San Yin’s Magzine spotlight

Monocle

A briefing on global affairs, business, culture & design

Issue 12, volume 02, April 2008, € 8,95

monocle.jpgAt The American Book Center, we stock a good selection of magazines on global affairs, and on business. We also have magazines on culture and on design. But none of them combine these four subjects in a structured way. Monocle does.

Monocle is obviously geared towards the cosmopolitan elite; it’s full of luxurious advertisements. But it does also have some in depth articles. This month’s issue, for example has a report on Kosovo and its road to independence. It gives a good overview of the situation, and presents different angles on the conflict’s problems, but after reading it, I still have the feeling that a bit more depth would have been more satisfying.

In the global affairs section there are a lot of small articles on all kinds of current affairs. They range from a profile on Chancellor Merkel of Germany, to a Q&A with Fadela Amara, the French secretary of state for urban policies. Although fairly short, these articles are amusing and interesting.

On to the business section then. Monocle goes into the world of precious cargo transportation. Although we do not have a gold standard anymore, The trade of gold bullion between the world’s financial markets is still flourishing. The gold is not only traded in a virtual way; it also needs to be physically transported from one market, say London to another financial market say Chicago. This process is researched by Monocle. Also in the business section: a spotlight on two towns: Georgetown, Malaysia, and Hamburg Germany.

In the culture section, the main article ask whether state broadcasting companies companies are independent or just a front for propaganda? Furthermore Monocle interviews a foreign correspondent – in this case Corine Lesnes of the Monde – on foreign coverage of the US presidential elections. Some small articles and some reviews on art, books, music and movies make the section complete.

In the Design section Paul Mijksenaar is interviewed. He creates signage systems and JFK, Schiphol and Frankfurt airports have all consulted him. Some city spotlights, spring shopping, gift ideas, a hotel review, a fashion report and more articles on design make this section of Monocle complete.

At the back of the magazine, there is even a bonus: a mini manga with nice artwork and a good story. I think Monocle’s articles are too succinct, and a bit too categorized. But on the other hand, there’s a wide range of interesting subjects on offer. A classy magazine.