Looking at indie sports magazines through the lens of a Monocle

Midori House - nondescript outside, wonderful inside.
Midori House – nondescript outside, wonderful inside.

Last week I had the opportunity to do something that I have wanted to do for quite a long time: to see the inside of Midori House, the home of Monocle magazine and Winkreative, two businesses that are headed up by Tyler Brûlé.

I actually had the opportunity to meet Tyler many years ago when he was still running Wallpaper magazine and Winkreative was just getting started. My girlfriend at the time was working for Tyler on a project and I lent a hand, so there were a few trips to his offices, just off the Strand at the time.

But for quite a while now, Tyler and his team have been in Marylebone in Midori House.

I have admired what Tyler has built for as long as I have known about him. After Wallpaper, which was never really my thing, I was delighted to discover his next title: Monocle magazine. Every month I impatiently wait for it to be published and really enjoy the mix of content.

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Tyler Brûlé

Part of the Monocle publishing empire are a number of radio shows, covering subjects as diverse as entrepreneurship, foreign policy, finance and independent publishing – the latter radio show is called The Stack and it has become my favourite Monocle24 show since launching Like the Wind.

So I was really delighted to be invited to be part of Monocle24’s The Stack looking at independent sports and fitness titles.

Midori House is everything I expected of the HQ for Winkreative and Monocle – behind the fairly bland exterior are achingly cool offices and a waiting room that is as fitting for the businesses that it represents as it is possible to be.

After a brief wait, during which I browsed the Monocle books on the shelf in the reception area, I was joined by Andy Waterman, the editor of Meter magazine (published by Tracksmith, the running apparel brand). The two of us were shown through to the recording studio and Tyler jumped up to greet us and make us feel at home in what he clearly understands could be an intimidating environment. The studio is very dimly lit, with no windows, save for one that allows the production team, in the next room, to look in on us. Andy and I had a microphone and pop filter on the table in front of us. Tyler sat to the left of me, at the head of the table, behind his laptop with his own microphone and headphones on.

Screen Shot 2016-04-03 at 19.41.16We had a couple of instructions from Tyler and then we were off. If you have a chance to listen to the recording on the radio show, I am sure it will be immediately apparent that Tyler is incredibly professional. His questions were well researched and he is clearly passionate about his subject. I stumbled early in the show with one of my answers, but Tyler just picked that up and turned it into another question, without missing a beat.

I hope that the show is interesting. I love talking about running and magazines. Personally I really enjoyed hearing Andy, from Meter, give his perspective on publishing in the running sector. In particular, his theory on how the English translation of a great cycling book, The Rider, launched a thousand ships in cycling including Rouleur and, indeed, Rapha, was really interesting.

All in all, being a part of the show was a huge pleasure.

Actually just being in Midori House was great for me – really inspiring. Tyler launched Winkreative 18 years ago. Monocle is nine years old. I really want Freestak and Like the Wind to be the best they can possibly be and looking at what Tyler has created inspires me to work even harder on what Julie and I have started.

And more than anything, I discovered that I have a great face for radio!

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