THE MONOCLE SET

THE MONOCLE SET

Tyler Brûlé, or someone that looks remarkably like him from the rear is holding a glass of something that looks remarkably like Rose´, and clutching something that looks remarkably like a Blackberry, close to the bar in the downstairs restaurant at the Grand Ferdinand. He’s listening to two of the guests at this evening’s function, where the group congregating at the entrance to the hotel, beneath the Lobmeyr chandeliers, have swelled and spilled into the bar area and the main restaurant. There, tables of white linen await, laid with Wiener Silbermanufaktur cutlery. This figure, who might be Tyler Brûlé, wears a navy blazer, jeans and loafers. If it is him there is likely to be a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust clamped to the wrist beneath the cuff of that blue-and-white striped shirt. He has seldom been without it since buying the watch in Switzerland in 1983. The two men with him are talking to impress, convince or sell, and the man that might be Tyler Brûlé has the tilted posture of someone who only appears to be listening with avid interest.

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GOING OVER TO MARGOT'S HOUSE

GOING OVER TO MARGOT'S HOUSE

The fictional literary genius and playwright Margot Tenenbaum is the reason I’m in Barcelona for the first time in twenty-three years. During my visit in 1992 I had the pallor and the smoking-habit of the Wes Anderson creation from The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), but not the mink and the missing fingertip.  I spent that holiday with my Walkman headphones clamped to my ears listening to a demo from a band called Suede: ‘Won't someone give me a gun/Oh well it’s for my brother’. Days later, back home in England my brother died prematurely, while in his thirties. In hindsight that sequence of events and what followed had the hallmarks of the prologue from a Wes Anderson project. ‘The Royal Tenenbaums starts with a bomb going off. The rest of the story takes place in the wreckage’, says the critic Matt Zoller Seitz author of ‘The Wes Anderson Collection’. In Barcelona now, years after witnessing how death can disfigure a family as surely as a parental divorce fractured the Tenenbaums, I’m booked into a hotel that’s inspired by the couple's adopted daughter.

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