom Day. There have been warnings from media-rights groups that journalists and writers are increasingly being targeted for their reporting, such as the killing of nine journalists last week in Kabul. With storytelling becoming more perilous, there has never been a greater need for courage from the fourth estate.

Food

Recipe for success

Monocle’s Stockholm correspondent has whipped up a bilingual cookbook that serves the best of Swedish cuisine.

The country’s meatballs may actually be Turkish but the dishes presented in Elna Nykänen Andersson' new cookbook Kära Sverige (Dear Sweden), published by Cozy Publishing, are as Swedish as it gets – despite its author being born in Finland. Having lived in her adopted home for 18 years, Monocle’s Stockholm correspondent has put together a bilingual (Swedish-Finnish) cookbook of her favourite Swedish dishes. You’ll also get to learn about Swedish traditions such as midsummer and crayfish parties. “I’m an enthusiastic home cook,” says Andersson. “Over the years I’ve gathered lots of knowledge and recipes and wanted to collect everything in one place to share with others.” Prepare for beautifully photographed dishes and discover just why Swedes love their lingonberries so much; turns out they’re served with everything from lasagne to waffles.

Fashion

Image: Getty Images

Alternative look

We set sail for the season of cruise fashion shows – which actually have nothing to do with looking dapper on deck.

The season of cruise (or resort) fashion shows is upon us. Chanel kicked things off on Thursday when Karl Lagerfeld showed his collection inside Paris’s Grand Palais, with a towering ocean liner as the backdrop. But don’t be confused by the presence of the ship: cruise clothes, contrary to what some people assume, are not designed specifically for holiday trips on big boats. They are the collections that come in between autumn/winter and spring/summer – and they have huge commercial importance for brands. They are typically more sober and wearable than spring/summer and autumn/winter designs and are on shop shelves for longer. Plus, they give brands freedom to stage shows wherever they please: yesterday Prada held its gala in New York and, later this month, both Gucci and Louis Vuitton are heading to the south of France. Hosting these escapist events helps luxury brands to heighten their aspirational appeal.

From Monocle 24

The Sessions at Midori House: HC McEntire

The Monocle Culture Show

HC McEntire tells us about her complicated relationship with the American South and a meeting with Riot Grrrl Kathleen Hanna that led to the release of McEntire’s debut solo album ‘Lionheart’.

From Monocle Films

Netherlands: state of the nation

In our animated series we assess how the Dutch are performing on the world stage as well as at home.

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