Tuesday 30 April 2024 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Tuesday. 30/4/2024

The Monocle Minute

The Opinion

Making waves: Crowds on Copacabana Beach

Image: Getty Images

Society / Fernando Augusto Pacheco

Into the groove

Madonna mania is sweeping Brazil in the run-up to the pop icon’s free concert in Rio de Janeiro this Saturday. The show, which will take place on Copacabana Beach, is expected to attract a record 1.5 million fans. This has resulted in a mobilisation of a scale not seen since the city hosted the 2016 Summer Olympics. The event will be an important test for Rio, which is due to welcome the G20 summit in November and is eager to attract more international events.

Negotiations for the concert have been in the works since 2021. As part of the deal, Madonna was made an ambassador for Brazil’s biggest bank, Itaú, and the city council announced that it would grant her honorary citizenship. In a lavish TV commercial filmed at the Palais Garnier in Paris, the singer declared, “Brazil, I’m coming.” The concert is expected to give the city’s economy a significant boost. Hotel occupancy rates are already hitting 100 per cent in Copacabana, while Azul airlines has increased the number of flights to the city. Millions of viewers will tune in to the concert on the country’s largest TV channel, Globo. Audiences in Brazil, one of Madonna’s biggest markets in terms of music consumption, are known to be rapturous. I have attended many of her concerts but none of them comes close to the show that I saw in São Paulo in 2008. Just imagine the spectacle this weekend as more than a million Cariocas sing along to “Like a Prayer” on Copacabana Beach.

Since 2016, Rio has made big improvements when it comes to its ability to safely host large events. There were no major incidents reported during its most recent New Year’s celebrations, for example. Let’s hope that the city welcomes Madonna with the same good vibes – as well as the world’s leaders later this year.

Fernando Augusto Pacheco is a senior correspondent for Monocle Radio. For more opinion, analysis and insight, subscribe to Monocle today.

The Briefings

Preparing for the worst: Greek defence minister Nikos Dendias

Image: Getty Images

Defence / Greece

Contingency plan

Greece’s Ministry of National Defence has unveiled plans to build a version of Israel’s Iron Dome system, despite its recent efforts to improve relations with neighbouring Turkey. Nikos Dendias, the country’s defence minister, announced in a statement that the project would cost about €2bn and include both anti-missile and anti-drone capabilities. Key details, such as the precise timeframe and where Greece will buy the equipment, have yet to be disclosed.

The move is part of Greece’s largest-ever push to modernise its armed forces. In December, Greece’s prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, held a series of high-level diplomatic meetings with Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the pair signed declarations of friendship between their respective nations. Greece, however, remains on alert. As Dendias once put it, Turkey’s ongoing military build-up and investment in its shipbuilding and drones programmes have forced Greece to prepare for “any eventuality”.

For more on Greece’s military expansion, tune in to ‘The Globalist’ on Monocle Radio from 07.00, London time.

Diplomacy / Bolivia

Making connections

Celinda Sosa Lunda, Bolivia’s foreign minister, concludes her three-day visit to Beijing today, following her visit to Russia. Her president, Luis Arce, has been courting the Brics bloc of nations – comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa and others – with the promise of increased access to his country’s world-leading lithium deposits. Securing an ample supply of the metal, a key component in electric-vehicle batteries, is crucial to China as it seeks to dominate the global industry. While Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, has confirmed that his country plans to support Bolivia’s membership of the bloc, his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, remains silent on its prospects. So far, he has only mentioned China’s wish to establish closer ties with Bolivia through its Belt and Road Initiative. It’s a surprising move, considering that China has been calling for an expansion of the Brics group. Beijing, it seems, would prefer to keep Bolivia in its own – rather than the bloc’s – sphere of influence.

Image: Puig

Fashion / Spain

Scent of success

Barcelona-based fragrance and fashion company Puig will soon go public in Europe’s biggest listing so far this year. It owns a host of beauty brands, including French couturier Jean Paul Gaultier, Sweden’s Byredo and UK entrepreneur Charlotte Tilbury’s eponymous make-up label. The market value of the company is estimated to be about €13.9bn, with a price guidance at €24.50 a share.

The IPO is expected to hit €2.6bn when trading begins on 3 May on the Madrid Stock Exchange. Puig plans to use the proceeds to refinance its recent acquisitions, as well as invest in future expansions, led by the company’s CEO, Marc Puig Guasch. With such a high valuation and the prospect of raising more capital on the horizon, Puig is a company worth watching closely.

Beyond the Headlines

Q&A / Peter Kolks and Ric Van Rest

On a roll

Peter Kolks and Ric Van Rest are the founders of Dutch skateboarding brand Pop Trading Company. Over the years they have evolved the label into a more mainstream offering through collaborations with luxury labels such as Burberry and Paul Smith. To mark their 10-year anniversary, Kolks and Van Rest have released a limited-edition book, published by Die Keure. Monocle talks to Kolks about the company’s story so far and its work with luxury labels.

The book isn’t a typical brand retrospective: it covers everything from community events to your work with artists and photographers. Did creating a book feel like a natural format to mark the past 10 years?
Yes, it did. It was like creating our own bible that highlights the brand’s achievements but also celebrates the people involved. The most important thing was to acknowledge that it was all made possible by everyone who was driven to contribute to it. This wasn’t a planned body of work. Everything that we did was almost a spur-of-the-moment decision. Our projects were led by instinct but they turned out to have a certain DNA, which evolved into what Pop represents now.

What do you see ahead for the brand?
We will just keep doing what we have always done. We will focus more on skateboarding and its community. We have plans to release a full-length skate video soon, which we have worked on for more than three years.

You’ve worked with some of the biggest names in fashion. Who is next on your list?
The collaborations are obviously fun and allow us to explore different avenues but we have decided to slow down a little in this respect and focus more on our own brand. That has meant working on this book and the upcoming video, as well as improving our own mainline collections.

Image: Ethiopia Pavilion

Monocle Radio / Monocle on Culture

Venice Biennale 2024

We bring you our dispatch from the 60th edition of the world’s most prestigious art event, which takes the temperature of contemporary art right now. In the first of two programmes, we meet the artists behind the Ethiopian, South Korean and Romanian pavilions.


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