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di Mark Irwin

 A few years ago I read a discussion of a lightweight specialty pipe made by a certain Irish pipe maker which one pipeman referred to it as “the ideal flake pipe.” Well, I’ve smoked flakes my whole life and it got me to wondering: could there be such a thing as the ideal flake pipe? The perfect flake smoking instrument, the ne plus ultra of kapnismological flake engineering? The first thing I did (of course) was save up to get a pipe exactly like the one this fellow was describing. I’m sure you can guess the outcome: disillusionment, disappointment, disenchantment in discovering that not only was this pipe not the ideal flake pipe—not my ideal flake pipe, anyway—but it didn’t perform nearly as well in that service as many of the pipes already in my regular rotation! Okay. So much for “ideal” flake pipes. Leggi di più

Taggato:
Cavicchi |

di “Chas” Mundungus, w/ Luca di Piazza & Sensei Rainer Kockegey-Lorenz

Two of my favorite pipe-subjects are aesthetics and spirituality. On the latter, more later. But on the former—“the question of style,” as Sensei Fred Hanna and Richard Esserman write so convincingly about in The Perfect Smoke (169ff.)—where does the work of Claudio Cavicchi, one of my favorite Italian pipe-makers, fall? Using the Hanna/Esserman criteria, should Cavicchi be considered an “artisan,” an “artist” or a “master pipe maker”?*       To be classified as “artisan,” Hanna & Esserman write, “one must be highly skilled and accomplished, with a high degree of technical competence. A pipe is a functional instrument, not simply a decorative object.” I’d say 25-40% of the American-made pipes carved by individual makers I saw at last May’s Chicagoland show fail to meet this standard, even though some of their pipes were going for $500 or more.  Leggi di più

Taggato:
Cavicchi |

di Luca di Piazza

Immagini dallo Show... Leggi di più

di Mark Irwin

 I’m mad about chubbies. My analyst Doc Irwin says it’s because I was chubby as a kid. When everyone else was buying their shrink-to-fit Levi 501s, I was buying Expand-O-Matic Huskies With The Patented Double Knee at Sears & Roebuck. Even in grad school one of my best friends said, “You’re not really chubby—that’s just happy fat. Buddha tummy.” Yeah, right.      I think (pace my analyst) that my infatuation with fat pipes is a no-brainer. Wasn’t it a head-on collision with chubbies that precipitated my PAD in the first place?2 There’s something about a chubby pipe that goes deep-down into that Comfort Zone of the soul, that same place occupied in my heart by craft beers, Cheez-Its, hickory-smoked ribs, double-crust peach cobbler and the great bluesmen—guys like Willie Dixon, Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters. Your Comfort Zone will be different than mine of course, but you know it when you’re in it.  Leggi di più

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