Monday, December 10, 2007

Tyler Brûlé: Aping Phileas Fogg for Christmas

The Monocle founder and editor-in-chief Tyler Brûlé why-oh-whys in the International Herald Tribune about the lack of Christmas spirit in London and New York (nowadays). But just when I fear he maybe doing God on us and thinking of empty churches, he adds a clarifier: “Shop windows were generally joyless and there even seemed to be a lack of special packaging in the department stores.” Ah, it’s the consumer landscape that troubles him, the lack of demonstrative, tinselly commitment to Christ’s the-till-bells-are-kerching-ing. I understand.

I’m not sure he’s right. My local garden centre opened its Christmas shop in September. Their wiry robot reindeers have been head-nodding ever since as mile-long ropes of pulsating light convey the message-seed of Christ’s birth (again) and fibre-optic trees iridesce like squid. Still, Tyler offers a comparative perspective based on his incessant, manic travelling - I wouldn't want to carry his carbon-heavy conscience.

In the IHT piece alone you can count up the air miles over a few days: "During a swing through New York last week ... "; "It wasn't until I was settled in on a fully decorated Lufthansa Airbus to Munich ... "; "Back in London 24 hours later ... "; "On Tuesday evening I boarded an ANA flight from Heathrow to Tokyo Narita ... ". In Japan he finds the Christmas that matches his festive expectation: "I actually got a bit emotional at the Tsutaya bookstore in Roppongi Hills as the music piping through the store reminded me of shopping with my mom at Ogilvy's department store in Montreal ... " Ahhhh.

Fortunately, he's not tempted to fly back to Montreal. But then these days he does live in "Switzerland, Sweden and Britain".


lavinia said...

I've just gadded all around the new Fortnum's - and if you don't feel Christmassy after that you don't bloody deserve to! What DO people expect? To be force-fed reindeer pizzle?

Madame Arcati said...

As usual Lavinia, you speak much sense. I never thought you would use a word like "pizzle" though; most uncharacteristic.

lavinia said...

Entirely characteristic, dear. I was married to a military man. Reggie had a horsewhip made from donkey pizzle. In those days we were more robust than you lot.

lavinia said...

My son has just rung me from Luxembourg and said 'No, Mummy, it wasn't Daddy's horsewhip but his crop which was made from donkey pizzle'. Don't children drive you mad?

Madame Arcati said...

You mean to say, Arcati is read in Luxembourg?

The Daughter-of-a-Bitch said...

No. But obviously Lavinia is! ;-)

lavinia said...

I'm afraid to say my son Val adores you, Madame A. At his age he should have better things to occupy his time - he works in Luxembourg on the EU gravy train. Oh, the stories of waste and corruption would make your hair curl! What fools we were to ditch the Anglosphere.

val said...

Dear Madame Arcati,
You must sometimes take what Mummy says with a pinch of salt, but she's right about the waste and corruption. I'm always uncovering things. That's sort of my job, but even so . . . Many thanks for many diverting moments from the drudge of subsidy accounts.
Good wishes, Val

Madame Arcati said...

Dear Val
Thank you for your delightful note. I would be proud to have a Mummy like Lavinia, though she is a little mysterious about some of her associations (wisely). It pleases me no end to think I am read in Luxembourg, which is a bit like being told I have a fan in Transylvania. Do feel free to tell us more about any interesting information from the heart of Europe.
Merry Christmas.
MA x