Tuesday. 10/9/2019

The Monocle Minute

Opinion / Andrew Mueller

Don’t panic

A prudent householder is always braced for minor emergencies: keeping candles, batteries and a radio to hand. Residents of climates prone to extreme weather may even get in supplies of fresh water and dry food. However, few UK citizens – their countries traditionally both meteorologically and politically placid – will ever have pondered the necessity of fleeing their homes at short notice.

This past weekend, several UK police forces tweeted suggestions that people ready a “grab bag”: a cache of necessities – including duct tape, a whistle and a phone charger – to be shouldered at the onset of some maddeningly unspecified calamity. They were running with an initiative called 30 Days 30 Ways UK, a British version of a US campaign that uses the days of September to gamify preparedness: a daily email, available from 30 Days 30 Ways UK’s website, presents a daily challenge that can be crossed off upon completion.

In previous years, 30 Days 30 Ways UK has gained little traction. But in 2019, it has coincided with the month before the Brexit departure deadline on 31 October. So while other 30 Days 30 Ways UK recommendations have been basic common sense – washing hands, learning road signs – the grab bag has struck a fraying nerve. Amid the online mockery, there has also been an amount of genuine bewilderment: a reminder that if a public-information campaign fails to read the room, it can be the opposite of reassuring.

Democracy / Hong Kong

Speaking out

The failings of Hong Kong’s embattled government are likely to continue to make international headlines this month as pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong arrives in Germany to begin a string of overseas talks and interviews. The trip to Europe and the US had an inauspicious start: he was detained overnight at Hong Kong airport for a suspected breach of his bail conditions relating to an earlier arrest. Wong, 22, rose to fame during the 2014 protests; a prison sentence meant he missed out on the beginning of this year’s movement but he has since become a symbolic spokesperson for the ongoing and largely faceless protests. The accomplished orator is sure to make a compelling argument for democracy – but is Beijing listening?

Economy / Australia

Alright on the night

With Paris, Berlin, and New York all appointing night mayors, could New South Wales have its own first night premier? It certainly seems that way. The Australian state’s head of government, Gladys Berejiklian, has announced plans to wind back Sydney’s hard-nosed lockout laws, which currently prevent patrons entering bars after 1.30am. The city’s night-time economy has lost an estimated AU$1.4bn (€870m) in turnover since the legislation was introduced in 2014, with nearly half of the city’s live music venues closing and numerous bars and pubs following suit. Repairing Sydney’s status as a global city will require more work: public transport that runs all night would be a good start.

Design / Paris

Home from home

Today marks the last day in Paris of furniture and homeware fair Maison et Objet. The fair, which attracts 80,000 visitors, has the theme of “work” with a conference programme on the topic as well as a dedicated zone showcasing the best in office and workspace design. “The way people work is changing,” managing director Philippe Brocart told the Monocle Minute. “Workplaces tend more and more to resemble homes and, as our event usually has a residential focus, we thought this was a good opportunity to enter this new market.” Next year sees the fair mark its 25th anniversary with the theme of regeneration. “We’ll be looking at the habits of millennial consumers and explaining how brands, designers and retailers should be interacting with this market,” says Brocart. “It’s an exciting prospect.” Monocle is also at the fair with a café and Monocle shop – and we are happily fitting in with the work theme (we even have a whole new magazine about entrepreneurship coming your way).

M24 / Monocle on Culture

‘Succession’

Robert Bound is joined by Tim Robey and Scott Bryan to discuss Succession, the HBO dark comedy about media tycoons the Roy family.

Monocle Films / Iceland

Power pack – driving renewables

A trip to Iceland for a masterclass in sustainable living and a whizz around Audi’s electric car plant in Brussels leaves Monocle Films with a positive vision of the future.

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