The Monocle Minute

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The week ahead, opportunities and observations
Saturday 17 November 2018

Retail

Image: Getty Images

Pouvons-nous vous aider?

Galeries Lafayette is sold on spending big on customer service for its new flagship store in Paris.

Do you love fashion, have a good grasp of technology and boast a quirky personality? Then you should submit your name to the Retail Academy that Galeries Lafayette is launching to train staff for its forthcoming department store. The Parisian retail group is looking for 300 employees (“personal stylists”) to be in place for its flagship opening on the Champs-Élysées in spring 2019. The course, a mix of face-to-face workshops and online tutorials, has been created by Galeries Lafayette’s in-house training arm in collaboration with the French Institute of Fashion (IFM) and Les Clefs d’Or, the hospitality school. It’s telling that one of Europe’s most dynamic department-store players is placing such a high priority on customer service. Sign us up.

Literature

Image: Flickr / Tim Bsn

Conference to die for

Crime-fiction writers and enthusiasts are gathering in Reykjavik for Iceland Noir 2018. Will they come out alive?

It may be small but Iceland is used to punching above its weight when it comes to literature. It occupies a no-less-significant place in the Nordic noir genre than larger neighbours Norway and Sweden. This weekend Reykjavik hosts Iceland Noir 2018, a celebration of crime fiction at the Iono Theatre. Panel discussions will feature native novelists Yrsa Siguroardottir and Ragnar Jonasson and Iceland’s prime minister Katrin Jakobsdottir, who is an expert on the subject herself. They will be joined by Sunday Times critic Karen Robinson and Mark Billingham, creator of the Tom Thorne detective series. Top of the agenda? Trying to work out how authors in a country with one of the world’s lowest crime rates find the inspiration for their grisly plots.

Television

Image: Getty Images

Pasta remote

HBO’s adaptation of Italian books is their first foray into foreign-language programming. It should make for compelling viewing.

Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels, the popular books about the friendship of two women in postwar Italy, have already made waves globally. But the release of television adaptations by HBO and Italy’s national broadcaster RAI – starting in the US with tomorrow’s take on the first book My Brilliant Friend – is a real soft-power coup for the bel paese. Filmed in Naples, the eight-part series is the US pay-television giant’s first foray into foreign-language television. The amateur cast speak in Neapolitan so the series will be subtitled even for Italian audiences, who struggle to understand the dialect. It’s a brave move but staying true to the raw context of the books should make this dissection of affection and jealousy all the more powerful.

F&B

Far-east feast

Taipei is serving up the annual Taiwan International Food Expo this weekend. So what’s cooking?

Things are spicing up in Taipei as it plays host to Taiwan’s annual Taiwan International Food Expo. The city has a vibrant food and drink culture and and there will be a host of small businesses seeking investors at the event. Taiwan draws influence from the Sichuan food of its close neighbour China and shares culinary interests with Japan. But western influences also hold sway in the luxury market. Small Taiwanese firms are just as likely to make whiskey as saké: brands such as Erdington and Hunter Laing tap into the spirits market by adopting UK designs and flavours. It’s a signal that, while local produce is still a draw, the Taiwanese melting pot is only growing richer. Cheers to that.

From Monocle 24

Image: Franzina Trattoria

Making the world a better place

The Menu

Giles Coren on the world’s most ethical and sustainable restaurants, how kombucha tea has become a global hit and why Cape Town is rediscovering the ingredients used by the area’s indigenous population.

From Monocle Films

Venice: finding Freespace

Monocle editor Andrew Tuck navigates the Arsenale to find out how architects have responded to the curatorial theme of this year’s Venice Biennale of Architecture.

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