I usually don’t read magazines much, if at all and I most certainly don’t have a favourite magazine, until today.
Monocle, the first magazine that I have ever fallen in awe and in love with, is what I want to share with everyone today.
Appearances can be deceiving, so do not be deceived by the Gucci, Prada and Rolex advertisements that litters its pages and covers, Monocle is not just another magazine for the rich and famous. Citing itself as “A briefing on global affairs, business, culture and design”, it lives up to its name and beyond. I’ve learnt more about Germany today than I have my entire life, so that’s gotta count as something right?
I’ve never been one for current affairs, but I willingly sat through pages upon pages of global affairs, from the German army’s structural revolution to Kaohsiung’s upcoming developments, and devoured the pieces with vigour, eagerly turning the pages for more. Monocle’s charm is decidedly in its readability. Every article is written for the layman, an intelligent layman,but a layman nonetheless. There are no flashy jargons thrown around and facts are slid in in unassuming ways, although biases are available in truckloads. Granted, no articles are completely neutral and void of authors’ biases, but Monocle makes sure that their authors’ voices, biases and all, are heard loud and clear through their writings. And that’s what makes Monocle so readable, you feel like you’re having an intelligent conversation with a person, dry wit and all, and not reading a mundane news report. A fresh perspective of the world is what they are selling and they have gotten their craft down pat.
Monocle knows who their target audiences are and it knows them well. They are absolutely right when they say that “a magazine with quality journalism, matched with unrivaled printing will always find an audience for the printed product”. People who read Monocle are those who are hipster enough to still prefer print to digital content but are trendsetting enough to crave information on the latest happenings around the world, that isn’t in your everyday news. Tree-hugging evidently has never been so profitable, an irony given that the magazine is printed on paper (most likely not recycled). Monocle’s angle is that of sustainability, organic products, democratic politics and underground arts and design, you see it in every journalist’s voice, you see it in their products in the Monocle shop and you definitely see it in their subject choices; yet they manage to earn enough have offices in all the most expensive cities in the world, London, New York, Tokyo and many more. Apparently there are either many almost hipsters and (or) they are also very rich.
Which is probably the reason why Monocle has eluded my grasp for so many years is probably because of its price point. Being a 206 page thick magazine, with honestly high quality print and design, there is no way this magazine was going to come out cheap. Quality being a core value at Monocle, you pay for what you get, which is a SDG$19.90 for each copy. That’s considerably more expensive that other magazines out there, a valid explanation (from the school’s point of view anyway) why all the education institutions I’ve attended failed to provide this masterpiece. Had they done so, my magazine readings would have actually been read instead of sitting inside my desk like rotting leaves on the forest ground. Although Monocle only has 10 issues a year, that’s a little less than an issue a month, it’s so rich in content that it’ll keep you occupied (and re-reading) for months to come. To tide you over, their website provides you with Monocle 24 (their radio) and short films, which stand-alone may be a tad dis-orienting but are great compliments to the magazine.
Honestly though, despite the prices and original target audience Monocle has in mind, this magazine ought to be made available for everyone, or at least at places of higher educations. Its genuinely global (meaning not just blindly focusing on US, UK, China and other power players) perspective and refreshing style means students will be willing to read said magazine (unlike the Economist and Times magazine which occasionally manages to come off as snobbish or overly obscure)and be more interested to become engaged in current affairs and grow to be more globalized.
I would really like to conclude this with, “Go grab your own issue of Monocle from the nearest news stand!” But Monocle is special precisely because it isn’t available on your news stands. They cater to a specific audience who are dedicated and loyal to their cause, who are willing to pay for their own copy, hot off the press, that is shipped to their doorstep. Despite all this, Monocle isn’t a selective community, it’s an amiable community that welcomes new members with open arms. Yes, the initiation fee is a bit off-putting but what you gain is so much more that forking out the same money a second time doesn’t seem so painful anymore, if at all.