Saturday 9 April 2022 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Saturday. 9/4/2022

Monocle Weekend
Edition: Saturday

Stranger things

From Nick Cave’s doodles and Turkish hair transplants to the latest front in Nike’s turf war with Adidas, treat yourself to some tales of the unexpected in our Saturday bulletin. Plus, Raw Color’s Daniera ter Haar on the joys of breakfast. First, Andrew Tuck ponders an unlikely book project.

Opener / Andrew Tuck

Lost shoe shuffle

I was having lunch with a publisher who suggested that parts of these columns, along with the story of editing Monocle, could make for an amusing book (it’s remarkable what people will say to ensure that you pay for lunch – and I must add that a quantity of red wine had been consumed by this moment of effusiveness). Now, writing a book sounds like a lot of hard work to me but I might have sorted the title.

When we were in St Moritz the other day for the Monocle Weekender, someone asked me to recount a story, first told in this column, about ending up with three shoes, not a pair, after a mix-up in a shop. As die-hard readers of this missive will know, I threw the excess item of footwear away, much to the chagrin of my partner, who thought that I would now inevitably misplace a shoe and regret the rashness of my decision. Linda, who runs our shop in Merano, listened carefully to the tale and said, with the authority of a mountain mystic, “Sometimes you lose a shoe.” She then told us about riding pillion on a motorbike and a single shoe dislodging itself in the wind, flying off into the Tyrolean landscape, never to be seen again. Anyway, even though the book is unlikely, I think that Sometimes You Lose a Shoe: The Story of an Unlikely Editor has a certain ring to it.

Back in London I told the other half about having a great title for my latest fantasy project. He was cooking dinner and soon warmed to the naming game, trying to think of more titles that both played on my foibles and yet hinted at a modicum of wisdom too. His various suggestions included I Think I’ve Lost It and Do You Know How This Works?, as well as, uttered with glee, There’s a Problem with the Colon (I hasten to add that this is one thing that is not an issue for me, either biologically or punctuation-wise). I told him to return to his courgette and leave the naming project to me and Linda.

I recently had another good idea. I met with architects Paloma Hernaiz and Jaime Oliver, who run their Ohlab studio in Palma ​​de Mallorca. They told me that they will be moving to larger premises that are in an area of the city with numerous tattoo parlours. Their new space will come with a shop unit and they were wondering what to use it for. Should they rent it to a local tattooist? (I was thinking more along the lines of a bookshop – I imagined a cryptic lone shoe and a very slim book in the window.)

But if they go the ink-and-needle route, how about asking leading architects to design simple, modestly sized tattoos that can only be done there? Of course, you can google “architecture tattoos” and come up with a million images, including too many Chrysler Buildings warped out of shape on bulky calves, the Golden Gate Bridge spanning an admirable acreage of buttock and even a gentleman with Big Ben rising from above the waistline of his jeans.

But what I am thinking is, say, a minimalist straight line by John Pawson; a deconstructed mini-metallic masterpiece by Frank Gehry; or a contemplative dwelling by Peter Zumthor, tucked away in some natural crevice. Perhaps that could be the shop’s name: Edifices for Crevices. I’ll need to check with Linda before that gets signed off, though.

Back to St Moritz. It started snowing the night we arrived in town and, when I woke on the Saturday and pulled back the curtains, the valley was still obscured by the falling flakes. It’s only a little more than three hours from Zürich but I felt in a very different world, a little detached, in a place where your mind could start working with renewed clarity. You understand why holding summits in the summits is a wise move for warring factions or fractious industrialists. It was the perfect setting for the Winter Weekender (although our team was a joyful and harmonious set).

On the Saturday night there was a talk, hosted by Monocle’s Georgina Godwin, with the Dutch author Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer about his book Grand Hotel Europa – a story about love, cities, migration, tourism and selling the past. I asked him about the discipline of writing a book during the Q&A and he said that the key thing is stamina; he tries to write eight hours a day when he’s in his stride. And what a striking figure he is. His hair falls past his shoulders, each finger is adorned with a giant ring, his shoes are blue and he’s a man of scale, so when he dresses in his shaggy coat he could be mistaken for a bear. And he’s a thoughtful, gentle soul to boot. But I’m not sure that he is so amenable that he would write a supportive jacket quote for Sometimes You Lose a Shoe. Let’s see.

How We Live / Stressed-out politicians

Running on empty

There are many more testing political leadership roles than premier of Tasmania (writes Andrew Mueller). Australia’s island state is placid, orderly and wealthy. Everything works, pretty much. A temperate climate spares Tasmania the worst of the fires and floods that beset the mainland. Its premier faces, therefore, a relatively low degree of difficulty.

Yet Peter Gutwein (pictured), Tasmania’s 46th premier, resigned this week after barely two years in the job, essentially pleading exhaustion. “I have nothing left in the tank,” he said. “Unless you can give 110 per cent to the role of premier, you should not be doing the job. I can no longer give 110 per cent.” If this sounds more like the retirement of a footballer, there are reasons.

