So, in their issue35 [July/August 2010], MONOCLE showcase their Global Ranking of the World’s Most Livable Cities + five with a little more sun and sauce _here comes Beirut.
As always, I slurp to MONOCLE. This time was exciting, expecting an artsy review of my lover, but the Expo couldn’t have been more horrible. I feel backstabbed, but I’m a big boy, and it’ll pass – sooner or later.
The massacre starts here: 15 Beirut – Photographer Felix Bruggemann flies to Beirut joining our correspondent based there, Carole Corm for this month’s Expo
WRITER Carole Corm
PHOTOGRAPHER Felix Bruggemann
Carole, I think you should go out more. This is my only comment on the text. This is Beirut. You are from Beirut, this is not a text about Beirut, it might be an experiment on detached-third-person-topic-elaboration, and you have succeeded in that, sadly.
So, there are no photographers in Beirut anymore. In a city where everyone is his, her or someone else’s artist, MONOCLE decided to fly a photographer to Beirut in order to produce photographs that will portray the city in an international print outlet. I am convinced. I am, for maybe Mr. Brug is the Annie Leibovitz of urban-scape, and that the nectar of Beirut cannot be captured except via his lens. I convinced myself, because it’s MONOCLE..and MONOCLE just does it right, but this time it fucked big time.
22 photographs of Beirut, which I will not even bother to scan, in a copy that I do not advise you to buy – to keep the damage as minimal as possible – portray the city in its shallowest. Hamra street, the most outrageously flamboyant shopping lane the city has to offer is portrayed with a half-page close-up of two men in a convertible – the rest (Hamra street perhaps) left completely out of focus. The photo is tagged, with the top down on Hamra street. Enticing.Achrafieh is represented by a tree with pink flowers, yes that same one you have everywhere in Beirut – not that I dislike it, but if you want to show Achrafieh, make me touch the skanky lust of this place, the l’arabe-c’est-my-second-langue-uh-oh of life, the tacky liquorish of urban neighborhood life, the super-designed flicks that you stumble upon in between roars of stone that make your teta look like a toddler in polka dots and ghazl el banet.. and I’m still figuring out why fashion assistant Tala Hjiar sending a text outside Kayan bar, Rue de Liban is crucial to display Beirut. I don’t mind her, she is smiling, but I just don’t get it. The list goes on, but I’m just too bored to diss MONOCLE, I’m too sad I have to.
The only picture that made me feel anything was 14 Souk al Tayeb, Beirut’s first farmer’s market. It’s that you feel this lady looking up, at the morphing city, the way you would walk in Beirut – in her hands, organic produce from Souk el Tayeb in the background – you see her a few minutes ago, smelling the herbs and making impromptu recipes of whatever she sees of this and touches of that – you see her now, wandering around, in her own Beirut – probably wondering what wine would go with what she just decided to make for dinner, and meticulously pondered-upon guestlists that she should call by now – you see her in a couple of hours, in her kitchen, her final touches before her bell would ring – her comrades in this sex of a city, all in the process of forgetting a yesterday – making today as gaudy as can be – peer-pressuring tomorrow into something, none of them has ever seen before.