The Monocle Minute

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The week ahead, opportunities and observations
Saturday 11 August 2018

Culture

Image: Alamy

All booked up

Despite some authors’ difficulties in obtaining a visa to attend, the mood at the Edinburgh International Book Festival remains jubilant.

Edinburgh’s festival season is well underway with Edinburgh Fringe Festival’s first week already complete. But for bibliophiles the real treat starts now with the opening of the 16-day annual Edinburgh International Book Festival, one of the world’s largest. Despite a rocky start with a barrage of criticism over the difficult process some authors have had to go through to obtain a visa this year, headlines haven’t dampened the mood. Some 1,000 authors and illustrators from 55 countries are descending on the tented village in leafy Charlotte Square Gardens. While the UK’s heatwave may have subsided for now, there’ll be plenty of opportunities to meet your favourite authors, join a workshop or enjoy a dram at the bar.

Entertainment

Twists and turns

Mexican TV gets its chance to bloom on the international stage.

Skip the Scandi noir and true-crime series and tune in to Netflix’s brand-new The House of Flowers, a camp, colourful cross between Almódovar at his best and a Latin American telenovela, which launched yesterday. Darkly hilarious (with plenty of sex thrown in for good measure), the series is written and directed by Manolo Caro and is Netflix’s third Mexican production. The title is a reference to well-to-do family De La Mora’s flower shop. We’re in high-class Mexico City where secrets just can’t seem to be kept. When patriarch Ernesto’s mistress is found dead, the family’s perfect façade starts to fall apart, revealing multiple affairs, hook-ups, sex changes (and a drag cabaret, in case you were in danger of getting bored). Named after a different flower, the 13 episodes are each a delightful half-hour long.

Recreation

Image: Alamy

Peak performance

Japan’s holiday dedicated to exploring the country’s rugged mountains has an uplifting effect on the country’s workforce.

Today marks Japan’s third annual Mountain Day. The public holiday, lobbied for by the Japanese Alpine Club, was introduced to give the nation’s workforce a break from long days spent at the office, while encouraging the public to enjoy Japan’s varied landscape. Unfortunately, this year’s holiday somewhat defeats its purpose as it falls on a weekend. Yet there’s a silver lining: this summer, Japan formally capped overtime to 100 hours a month to combat “karoshi”, or death from overwork. So even if Mountain Day falls on a regular weekend, there’s a concerted effort to reduce the country’s unhealthy work culture (time will tell whether it works). Saturday or not, the day is particularly welcomed by the retail sector: expect a boost in sales of hiking gear as people set out to explore the peaks.

Fashion

Cover story

Fashion titles’ biggest editions of the year are hitting the shelves and most are – finally – embracing diversity.

Newsagents’ shelves are starting to groan under the weight of September fashion issues. The month’s print editions – which coincide with the launch of new-season campaigns – remain the breadwinner for fashion titles. The 2018 batch are pleasingly hefty, with a leaf through the 406-page Vogue UK revealing hundreds of luxury advertisements. Vogue US comes out later this month and is sure to have even more ads; there, a single page can go for $208,000 (€182,000). The new issues are telling for their cover stars, with at least 10 magazines featuring black models. Diversity has become a major focus in the fashion industry and these covers indicate that change is happening (they also reveal how much it is needed: this is the first time a black woman – here, Rihanna – has fronted a September issue of Vogue UK). Overall, this crop feels more modern than in previous years and titles that have stuck to traditional covers look dated by comparison. While print media faces many challenges, it’s heartening to see that, this September, the commitment to glossy print products and advertising looks lively. For more discussion of the September issues, tune into The Stack at 10.00 today, on Monocle 24.

From Monocle 24

Image: Flickr

Redefining boundaries

The Urbanist

In a world where more and more people live in shared apartments until later in life, are our attitudes about privacy at home evolving?

From Monocle Films

Ethiopia and Eritrea: blue skies ahead

Celebrations have been erupting in Ethiopia and Eritrea as their 20-year conflict comes to an end. We board the first flight between Addis Ababa and Asmara since 1998 to capture the mood as friends and families are finally reunited.

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