What analog item can you not live without and why? What makes this item indispensable over its digital version?
Paperback books. Man, it sounds studiedly "Dawn of the 20th Century“ to say it but the paperback is the best way to read almost anything, especially fiction which, as we know, is the best way to learn fact. Paperbacks are the size of your two palms but potentially span a leap so far greater than the width of your mind. It‘s a fact that we absorb knowledge better off paper than off a screen and while newspapers are nice, books are best.
Will analog continue into the far future?
I believe so. We‘ve heard so much about the ‘feel’ of print and vinyl records and craft beer and all this stuff – and of course that‘s important. But what is less considered is the pure practicality of so much of the analog world – or, as it‘s otherwise known, the world. Books are more practical than e-readers, newspapers are more practical than tablets or phones. Machines with buttons are easier to use than touching a button-like part of a screen. I‘ve just bought a not-that-small house and still don‘t have space for my beloved, bloody huge 3000-strong CD collection, though. Maybe attic rooms are the most beloved of all analog things.
Does the team at Monocle see a trend towards analog items?
Well, Monocle launched as a thick, bookish, internationally-minded magazine printed on various different high-quality paper stocks a decade ago, so we have an interest in protecting the reputation of print but that doesn‘t mean we slavishly defend everything analog. We‘re on paper but we‘re also definitively contemporary while always looking to the future, after all, we‘re a business. We run an online-only 24-hour radio station and make films that are only available at Monocle.com. We do pay for photographers to go to the ends of the earth to shoot compelling images, often using film instead of digital – the equivalent of recording an album in a studio rather than on a laptop.
I think Monocle is also aware that there is a lot of fetishism and retro-love attached to some analog items that have been dragged back into a flickering and temporary limelight: cassettes were always crap, let‘s face it.
Why is Monocle so successful – as a print magazine in a world where publications increasingly go digital?
I think Monocle started with a bit of a bang a decade ago because it was different. When staff were being cut and the once-venerable news weeklies and feature-led monthlies were getting thin, we launched plump and got plumper. Plump is good because it means value for the reader and the advertiser. The success of Monocle is down to the day-and-night work of its staff, who range from editors and writers to radio producers, filmmakers, retail staff and advertising execs. We‘re all sure of what Monocle is and know if something should or should not be in the magazine, radio or online. Monocle now stands for something, it‘s not just a proper noun but an adjective.