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by Mark Irwin

I don’t know how many of us first took up the pipe under the influence of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s great detective, but I suspect that for a certain circle of adolescent literati, Holmes was a major influence. In the rather introverted circle I ran with in my late teens, literary and film influences were hugely determinative of our paradigms. The Complete Sherlock Holmes, the giant Doubleday omnibus with Christopher Morley’s introduction, was de rigueur; the Annotated Sherlock Holmes of William S. Baring-Gould a badge of distinction; and to be allowed by your parents to smoke your pipe in the house most awesome of all. As I was blessed with all three of these advantages, I can’t explain why fame and glory have so eluded me in the decades since.  Read more

by Mark Irwin

Some of you will remember and revere the kind, wise, and incredibly prolific Tom Dunn, founder and philanthropist-publisher of The Pipe Smoker’s Ephemeris. As a pin-holding member of T.U.C.O.P.S., The Universal Coterie of Pipe Smokers, which was Tom’s name for those of us united around TPSE, I can tell you with just a slight old-man’s cackle that yes, “those were the days”—those were the days, that is, when most everything we knew about the pipe-smoking community all around the world came to us through his one unique and unrepeatable newsletter, issued just whenever he got enough copy to print and had time to get around to it. Read more

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