Image: Getty Images

As a younger man, Gutwein played Australian Rules football at a respectable level. It can be safely inferred that he does not scare or tire easily. Nevertheless, occupants of elected office in more troublesome jurisdictions – such as, say, almost any of them – might be rummaging for their tiny violins. They are entitled to this response. The rest of us are not.

Gutwein is correct and commendably honest about what high office takes out of people, and about what they should do when they feel that it has taken too much. The problem, as usual, is us, the voters. We blame politicians for everything and thank them for nothing. We consume a media that insists that they are permanently available. We expect them to have opinions about everything and scream at them when those opinions do not coincide with ours. Gutwein’s departure was punctiliously dignified and humble, perhaps too much so to serve as a cautionary turning point for our democracies. What we need – and deserve – is a politician to quit saying, “This job sucks. It doesn’t even pay that well and I’ve had it with all you dreary whiners.”

The Look / Transplant tourism

Collecting scalps

A spectacle is haunting Turkey, the spectacle of bloody-headed men (writes Alexis Self). After a brief pandemic-induced lull, they’re back. They skulk the streets of Istanbul, or zoom past on the backs of scooters, no hair flapping in the wind. On the concourses of the city’s airport, they converge. If you’ve travelled through the city in the past few years, you’ll know that it’s a strange look when you view it up close – the scarred scalp, depleted at the back, augmented at the front, ringfenced by a crimson sweatband. It calls to mind a basketball player who has been out in the sun too long. On the flight home, gazing up from your fruit salad, you’re greeted by a sea of tortured pates bobbing about in front of you.

Illustration: Mathieu De Muizon

Turkey’s hair transplant industry has been, um, growing rapidly over the past few years and is now worth at least €1.2bn to the country’s economy. In Istanbul it is estimated that 2,000 procedures take place every day – hence all the Hellraiser lookalikes at check-in. Now, I might possess an (almost) full head of hair but I have the fear, as does every man of a certain age, and know the injurious effects of bad karma. Losing one’s hair is never fun, especially not in your prime, and it’s not an affliction to be mocked.

But these pockmarked Humpty Dumpties aren’t helping themselves. There’s something about the admixture of frugality and vanity that just makes it too easy to deride. I don’t get it: if you were willing to undergo major cosmetic surgery, surely you wouldn’t go for the cheap option; and if you were vain enough to do so, why parade your mangled cranium around a major international airport? Then again, maybe you can never understand the lengths that you would go to restore your hair until it’s actually gone. Although, mark my scalp, if I ever do suffer such a loss, I’ll be English Patient-ing it up on the Anatolian coast for a few months post-op, then breezing back to London, coy and hirsute.

The Interrogator / Daniera ter Haar

Bright side of life

Daniera ter Haar (pictured) is design director and co-founder of Raw Color, a multidisciplinary studio based in Eindhoven in the Netherlands, whose clients include Adidas, Kvadrat and Selfridges. She tells us about breakfasts on the weekend, her favourite art and design bookshop and octopuses.

Image: Cleo Goossen

Coffee, tea or something pressed to go with the headlines?
Coffee. I start every day with a cappuccino. We have an analogue way of making coffee on the fire. And for the milk, we foam it nicely with a hand foamer. It takes some time to make so it’s a slow coffee but always a good one.

What’s for breakfast?
During the week it’s a big bowl with three different fruits, depending on what’s ripe and needs to be eaten. On top of that, a bit of yoghurt and some oatmeal. On the weekends, my partner Christoph and I have a big breakfast with our two boys. We have fresh bread out of the oven, eggs and juice. I always look forward to our weekend breakfasts together.

Do you have a favourite bookshop?
I like going to Motta Art Books in the centre of Eindhoven. It’s a small bookshop selling the best art and design books. I’ve been going since I studied at the Design Academy, which was more than 15 years ago.

Which radio station do you listen to?
I like to listen to Dutch-language radio station Studio Brussel. Jeroen Delodder’s show is great.

What’s your newspaper of choice?
I have an online subscription to De Volkskrant. I read it mostly in the evening after putting the boys to bed. It’s a nice moment of rest after a busy day.

Any movie recommendations?
Last weekend I watched the documentary My Octopus Teacher, an impressive story about the unusual friendship between a man and an octopus. The man slowly learns the mysteries of the underwater world by meeting this beguiling creature every day.

Do you still make an appointment to watch the nightly news?
Yes, I always try to watch the evening news. I watch NOS News on NPO 1, the Dutch TV channel. It starts at 20.00 but often I’m a bit late so I watch it with some ginger tea on the couch with Christoph.

Ad of the Week / ‘Fuck Stripes’

Back to the future

In a new, probably regular feature, we discuss an advert that has caught our eye in the past seven days. This week, it’s a nice bit of old-fashioned footwear tribalism.


Spotted in Italy, this advert (pictured), like many good ads, has a number of emotional pull factors. The first is tribalism. In an era of disintegrating brand loyalty, one contest is still going strong: Nike versus Adidas. Sure, you can own trainers by both but it’s likely that you have a favourite, depending on whether you had a pair of Air Force 1s or Superstars first. The second pull is nostalgia. This ad is for Nike Air Jordans, first minted in the mid-1980s, which are currently enjoying a third, or fourth, wave of popularity. The washed-out colour and typography encourage you to picture it plastered on a South Bronx underpass in the 1980s – and imagine yourself looking at it back then, even if you weren’t born yet. And last but not least is that four-letter word in front of “stripes”. Yep, that still has the power to turn heads.

