Monday 18 November 2019 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Monday. 18/11/2019

The Monocle Minute

Image: Getty Images

Opinion / Robert Bound

Crunch time

In a recent interview Raymond Blanc, the Anglophile French chef, blamed the demise of the UK orchard on France’s Golden Delicious. Aided by the “Le Crunch” marketing campaign of the 1970s, crates of these sweet nothings appeared in greengrocers’ shops, turning heads and changing eating habits. “The Golden Delicious single-handedly murdered the British orchard – as a Frenchman, I do feel guilty,” said Blanc. Well said, Raymond. Every Brit knows that Golden Delicious are misnamed, mis-marketed and vile. So, in quick order, which other fruits would we consign to the permanent compost bin of history?

The durian. Asia’s favourite fruit is beloved by expat communities the world over but it certainly isn’t the new avocado and so, fortunately, hasn’t taken over western menus. A cursory Google search relays that the spiky fruit smells like a mixture of “pig shit, turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock”. It’s supposedly very nutritious but so is drinking plant fertiliser straight from the bottle.

The jackfruit. In vegan vogue as a meat alternative, this fibrous knave is creeping into sandwich territory and must be stopped. Again, it stinks. “Musky”, say converts, which is surely what we all want from a fruit.

Persimmon. This nasty little mini-pumpkin, fit for a doll’s house on Halloween, just shouldn’t be sold. You know you’re in trouble when someone says, “It tastes like it’s off but it’s not” and getting to “the fruit” requires the skill of an endlessly patient heart surgeon. Pers off.

We could go on but you all know what’s left at the breakfast buffet: the pomelo and star fruit looking forlorn with the cold scrambled eggs. Just give us a bag of Cox and be done with it.

Image: Getty Images

Politics / Lebanon

Same as the old boss

What’s next for Lebanon? As a financial crisis brews and a death has been reported at the hands of the army, tensions on the streets of Beirut and elsewhere are rising fast. Last week a cross-party consensus led to 75-year-old business tycoon and former minister Mohammad Safadi being proposed as the country’s next prime minister. However, Lina Khatib, head of the Middle East and North Africa programme at Chatham House, told Monocle 24’s The Briefing that the announcement “signals that the political class are disconnected from what people actually want, which is genuine change”. The public’s frustration is down to years of underspending, systemic corruption and a ruling political class that’s been entrenched since the end of the Lebanese civil war in 1990. Choosing an ageing business tycoon to be prime minister is probably not the change that the people have been seeking.

Image: Getty Images

Media / USA

Disney on demand

Last week Disney’s streaming service officially launched in the US, Canada and the Netherlands. So how has it fared? Despite numerous reports of bugs and the service repeatedly crashing across various devices, Disney+ attracted more than 10 million subscribers on its first day. To put that into context, Netflix has garnered 158 million subscribers since 2007. Not everyone will stay on after the free trial, of course, but at €6.99 a month for hundreds of movies and TV episodes from Disney, Pixar, Marvel and National Geographic, a fair few might. Disney+ is also putting out 30 original series, such as Star Wars franchise The Mandalorian. The downside? This is a strictly family-friendly affair, so Deadpool and other inappropriate-for-children programmes won’t be available. Still, once Disney works out the glitches, this will be a strong player in the increasingly crowded streaming industry.

Image: Flick r

Retail / USA

Putting the squeeze on

Trademark disputes are normally the domain of large corporations with the financial clout to battle it out in the courtroom. But over in Miami, things are getting heated for reasons other than the city’s balmy winter temperature. Billed as the “war of the juices”, an old-timer is challenging a rival over freshly pressed tropical fare. El Palacio de los Jugos – a no-frills juice bar and Latin food spot with several outposts across town – is taking on El Patio de los Jugos by filing a federal trademark lawsuit (and, not for the first time, against a competitor). The former has taken umbrage at not just the phonetic likeness of the latter’s name but the similar red-and-yellow colouring of their respective awnings. We’ll keep you updated on this pressing matter.

Image: Getty Images

Design / Global

Foundational story

A double delight awaits design buffs in the form of the 21st edition of Sir Banister Fletcher’s History of Architecture. An integral text in any aspiring home-designer’s education (it was voted book of the century by the American Institute of Architects in 2000), it looks at the development of the built form over the past 5,500 years. The original 1896 work focused mainly on architecture from a European perspective; now split over two volumes, it has been refreshed by 80 leading architects from around the world. The revision highlights how different cultural influences have gradually made their mark on global architecture over the centuries, says Murray Fraser, professor of architecture at The Bartlett School and the book’s general editor. “Flows and exchanges of ideas, and the creation of what might be called hybrid [buildings], have been the lifeblood of architecture,” he adds.

M24 / Eureka


Brother-and-sister duo Sean and Sara Panton founded this Vancouver-based essential-oil brand in 2014. While the pair began by blending their products in their shared kitchen, Vitruvi is now one of North America’s leading players in a fast-growing industry.

Brother-and-sister duo Sean and Sara Panton founded Vancouver-based essential-oil brand Vitruvi in 2014. While the pair began by blending their products in their shared kitchen, Vitruvi is now among North America’s leaders in the fast-growing industry. Along with being stocked by top retailer, Vitruvi design their own diffusers, recently released a book about the creation of their products, and continue to tell their story through a long-running blog called ‘Basenotes.’

Monocle Films / Global

Retail special: chocolate shops

This tasty Monocle Briefing film goes in search of the perfect bar of chocolate. In Cape Town, Tokyo and Chicago we sample sugar and spice and all things nice.


sign in to monocle

new to monocle?

Subscriptions start from £120.

Subscribe now





Monocle Radio

00:00 01:00