As Christmas approaches, Monocle hosts parties and receptions to thank at least some of the people who have supported us throughout the year, from advertisers to photographers, correspondents to stylists. And, Thursday, we were in Paris for this very reason. What can I tell you, life is tough some days.
The couturier Rabih Kayrouz lent us his workshop, installed in what was once an experimental theater; where is it Waiting for Godot was performed for the first time. And Kamal Mouzawak organized the food – Lebanese of course – and generally set the tone chic (helped in large part by his Afghan Hound lying on an orange sofa Florence Knoll). Why am I telling you all this when you somehow missed your invitation?
Listen, this comes down to the debate about what is gained by getting together in the real world and what is lost if you try to pass video calls and Google’s hangouts as fancy replacements for real interactions. Just as there are people who think that going into an office to see coworkers takes away an extra hour in bed, there are also those who see the holidays as frivolous and potentially contentious if Carl of Accounts drinks too much milk. hen again and said something obscene instead of sticking to the spreadsheet conversation. Well, despite all these worries, they are wrong.
Here is what happened in Paris. During the evening, I met a French journalist who ended up with a large order and spoke with an American writer who agreed to make a place in his schedule to also contribute to Monocle (for e-mail, it had been far too easy for him to give me the leaflet in recent months). I also spoke with photographers and stylists whom I only know by name and heard stories about their lives and careers that brought them to life in a way I will remember. I updated friendships (I have known Kayrouz for 15 years). I heard about Paris and discussed the design, the food and the Bataclan trial which is shaking up France. None of this would have happened if I was home for a video call.
Illustration: Mathieu De Muizon
Parties, hospitality, people gathered in a house or a restaurant – everything has the power to be transformative, to tip the tired and the jaded into a common atmosphere. Mark moments, show appreciation without fuss, evaporate the frustrations of everyday life. There was a point where the DJ had hit his stride and conversations were swirling around the room, when I felt a collective spirit developing – it was enjoying the lasting power of a good party.
Of course, I understand why even in our increasingly vaccinated world, some people remain wary of partying. That’s good but let’s not pretend that something isn’t lost when the Christmas shindig is canceled.
Now that I feel bad about your invitation to Paris, how about that to cheer you up? This weekend is the Monocle Christmas Market at Midori House in London – and you are invited. All you have to do is swing. It’s free (well, until you start shopping for some gorgeous stuff) and there will be reindeer and a Santa appearance. Come on, what’s not to like?
In addition, this other happy from the north (well, from Canada at least), Mr. Tyler BrÃ»lÃ© will be present both days, just like me. We will be signing books (Monocle books, meaning you paid) and generally spreading joy. You’ll spot me easily because Tyler asked if I wouldn’t mind dressing up as an elf. He assures me it’s an honor and although I find the green leggings a bit tight in places, I accepted. So get off.