More Creme from Brule

I think I was a little too hard on Wallpaper magazine a few years back. I think I was taking out my problems with the boom in "lifestyle" on them. I guess it's better to have a lifestyle than to have no style. And in retrospect, Wallpaper was quite brilliant, and almost surprisingly (after its sale to Time Life), it remains a very intelligent and well-done magazine relating to the stylistic aspects of life. They do a particularly good job on travel, providing tips for a person of taste on where to stay, go, eat, drink, etc., in a different city every month. They continue to be good on architecture, furniture, and objects, and they have some of the silliest fashion spreads ever. I think a lot of the brilliance of Wallpaper came directly and indirectly (oracularly, perhaps) from its founder Tyler Brûlé. And his brilliance is showing again in his brilliant new magazine Monocle.


Monocle looks businesslike. It's compact and somewhat type-heavy for a mag published by a noted aesthete. But really it is the best jetset magazine yet. It tells you what the smartest people are doing around the world, and it tends to tell you first. The Monocle's eyebrow—that's industry jargon for the description above or below the logo like Playboy's "for the man of the world"—is "A BRIEFING ON GLOBAL AFFAIRS, BUSINESS, CULTURE AND DESIGN." I bet it hasn't altered one word from the way it appeared on the business plan. And why should it? Monocle is smart. And it's adult. It's so adult there's none of that adult stuff in it. Even the fashion is refreshingly sensible. They seem to have very good instincts on where to find excellent under-the-radar (or gaydar) product for those of us who like our labels very much on the inside.

For me the fifth issue, "July/August," is the best yet, maybe because it's the "World's Top 20 Most Liveable Cities" issue. That feature is well reported and well considered, and it will certainly give me something to think about as my approaching vacation winds down and I start to reconsider the liveability of New York City. Don't worry, that happens to be every time I go some place. Monocle also has a feature called "50 Things to Improve Your Life." And although I generally despise enumeration in magazines, particularly in the form of coverlines like "309 Essentials for Fall," Monocle, with offices in London, bureaus in New York, Zurich, and Tokyo, and correspondents all over, really comes up with some clever life-improving suggestions. I plan to look into Schiesser underwear and Nantucket red pants. I already subscribe to the Mogens Koch library system.

Anyway, I would just like to doff my Montecristi straw hat to Monocle for daring to be grown-up, intelligent, and stylish all at the same time. Monocle costs ten bucks and it's well worth it. Investigate please, my readers. You might even meet someone interesting if you're seen reading it in public.

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