Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tyler Brûlé

Cuddled up under a red SAS blanket somewhere over Russia, I had to smile when I found a long interview with Tyler Brûlé in yesterday’s IHT. As creator of both Wallpaper and Monocle, Tyler has already been mentioned more than once here on Rawls & Me, always with the assumption that the reader would understand that, unlike him, my own take on the whole globalist lifestyle thing has always been more satirical than serious ;-)

The stated reason for the IHT interview is the launch of Tyler’s latest project, a 24h radio station called Monocle24 which aims to "sample sounds from Seoul to Stockholm”, but it quickly becomes obvious that the author is rather more fascinated by its “border-agnostic and sophisticated” founder. We learn that Tyler was born to Canadian-Estonian parents, grew up with Danish design furniture, nearly got killed on a job in Afghanistan and now runs the growing Monocle empire from his Japanese-inspired “Midori house” in London.

Despite all its existential shortcomings, Monocle is indeed an outstanding publication. Like few other magazines it has succeeded in making the world both more exciting in a Tintin-adventurous kind of way but also more familiar and smaller. From “how to retire in Kamakura” to Turkish drama exports in the Arab world, the latest issue was particular good and has thus aptly been following me around Europe for the last weeks. Yet, whenever I browse its pages, I am also experiencing a sense of post-colonial guilt. In its consumption of airport lounges, Hyatt hotels and first-class bedlinen, Monocle depicts a world completely out of reach for the vast majority of the people living on this planet. And as much as I firmly belief that it is poverty and not prosperity that we shall eradicate (!), I am afraid that Monocle may be a bit too effective in making us forget the real realities of this planet. But then again, maybe it is indeed better that people read about soft power indices and London cabs in Baku than about model trains or whatever?

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Blogger slackplan9 said...

I MUST agree. I love this magazine. Retiring in Kamakura? SURE! My former sensei in the mid-90s, Professor Murano lived in the Zaimokuza district. Loved the area. I find it interesting that another city of interest to Tyler is Beiruit. I always picture Syrian tanks in the streets. Don't know if I want to do that one...

7:18 am  

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