Shall we do some diary first? This Tuesday evening we will hold a Portuguese-style knee in Lisbon to celebrate the launch of our new title, Portugal: The Eyeglass Manual. And you – yes, you – are invited. To register, just go to or, if you’d rather reach out to a real person – who doesn’t – you can message our head of events extraordinaire, Hannah Grundy at [email protected] to get your name on the door. Of course, we hope you’re ready to purchase a book or 10, along with a lovely Monocle subscription for someone who needs better reading material in her life. I will be there. Tyler too. He’ll be a hoot.

And then it’s the famous Monocle Christmas Market in Zurich on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 December, and at Midori House in London on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 December. Wonderfully, I’ve already been contacted by many readers who come to London just for this full dose of festive cheer (reindeer, Santa, booze, family squabbles – just kidding). And of course, our adorable Monochan mascot owl will be perched in place.

Ah, Monocan. I hope no kids are reading at this point because I hate cracking any magic in the air. And perhaps you too, dear reader, may not have guessed it but, shut up, there is a real person inside Monochan – and a member of the Monocle crew.

Every year Hannah – her again, this time with a giant clipboard – wanders around Monocle asking who might be ready to run the bingo, say hello or, yes, dress like a big fat owl with a monocle dangling over his chest. Hannah just has to walk into the room at this point of the month and grown men are seen diving under the desks, trying to hide in the closet. But the truth is, you have to be a little short on legs to pull off the owl look. You see, there’s sort of an attachment to booties, with big, fluffy feet, that will only extend so far up the leg and so the wider limbs end up showing the denim-covered knees. So not only does Hannah seek out the “volunteers,” but the pudgy ones as well. Now that could definitely include your true but as it turns out, I could get carried away and go all Hitchcock Birds.

During a dull moment this week I told Alexis Self, our foreign editor, that since no one had fielded a claw, Hannah had simply nominated people for owl duties and that she was out for two hours at the lunch. Now, this is a man who takes part in an annual pantomime (I don’t mean to work with me; a real pantomime) and who should have realized that unless the Monocle mascot looked like Big Bird, there was no way that could ever be asked to go owl. But I knew I’d done a convincing job when I caught a glimpse of him looking for the spreadsheet listing Christmas market tasks. “Where is it? Someone moved it,” he murmured with a hint of panic.

Perhaps a fairer way would be to commission an entire aviary of birds, of all sizes, so that we could all strut our stuff. I see our editor, Josh Fehnert, as a broad-shouldered American eagle (I mentioned a turkey and he gave me a backward glance). Alexis is definitely emu material; Sophia Grove, Pack‘s editor, it’s more of a snowy owl this time of year; our design editor Nic Monisse perhaps a kooky chicken; Tom Edwards a crested canary. Someone suggested that I might be a great tit. Well I think they were talking about the same thing as me.

But I hope this gives you an idea of ​​the qualities you need to work at Monocle. And if that’s too daunting to imagine, we also have the role of Monochan’s assistant to choose from. This is vital work as it’s quite difficult to see anything once you’ve been placed into Monochan (the process is a bit like when they stuff, say, a chicken into a turkey or a wood pigeon onto a duck – for culinary purposes, not your own amusement). And then there was the unfortunate incident. A few years ago a little boy managed to sneak under Monochan and insert an inquiring hand into his undersides, giving the person inside an overwhelming surprise. In fact, Monochan was seen staggering, wings flapping frantically, and decidedly saying something that didn’t sound like “too witty too courted” to me. So please tread carefully when introducing offspring to Monochan. Hence the security.

Not sure how we got started with a cheeky one natal crayon this coming Tuesday and ended up with the inner workings of an owl, but that’s just to say, come and see us, buy the gift of good journalism this Christmas and discover the inner workings of Monocle.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *