Being a sentient idiot, naturally I've long been obsessed with Tyler Brûlé — man of the world, aesthete, gentleman, rich person and media mogul.
For those unfamiliar with the man, first of all, he founded design Bible Wallpaper, and now he runs urbane-person's manual, Monocle. But he started out as a journalist, injured his hand in the line of duty in Kabul, and now writes a "lifestyle" column for the FT called "the Fast Lane" which is second only to How to Spend It's "Perfect Weekend" in FT-column-aspirational-absurdity. Of his Monocle empire, New York writes,
But Monocle is not only the magazine. There's Monocle radio, which offers up interviews with the Estonian prime minister live from Tallinn, and with the best Lebanese fashion designer working in Paris these days. There's Monocle retail; there are now several Monocle stores around the world, including one that just popped up on Hudson Street. And starting December 18, there will be Monocle TV on the Bloomberg network. It's a weekly hour of what Brûlé describes as "gentle, good, informative viewing" not unlike old episodes of 60 Minutes or even CBS's retro Sunday Morning. The show will feature magazine-style reports from Monocle's correspondents that are unhurried in tone. About it he says this: "I hope it will be a return to more elegant television."
Apparently the urbane staff of Monocle practice what they preach. Here's a description of a staff lunch:
One spring day in London, three of Brûlé's deputies are at lunch at Dean Street Townhouse, the trendiest restaurant in the city right now, sipping glasses of white wine and comparing their Brazilian tans-they've all just gotten back."We always sit down for dinner together at the office," says editor Andrew Tuck. "It's just a choice of how to live."
Best of all, the New York profile brings a list of stuff Brûlé's into right now, which includes: male knee-length long johns; a Portuguese breed of dog called a Podengo; the Mercedes GLK ("the new Subaru Forester?") and Finland's national branding strategy.
What's fascinating about Tyler Brûlé is not just that he's ridiculous, but that he's kind of for real: like, his life is really like this and he's created this character that he actually seems to live, 24/7. The profile quotes one of his FT columns, which will give you an idea of his life and art: "With a little more work, we were able to get my trainer Vivi over from Switzerland for early mornings at a private gym in Fitzrovia, and some calls to friends at the Foreign Office helped us track down an Arabic teacher who could do private classes straight after the gym." They're all like that. It's like if Martha Stewart was a gay man who was more into high-speed trains than crafting, but just as oblivious, and you couldn't write a tell-all about her because it was all for real instead of a facade. The real mystery of Tyler Brûlé is how he can basically be a professional rich person, and somehow not make you hate him. I think it's the fact that a) his life looks really exhausting and kind of sterile and b) that he's really, really earnest. That and his column makes one of the best consistent read-alouds in print media. And the fact that, with that name, he really had no option.
Planet Monocle [New York]