Tuesday 7 May 2019 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Tuesday. 7/5/2019

The Monocle Minute

Image: Shutterstock

Opinion / Andrew Mueller

Stark reminder

Last month’s funeral of Lyra McKee, the journalist shot dead during a riot in Derry on 18 April, saw a rare commingling of representatives from all sides of Northern Ireland’s divided and dysfunctional politics. The moment was not lost on the priest who conducted the service, Father Martin Magill. In a tribute that earned a standing ovation from the pews and a viral global audience, he asked the reasonable question: “Why in God’s name does it take the death of a 29-year-old woman with her whole life in front of her to get to this point?”

Message received, apparently. A new round of talks aimed at restoring Northern Ireland’s devolved government begins today at Stormont. Northern Ireland has not had a functioning government for more than two years; the stand-off between the Democratic Unionist party and Sinn Fein has its roots in an arcane row over a renewable-heating scheme. As is often the way of things in Northern Ireland, it is another wretched reflection of the sectarian schism that still underpins the country’s politics, more than 20 years after the Good Friday Agreement.

It would be grotesque to equivocate about the death of Lyra McKee, a colossal loss to her family, friends and trade. But it would be something if it turns out to have reminded Northern Ireland’s obdurate lawmakers of the stakes in play.

Image: Shutterstock

Geopolitics / USA & China

The real deal?

Washington will play host to representatives from Beijing this week, signalling the latest round of US-Sino trade talks. US treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin will meet Liu He, the vice-premier of China, as part of discussions that are hoped to end the months-long trade war. But will the two parties be able to find a resolution? According to Isabel Hilton, editor of website China Dialogue (and Monocle 24 contributor), “Both sides want one, it’s just a matter of who’s going to blink first.” Will Washington end up deciding to budge? “Trump is likely to strike a deal and say, ‘Problem solved.’ He wants a deal and that means the US is likely to make concessions.”

Image: Getty Images

Politics / USA & Europe

Oh, it’s you

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo is on a European tour but it’s unlikely he’ll be enjoying much of it. After touching down in Berlin he will meet Angela Merkel today; it’s expected that the discussion will focus on the US’s controversial rejection of the Iran nuclear deal. The German chancellor and Donald Trump have had their share of public disagreements so Pompeo’s visit isn’t likely to be very different. Then he heads to London to check in with prime minister Theresa May. He can surely expect a friendlier face at Downing Street: in the face of Brexit, May will be keen to keep “the special relationship” extra special. That said, he’ll be dealing with the messy task of laying the foundation ahead of his president’s June state visit (unhappy Londoners are already planning protests). Perhaps the heat will be off for his final stop: Greenland.

Image: Katrina Afonso

Urbanism / Toronto

Street smarts

One of Toronto’s defining features is its vast network of alleyways: there are about 2,400 weaving through the city. In recent years the Laneway Project has been helping the public get more out of these oft-overlooked spaces by partnering with communities to reimagine them as gardens, concert venues or farmers’ markets. Today the advocacy group officially launches a “toolkit” for making better use of the backstreets. The online interactive map will show residents where a laneway is being brought to life and offer guidance on how the public can get involved. It’s a novel approach to a much-maligned feature of our urban realm; other cities should follow Toronto’s lead.

Food / The Netherlands

Eat it up

Another week, another food hall. This time it’s Amsterdam’s turn: The Food Department, housed in an storied old post office right in the centre, has its grand launch party on Thursday. On top of providing hungry passers-by with everything from Indonesian small plates to oysters, it should help bring some neighbourhood life back into a very touristy area. Food halls – essentially just an upmarket evolution of the food court – have proven adept at pulling people in and, as a result, have become a popular option for regenerating under-used buildings. But as with any trend, developers should beware the copy-and-paste effect – peak food hall is surely just around the corner. Now, which way to the restaurant?

M24 / The Stack

‘Buffalo Zine’, ‘Tom Tom Magazine’, ‘Weinseller Journal’

This week we speak to the team behind ‘Buffalo Zine’. We also take a look at a magazine dedicated to female drummers and check out a beautiful Swiss title about wine.

Monocle Films / Global

The secret to finding a spring jacket

Bruce Pask, the menswear director at Bergdorf Goodman, is fêted for his unfussy personal style, so much so that the New York department store has given him his own space – B. – in one corner of its shop floor. As the mercury rises we asked Pask to give us the lowdown on picking a quintessential menswear staple: the spring jacket.


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