I’ve got a fetish for Monocle magazine. The sleek design, its stories and the bookish feeling it has when touching it captures me. I just got 9 past issues of the magazine which were lacking in my collection. Of course, they’re all used and worn, but still they’ve cost me a little fortune!
The writers at Monocle, and especially Tyler Brûlé, like to indulge themselves in fantasy efforts about the perfect spa, the perfect neighborhood, the perfect cruise liners, the perfect news broadcaster… you name it. Considering their love for airlines and airports, one of their more obvious inclinations is devising the perfect airline, as they did last month (June 2010) with the Nippon Nordic Air (last issue #34) .
This month, on the Monocle Mediterraneo newspaper, Tyler Brûlé shares his thoughts about a new cross-Mediterranean airline, aptly called the “Phoenician airline”:
The Phoenician airline
Following the outstanding reception for our new global airline Nippon Nordic (see the centrefold in issue 34) we’ve started thinking about a new carrier focused on serving the bustling cities and sparkling resorts of the Mediterranean basin. Operating from four bases (Beirut’s Ralik Hariri International, Naples, Tunis and Barcelona), Phoeniciair is a transport business the market is currently lacking. Ever tried to get from Bodrum to Nice? Tangiers to Palermo? Valencia to Valletta? Unless you have regular use of a peppy little Challenger jet, such journeys will involve at least one connection that will suck you into the heart of Europe and then send you back southeast or west. Rewind 2,500 years ago and the Mediterranean’s main cities had better point-to-point connections than they do today – albeit by galley rather than Airbus or Boeing.
Aimed at both the business and leisure segments, Phoenician is the airline that’s not only missing from the summer travel equation but also Nicolas Sarkozy’s vision of a more economically vibrant Med (essay 04). Monday to Friday, Phoeneciair will target shipping executives who need to get from Marseilles to Alexandria, models who need to make it from Ibiza to Rome for their next shoot and hoteliers who need to check up on the construction of new resorts in Puglia, Aleppo and Tel Aviv. From Friday morning, Phoenician’s focus and schedule alters to respond to all of those Europeans who want a bit of sun, salt water and long, lazy lunches. Timetables will be planned to get long-weekenders to their destinations first thing Friday morning and departures back to Europe’s major business hubs will lease late on Sunday evening or early Monday.
Flying a fleet of Airbuses (318s and 319s), Phoenician’s route network will connect cities and regions both east-west and north-south – along with Europe’s major financial centres. On board, Adonis class (business) will feature a small cabin (12 seats) with chairs fit for a sultan and Shed class (economy – also named after a Phoenician god) will have plenty of space for leggy Germans flying between Mykonos and Palma with their Hotel Belvedere and Bottega totes. The crew will hail from the happiest and most service-minded corners of the Med (this means a largely Lebanese contingent in the cabin) and will he decked out in jaunty tunics from Liwan (boys included). Phoenician’s not taking bookings just yet but hopefully someone will be inspired enough to get a limited service up and running by this time next summer.
FURTHER THINKING: Geneva-based Baboo comes close to Phoeneciair but needs to grow its network.
– Article by Tyler Brûlé, Editor in Chief, Monocle magazine
The launch of Tyler Brule’s second child, Monocle magazine, is now a reality. For those who haven’t had the opportunity to buy one, I must tell them that visually the magazine impresses by its weight: Monocle is on four paper stocks (and the paper trim is Monocle’s own specification) and at over 240 pages, it’s as fat as a book.
The new mag has been met with overwhelming acclaim from most quarters. These are some remarkable reactions and comments by analysts who have held the first issue on their hands:
“I have a copy of Monocle in my hands and it is heavyweight, both intellectually and physically.”
“With a mix of business news, world affairs, culture and design, Monocle looks and feels like a heavyweight cross between The Economist and National Geographic.”
“Where Brûlé wallpaper* could legitimately have been described as ‘style with substance,’ Monocole is the inversion, arguably well summed-up as ‘substance with style’ — this is a very different magazine.”
“ Self-described in the tagline as “a briefing on global affairs, business, culture & design” (right, narrow mandate, where wallpaper*’s pages were glossy with images of glistening models and chic accoutrements, Monocle’s are almost ostentatiously matte, with a much higher text-to-image ratio and a seeming emphasis on using the eye as an adjunct to the brain.”
In autumn last year there was a press release which announced the launch of Monocle magazine by Tyler Brûlé. It announced the magazine as almost revolutionary, and it seems that the guys at Monocle have done things very differently from standard practices: they did not use a market research firm to test the product before going to market, and “we didn’t focus group it,” says Brûlé. He adds that advertisers are paying full rate from the outset: “They had to buy a first-class seat,”. There were no discounts and no special favours.
Additionally, on the magazine there is not a single story generated by a press release, also according to Brûlé. Nor are there “freebies” or cozy trips laid on by friendly PR agencies trying to procure favourable coverage for clients.
The mag shuns celebs (that includes celebrity writers; we have no star columnists, no picture bylines), and there is zero people gossip, and there are no stories on the “hot topic of the moment” either.
Coinciding with the launch of Monocle’s first issue, insiders Dan Hill and Andrew Tuck have written two pieces revealing the path to the launch:
De casualidad me he enterado de que Tyler Brûlé, el trend-setter y alma máter de Wallpaper*, sacará en breve una nueva revista, llamada Monocle.
Aquí está la nota de prensa en PDF: Monocle_ReleaseEng.pdf
Actualmente la web monocle.com dice esto:
We believe it’s time for a new, global, European based media brand. With a keen focus, strong reporting, sharp wit and more classic approach to design, we’ve dubbed our venture Monocle.
At the core there’s a monthly magazine delivering the most original coverage in global affairs, business, culture and design. Alongside, there’s a web-base broadcast component covering the same areas through a variety of bulletins, mini-documentaries and talk formats. Focus on informing and entertaining an international audience of disillusioned readers, listeners and viewers, it is our intention to create a community of the most interested and interesting people in the world.
Edited out of London, Monocle is staffed by a team pulled from the world’s leading news outlets, magazines and broadcasters. Conceived by Wallpaper* founder and Financial Times columnist Tyler Brûlé, the launch team calls on some of his old alumni and new talent from The Independent, the BBC, Branches of Condé Nast and a host of other news outlets. Versed in politics, popular culture, business affairs, media, architecture and design, the editorial team will cover the world from its London hub and dedicated bureaux in Tokyo, Zurich and New York. Monocle will be driven by offering original, never-before-seen content to an audience of well-heeled, intelligent opinion leaders around the world.
Conociendo el fetiche de Tyler Brûlé por todo lo sueco (y por extensión, escandinavo) y japonés, no sorprende que la nota de prensa se haya editado en tres idiomas: inglés, sueco y japonés.
Este es el aspecto actual de la web de Monocle a Noviembre 2006: