I know I’ve gushed about Monocle before, so I should try not to, however,. its really very hard for me to not want to go on and on about this magazine, its just perfect in every way imaginable…
The current issue (May ’09) has a special report coverline, which reads; “Vikings vs Pirates” this, coupled with the stunning “model” good-looks of two Danish Navy personnel, with their faces bathed in a warm sunset glow, the sea and sky filling the horizon level… its like the beginning of an amazing epic war movie… (I keep on waiting for a pumping soundtrack to kick in!!)
…all joking aside, its a serious and powerful feature on Somali pirates, stating that:
“…pirates attacked over 120 ships last year and netted an estimated $40m (€29.2m) in ransoms…”
The feature portrays the Danish Navy with the utmost respect for what they are doing, for their skills, professionalism and modern approaches.
Reading about a more modern approach, is so completely the opposite to what I’ve seen portrayed in (American military) movies whereby the hierarchy rules are absolutely rigid, it just seems sort of shocking…. however, the beauty of the feature is you read and see people as being people, not just a uniform.
…and yet there they are, in with over 10,000 square miles to patrol, one sailor is quoted as saying:
“Its like policing the US with a scooter”
One distress signal that they pick up is from a Chinese ship, under attack, but given its distance it would take a full 24hours to get to them, by which time the pirates would be long-gone. The frustration must be agonizing. The sheer scale of this, to me, is just amazing, incomprehensible even..
Also consider these “pirates” they are such desperate people, armed with:
“Rusting Soviet-era weaponry and handmade ladders…”
– however the Danes take the human rights of these individuals very seriously and rigidly follow legislation, the feature continues to say that the pirates are so well treated, in regards to being well looked after and well-fed they often gain a little weight…and even given access to cigarettes should they so wish…
I know that there has been a lot of coverage over this, the UK launch issue of Wired magazine, so I guess I don’t need to go on about it!
And well, apart from the absolutely stunning cover artwork, (below)
I wanted to highlight the fantastic feature “Cowboys of the Deep”, which had me completely riveted whilst I was reading it, honestly it read like a movie staring Bruce Willis (circa 1988) it just oozes maleness and testosterone, you half expect someone to cry out “Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker” – and I’m really not kidding, these guys are risking life and limb (quite literally as it happens) to “right” a capsizing freighter packed full of cargo.
Using a lot of computer-wizardry and a lot of machomusclepower and experienced know-how a small team set to put the troubled freighter right. Its an really intensely frightening ordeal. I gathered that these men are handsomely paid, but I still cannot comprehend why on earth people choose to risk absolutely everything, (and are so cavalier about it…) and yet, the potential ‘greater disater’ if the ship flips, or flip flops, or sinks,. is also hard to imagine as a good outcome… so hurray for these crazy bunch of misfits.
The round-up sections were also a treat and I enjoyed reading about the current crop of fantastic commuter bikes and high-performance laptops:
Elle Decoration, May 09
With a lot of blossom and a little sunshine, it seems Spring has arrived… and the current issue of Elle Decoration, is, indeed very bright and Spring-like… I still have a weakness for all things bright and beautiful and in the current issue, the glimpses of beautiful private homes, as ever, a treat, from the coverstory, Fresh & Wild of a designer New York pad, to a hidden gem home in Barcelona to the modernist Californian home… plus all the usual extra round-ups…
Best of the best…
Little White Lies
I bought the – hopefully still – current issue of Little White Lies as I love movies, I love reading about them, however, I usually shun horror movies, (I am such a wuss) but once you start reading about “Let The Right One In” there’s something about this small, quirky, Swedish film, that according to the buzz surrounding it, is set to be modern-cult-classic… tempting…now I just need the courage to actually go see it…
A really interesting interview with the director of “Let The Right One In” and as you can see, above, a fantastically designed spread, to me, this is the exact reason why Little White Lies is such a fantastic magazine, as it really enjoys what it is doing and as you get the impression that they’re enjoying it, I, in turn, enjoy it all the more too…Still on the vampire topic and another example of Little White Lies beautiful layout, Lawrence Pearce, writer and director “Night Junkies” shown, below:
Little White Lies, also comes packed with reviews of upcoming or current released movies: sample below of reviews:
The layout for reviews is very simple and clear, again exactly what a reader wants…
In this current issue, covering all things-vampire, “blood” obviously rates quite high as a visual theme, however, there is an amazing and incredibly serious feature about the illegal blood trade in China, entitled “Blood of the Dragon”, pictured below, and is one of the most horrific HIV/AIDs features I’ve read. I have to commend Little White Lies for including this feature, ballsy move…
I was quite overwhelmed, when reading journalist, Pierre Haski detailing his horrible dilemma when faced with the problem of how to answer a woman and her husband, who have just returned from hospital, she has a fever and no one has told her what she has, no help, no information – her husband innocently questions, is it contagious? – what do you say…? OK so, I am not the most politically-thinking person in the world, and don’t really know that much about China, but when I read this and the following:
“…This was June 2001. This woman was HIV-positive, but had no idea about the nature of her illness. She and her family knew nothing of a virus that had been known in the rest of the world for the previous two decades. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, China pretended AIDS didn’t exist. The government didn’t inform its citizens about the disease’s transmission modes, and covered up cases like this one, due to official negligence…”
…it makes me very sad and very angry. The feature cites the selling of bloody by people living in poverty, from isolated/rural areas, it was seen as a great means for literally making money. This was back in the 90’s and through corruption, disorganization and a lack of basic sanitary/hygiene it all went horrifically wrong and when contaminated blood was discovered the blood drive just closed-up shop and left… no reasons given, no information, no warnings as to what was to come…the feature explains that given the economics of selling blood, in these areas, had created such a valuable source of income there were even riots over these closures…
It really is a powerfully written feature, I really urge people to go read it… also noted at the end of the feature: Pierre Haski’s book, “China’s Blood Trade” is published by Grasset (Paris) and Susanna Lea Associates.