Hello and bonjour,
My name is Christopher Mooney, I’m a longtime Paris resident, and every Sunday I send subscribers a free newsletter on Substack called Hexagon.
Every other Wednesday I send a new chunk of The Inventions of Goya, a serialized novel about the life and work of, in my view, the most important artist of the modern era.
I also do the odd podcast. Emphasis on odd. They’re free.
Hexagon, the mothership, began as a lark a little over a year ago. I now have a circulation of around 3,000, and growing steadily.
My journalism bona fides are pretty good. I was an editor and the French correspondent at Art Review for more than a decade — and, for the five years before that, I held the same positions at Modern Painters. Before print fizzled out I wrote for dozens of magazines and newspapers, everything from New Statesman to Condé Nast Traveller to Elle to Wallpaper to Time Out to Paper to Dutch to DIE ZEIT to the Globe & Mail and the Vancouver Sun.
In the late 90s and early aughts I wrote for one of the first online publishing outlets in France — World Media — covering food, fashion, World Cup soccer, the Tour de France… you name it, World Media put out a magazine about it.
I also edited the in-house magazines of the Paris Ritz Hotel and the Hôtel Plaza Athénée.
Even back then, journalism paid peanuts. As I had expensive tastes — and three kids — I supplemented my eked-out meagers by ghostwriting for CEOs, writing catalogue essays for contemporary art galleries, writing ad copy for Publicis and other advertising agencies, and copywriting for luxury brands, including most of the houses in the LVMH group.
I still do many of these things. But I prefer writing my weekly Hexagon posts.
Hexagon, c’est quoi?
What does France represent for the French? To the serious people who are in possession of themselves, and who think deeply and pompously, it is a necessary weight in the European balance; for the others, it is a hexagon. – Georges Darien, La Belle France, 1900
What has 6 sides, 64.81 million inhabitants, 246 types of cheese, and, to quote Steve Martin, “a different word for everything”?
Eh oui. La France. Mainland France, to be precise. Not its overseas territories. But the French, when they think of the whole of France, including Corsica, including the Dom-Tom, including the uninhabited coral atoll in the eastern Pacific Ocean known as Clipperton Island, which has only been a French possession since 1931 and is home to the world's largest masked booby colony, they conjure forth an image that they first learned to sketch out in maternity school.
This is why I chose Hexagon as the name of my publication series.
Because I cover France from all six sides, namely: Culture, society, politics, history, economics and science.
Yes, this is an arbitrary breakdown, and often I’ll wander further afield, but you get the idea. I talk about everything from food to fascism to fiction to fashion to film. Nuclear energy to naturopathy to nationalism. Sex to Sartre to Sauternes to a bunch of other subjects starting with S. And I throw everything I have at it: essays, reportage, poetry, podcasts, short fiction, long nonfiction, whatever grabs my fancy.
Do you need to subscribe?
Should you, though?
Bien sur que oui. It costs less per month than a café crème or a single glass of vin ordinaire.
And subscribers earn not only my gratitude. They become part of a virtuous circle – a virtuous hexagon – that perpetuates goodness.
The six sides of this causal sequence are the following: i) Your monthly subscription will help my our bills; ii) so I won’t have to spend every waking hour chasing after money elsewhere; ii) which will allow me to wholly devote my energies to Hexagon; iv) which will result in better posts and podcasts; v) which will increase your knowledge of La Belle France and the world; vi) which will intensify your joie de vivre and make you a better lover.
So, don’t do it for me. Do it for your lovers.