Outpost News / Aotea FM

Sounds of sanctuary

Aotea Community Radio Trust runs the only radio station on Great Barrier Island, New Zealand (writes Annabel Martin). More than 60 per cent of the island, which lies about 90km off the Auckland coast, is protected by the country’s Department of Conservation and its natural beauty has not gone unnoticed. In 2017 it became the first island in the world to achieve International Dark Sky Sanctuary status. Aotea FM serves its community of fewer than 1,200 people by providing them with music, news and tsunami warnings. Station manager Lynda Moran tells us more.

Image: Alamy

How did the station come about?
The Aotea Community Radio Trust had its first meeting in November 2004. The station is “run by the sun” with a little help from the wind and a lot of help from the many volunteers working both behind the scenes and in front of the mic. By August 2005 it was a registered charitable trust and the dream of having an island-based radio station, run by islanders, appeared to be within reach. In December 2009, Aotea FM, broadcasting on the frequency 94.6FM, hit the airwaves and became our community station. We are now largely funded by lotteries and the Auckland council.

How did you become involved with the station?
I was first employed as its treasurer and subsequently became a DJ. I became the station manager 18 months ago, so now I’m doing all of the above.

Could you share some memorable broadcasting moments?
Once we had to get a tsunami alert on air. Everyone was tearing past me on the road and I was driving to the studio to tell people, “Get to higher ground now!” I was a bit worried in case the tsunami approached while I was there but I had approval from the emergency response team to do it. We stayed on higher ground for about four hours. After that we decided that we should have a warning on the desktop so that we can sound it remotely.

What events will you be covering in the near future?
We always look forward to the island’s Aotea Live festival for local musicians every October.

What other stations do you enjoy listening to?
I don’t listen to any others as Great Barrier Island is so remote that you can’t get any others.

What local spots do you and your colleagues enjoy hanging out at?
As we only have 1,200 people on the island, there aren’t many places to hang out! The Currach Irish Pub is great and so are My Fat Puku and Pa Beach Café.

Culture / Visit, Listen, Watch

Windows on the world

‘Dayanita Singh: Dancing with My Camera’, Gropius Bau Gropius Bau, an august museum in Berlin, hasn’t put a foot wrong under the smart directorship of Stephanie Rosenthal. This exhibition of Indian photographer Dayanita Singh’s work is enhanced by the decision to invite viewers to explore the gallery spaces freely, in no predetermined order. Singh’s images – some of riotous family parties, some of women, some of stark, empty architectural spaces – all share an elegiac, ghostly quality. The artist places her photos in wooden structures that are dismountable and portable; she thinks of these as mini-museums, which make her art accessible beyond the constraints of an institution. Each of these composites becomes a mosaic of intricate images: you will (and should) lose yourself in the detail.

‘Bronco’, Orville Peck The masked Canadian country singer returns with an emotionally charged 15-track album. If Peck’s 2019 debut, Pony, raised expectations with powerful songs such as “Dead of Night”, its full-length follow-up, Bronco, doesn’t disappoint: the country-infused beats of “Hexie Mountains” take us on a dusty road trip, while “Daytona Sand”, about a wild day in Florida, is another highlight. And, thankfully, Peck’s fashion sense remains full of lust and mystery.

‘Compartment No 6’, Juho Kuosmanen The Arctic hinterland of Murmansk Oblast is the desolate setting for Finnish writer-director Juho Kuosmanen’s muted love story Compartment No 6. The Cannes Grand Prix-winning film follows two cabinmates on a train journey to the fringes of the world – a trip that has taken on complex new meanings, given Russia’s current place in the news. It’s the 1990s and claustrophobia turns to intimacy as this odd couple – a sensitive Finnish academic and a boorish Russian construction worker – find solace in each other’s company. It’s a subtle exploration of character beyond appearances.

Fashion Update / Nick Cave

Portrait of an artist

Musician Nick Cave is letting people into his world by putting a selection of his possessions, from clothing to medical records, on display (writes Natalie Theodosi). His exhibition Stranger Than Kindness opened yesterday at Montréal’s Galerie de la Maison du Festival. “It literally has everything I ever owned – the curators pillaged their way through my stuff,” Cave tells Monocle. “They emptied the bookshelves, hauled away my desks, emptied my cupboards, stole my clothes, furniture, private correspondences, love letters, song lyrics, artwork and everything else that a grotesquely self-absorbed artist such as myself might have. They took paintings off the walls. They even took the carpets.”

Cave pays tribute to his friend and collaborator Anita Lane, who died last year, by naming the show after a song that she co-wrote in the 1980s for his band, the Bad Seeds. Instead of offering conventional merchandise, Cave put pen to paper and designed a selection of “beautiful, subversive and often absurd stuff” under the brand Cave Things. Among the highlights are cashmere jumpers co-designed with Bella Freud, ghost-shaped jewellery charms and a series of limited-edition polaroids.


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