Tuesday. 14/5/2019

The Monocle Minute

Opinion / Andrew Tuck

The place to be

Madrid. That’s where our Monocle Quality of Life Conference is happening in June and last week we were there to put finishing touches to months of preparations. Why Madrid? As you walk around the city you immediately see why: robust and evolving hospitality, design, property and independent retail scenes; a cultural landscape that is the benchmark for those seeking to be the best in the world; and an urban setting that is exciting and packed with opportunities for you to discover.

Joining us is a stellar line up of fixers and thinkers. Want to live in a better city? Meet the world’s most famous urbanist, Jan Gehl. Care about architecture? Let us introduce you to Sir David Chipperfield. Want to create a hotel that even the locals love? Listen to Inés Miro-Sans of Barcelona’s Casa Bonay. Need to repair your retail offer? Carla Sozzani of 10 Corso Como knows how.

The other key ingredient is you. If you are in design, government, retail, hospitality, technology, sustainability or business then this is a chance for you to meet people in numerous fields with a plan for creating a better quality of life for all.

The Monocle Quality of Life Conference starts on Thursday 27 June and wraps with an exclusive tour of Madrid on Saturday 29 June. You can book tickets at conference.monocle.com. But if you need to know more, please feel free to drop an email to Hannah Grundy at hg@monocle.com. Let us show you the city – and an achievable future.

International relations / USA & Iran

Keep your head

Last weekend the US military boosted its presence in the Persian Gulf after receiving intelligence about a potential Iranian attack on its resources. Then on Sunday, two Saudi oil tankers bound for the US were attacked. It’s not clear who was responsible but the move is likely to further complicate a relationship that is already strained due to tightening economic sanctions placed on Iran by the US. “Things could get completely out of hand,” Paul Rogers, professor of peace studies at the University of Bradford, told Monocle 24’s The Briefing. “You really need cool heads; you do not want people piling on the rhetoric for their own ends.” But quietly de-escalating tensions isn’t in the playbook of either country’s leader.

Politics / Armenia

Faltering start

A year on from the peaceful Armenian revolution – which resulted in politician and activist Nikol Pashinyan becoming prime minister – the country’s old political guard is being held to account. Former president Robert Kocharyan went on trial yesterday, charged with rigging the 2008 presidential election in favour of his understudy, Serzh Sargsyan, and suppressing the ensuing protests with undue military violence, resulting in 10 deaths. Kocharyan is likely to be found guilty but trying a solitary figure doesn’t represent the purge that Pashinyan has often touted. The new leader’s obsession with cleaning house seems to eclipse other priorities such as building schools, improving infrastructure and attracting foreign investment. Let’s hope such improvements are slated for the coming year.

Culture / Global

Cannes-do attitude

The world’s most prestigious film festival is always a popular target for the glossy magazines – but don’t let that trick you into thinking it’s all fodder for the gossip pages. The beating heart of the Cannes Film Festival, which begins today, is its marketplace. The Marché du Film is where the serious business happens: more than 12,000 industry professionals gather to buy and sell movies, setting the industry’s agenda for the year ahead. Much has been said about the festival’s feud with Netflix but despite the streaming service’s exclusion from the official selection (it is technically a “platform”, not a cinema) it isn’t actually banned from Cannes. As was the case last year, when Netflix snapped up two award winners, its acquisitions team will be on patrol with those famously deep pockets. Proof perhaps that when you’re a mere platform, if you can’t beat them, buy them.

F&B / Japan

Time at the bar

The streets of Tokyo are seldom filled with drunken mischief-makers. That’s why the city was shocked last Halloween when thousands gathered around the famous pedestrian crossing outside Shibuya station, drinking in the street and making a nuisance of themselves. During the mass carousing, four individuals overturned a Kei truck (a small pick-up); they were promptly arrested by Tokyo’s vigilant police. Never again. Yesterday, Shibuya mayor Ken Hasebe called time on drinking on the streets and in parks close to the station: public drinking during Halloween and potentially New Year’s Eve. A ban might make for a quieter atmosphere during these events but it’s unlikely to be much fun for sensible drinkers who will be left with little to toast.

M24 / The Menu

The Travel Top 50

Monocle’s editor in chief, Tyler Brûlé, and editor, Andrew Tuck, join Markus Hippi to introduce Monocle’s celebration of the best in the world of travel.

Monocle Films / Spain

Campus of creativity

“Foster independent thinking” is a key phrase in modern education but few places get it right. We visit Madrid’s Colegio Estudio to meet the enlightened teachers and alumni.

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