Saturday, 22 January 2011

The Art of Being a Man ( The Scandinavian Flick )

When referring to gentlemen's sports, people tend to nominate only the boring, white-collar , Versace-suit games like snooker , golf , curling or cricket. Which is true, if the gentleman miraculously happen to also be an accountant...or...ecologist...or...not a gentleman.

Truth is, the very first and genuine gentlemen's sport was rather dangerous and dirty. It was the designer suits' nightmare and it didn't involve any ball-hitting instruments. Instead, it involved plenty of grease and exploding petrol...and widows. Yes, we're talking about motor racing.

It appeared as a fetish for the really rich boys who got bored of racing their horses. They found out that going sideways in a car without seatbelt, roof or proper brakes was miles more interesting than trying to convince an animal to run. Add this to the fact that, back in the 20's, the girls were naturally attracted to cars, and you get the perfect formula for a great sport.

But why is it a gentlemen's sport? Because only gentlemen would spend a lot of money on cars which sooner or later would disappear in clouds of smoke. Actually, in motor-sport, spending money is not a problem, it's all about the spirit of competing and about the pursue of technical perfection. And this is what matters for a real gent...for him, money is just an instrument destined to be spent on what other people would consider stupid...just because some are wise and some are otherwise. It's in the mentality of the motorist to get past the shallow thinking of the majority and concentrate on the ultimate form of competition yet known to man. Because the racing driver is not a footballer...he's a gentleman...and an artist.

Driving as a form of art has always been associated to rally-racing. Rallying , is the only competition to excite all the senses , in a merge of petrol smell dissipated in clouds of dust and smoke...and noise. It's the perfect balance between man and machine, between madness and technique...maybe it's more artistic than figure-skating. Grouppe B rallying of the 80's stand as a proof of what a real man in a car can do:

Today, technology evolved and, as a result , racing ain't as spectacular as it used to be. However , the pilot remains the one to bring the car to life, he remains the beloved artist behind the wheel...and yet today, the pilot is a genuine Gentleman.

Friday, 21 January 2011

The Art of Being a Man(The Left Wrist - offtopic )

In the 21st century , the tradition of wearing a wristwatch almost disappeared...partly because one can use a pink , plastic mobile phone to tell the time and partly because a Swiss watch would look strange in a KFC restaurant.

The point is , in modern days , you don't really need a watch...which is great because what you don't really need inevitably turns into art... A proper watch is more like poetry: it's a merge of feeling and precision which turns beauty into a sensation and time into a metaphor. You can't give a recipe for a great watch, the same way you can't give a recipe for a perfect painting or for a perfect piece of music. The spirit of watch-making goes past the physical mechanism and past the precision engineering, descending into a realm of extravagant dreams and sensations. And there are only two countries in the world who seem to have understood this: the Swiss and the Russians.

Swiss watches are passionate jewels garnished with perfect engineering. Only the Swiss could develop an obsession for precision and make it look like a normal activity . They are responsible for coming up with the most accurate and stylish cronographs and with the biggest names in the industry, of course: Tag Heuer, Longines , Omega , Rolex, Tissot, Edox...and the list could continue for a while. A Swiss watch inspires masculinity and stile, it's the kind of watch you choose because it inspires you, because you feel it's reflecting your personality. The owner gets emotionally attached to the machine and vice versa , and that's because each machine gets an aristocratic , Swiss soul.

The Russians,on the other hand ,started building watches out of necessity. A Poljot-Sturmanskie mechanism was the first to travel out of space, the Antarktida 24 hours scale watch was the first to reach the South Pole alongside a Russian expedition , and many other models were built for the army. These stories give the Russian watches a distinguished character . Add this to the great talent of Russia's designers and to the precision of Rusia's engineers and you get the perfect balance between soul , beauty and mechanical perfection. A Russian watch permanently wants to tell it's story : a Poljot( nowadays known as Volmax ) tells the story of Gagarin, Buran reminds of the great Soviet space-shuttle, Sturmanskie is the Generals' watch and Aviator the fighter-planes' timing machine...and this is what makes them special.