This year’s Vivid has been a plenty eventful one already for the punters of Sydney. 

Over the weekend, police and security were filmed getting physical with audience members as they broke up a stage invasion at Royal Headache‘s Sydney Opera House show, with footage of the event going viral.

Last night, Monocle and Wallpaper founder Tyler Brule spoke at the Sydney Theatre Company to a sold-out crowd as part of the Vivid Ideas festival, and has some strong words on Australia’s burgeoning nanny state.

Speaking about his own recent experiences in the country, Brule, an influential figure in publishing, said he believes that Australia is “at risk of becoming the dumbest nation on earth.”

His comments stemmed, in part, from the fact that he was pulled up for drinking a glass of wine while on the pavement outside his Monocle pop-up shop in Sydney. 

In reference to Sydney’s contentious lock-out laws, Brule said that “the public health and safety agenda win every public debate” in Australia, making life boring for the many to hypothetically protect the few. 

He warned that to an outsider, Australia is fast becoming a place where you have to pick-up a “hard-hat and hi-vis vest” along with your Visa before entering the country. The self professed rant was received with applause from the sold-out audience.

Despite the comments, Tyler did outline his close ties to Australia, having reported from the country, and even briefly working for Channel Nine from London early in his journalistic career.

Australia is also one of Monocle’s biggest markets, and after the UK and Japan, Australia is the third-biggest country of origin for its staff. Monocle’s in-house creative agency Winkcreative has also recently finished re-branding work for Brisbane Airport. 

You may recall the time that Alain De Botton called that city one of the ugliest in the world. In this case, having felt the effects of said ‘nanny state’ ourselves, we can’t help but feel that Brule has a point.


[EDITOR’S NOTE: We were in the audience at last night’s talk and heard Brule say “dumbest” in his comments, as did all those we spoke to after. We initially wondered if he may have said “dullest”, but regardless, his comments about the nanny state stand].

Photo: Sean Gallup via Getty Images