David Coggins | A Continuous Lean. - Page 3

Man of the Hour: The Michael Hainey Interview

Feb 20th, 2013 | Categories: Books, David Coggins | by David Coggins

After Visiting Friends by Michael Hainey

You may know Michael Hainey from GQ, where he’s the deputy editor, a writer and resident wise man. He’s an elegant and reassuring presence in a menswear world that can breed exhaustion. You may also see Mr. Hainey on television, walking in the West Village or on your favorite street style site. He carries himself with a sense of courtliness that makes him seem approachable, which is very much the case. Prepare to get to know him much better—his new book, the memoir “After Visiting Friends”— is deeply personal and incredibly moving. It’s also a brilliantly reported, completely absorbing mystery about the death of his father, which happened when Michael was a boy. It’s a genuine accomplishment by one of New York’s dapper men of letters.

We spoke recently at the Spotted Pig.

David Coggins: The title of your book is “After Visiting Friends.” Can you explain what it means? It’s a good introduction to what the book’s about.

Michael Hainey: It’s the reason the mystery begins. You could say it’s a euphemism, but really it’s a line inside of a couple of the obituaries that ran after my father died. One said he died after visiting a “friend” and the other said “friends.” It gave an address in Chicago, so as a young guy I said “who are these friends?” So it’s the engine of the mystery.





Upward Mobility: The Beard Goes Corporate

Jan 25th, 2013 | Categories: David Coggins, Grooming | by David Coggins

Blankfein I

We’ve ruminated in the past on Lloyd Blankfein’s sartorial strategies and the tradition of executive dressing, particularly among Italian titans of industry who know how to do it. So we were curious to discover recent shots of Mr. Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, in Davos, with a beard. Apparently he grows them when he’s on vacation and this time he felt confident enough to go on the record before the cameras.

While this did not cause as much comment as the First Lady’s bangs, it does represent the migration of the beard from the urban woodsman to the corporate boardroom. Mr. Blankfein’s beard is certainly not radical—it’s more of a thin layer of snow than an avalanche of white—but it is progress of a sort for those of us who support beards in all tax brackets and all locations, including the corridors of power.





The Bull Shot: Where Vegans Fear to Tread

Jan 20th, 2013 | Categories: Cocktails, David Coggins, Firenze, Spirits | by David Coggins

Bull shot II

This is an age of cocktail enlightenment—savvy drinkers aren’t surprised to discover artichoke infused vodka or persimmon bitters in their glass or a shiso leaf as garnish. They venture forth seeking vision and innovation, the eccentric and the unfamiliar. Yet it’s a classic cocktail, of all things, that causes consternation among the imbibing faint of heart. We speak of course of the endangered Bull Shot.

Why is this downright nourishing drink more difficult to find? In a phrase: beef broth. Yes, the Bull Shot is essentially a Bloody Mary that substitutes goodly beef broth for tomato juice. So rare is this historic concoction that on a recent trip to Florence we were overjoyed to find it listed at Harry’s Bar (not the endangered Venetian original, but, after more than 50 years on the bank of the Arno, nothing to scoff at).

At Harry’s, upon ordering, the broth arrives from the kitchen and the barman takes it from there. Where does that Bull Shot take you? Well, it’s a hearty daytime drink, unusually good when you told yourself you were going to take a day away from liquor. It’s downbeat but reassuring—like an old cardigan, like Chet Baker.





The Man in Full: The JP Williams Interview.

Nov 15th, 2012 | Categories: Art, David Coggins, Denim | by David Coggins

To know JP Williams is to enjoy the pleasure of his company while being continually surprised by his relentless aesthetic sensibility. He’s a creative director and designer, a Southerner who’s traveled widely. He maintains his singular blog and just happened to have been painted by the late Richard Merkin. He wears white shoes and drinks gin year-round, which is a lesson for all the kids out there. He has an exhibition opening tonight at Mondo Cane in Tribeca, Little Things: A Flaneur’s Finds, that’s full of brilliant, idiosyncratic objects that are carefully considered without losing their light touch.

JP’s range of knowledge is unmatched, his perspective is even better. What follows is one of the most wide-ranging interviews we’ve ever conducted. He’s a friend of ACL. and believe it when we tell you we’re proud of that fact.

David Coggins: Let’s talk about your collections and the objects you made.

JP Williams: I have different categories of collections. And one of them is that when I travel around the world I always buy a ball of twine. I go to a hardware store or a market. So each one that I’ve had cast is from a different place, one of them is called Florence, one is called Dusseldorf. This one is from the Paris flea market, it must be from the 1840s. There’s a little bit of a character to them. When the economy was poor, instead of buying things I started looking at my collections. That’s why I started the blog. I started to revisit box after box of things. Then I started writing the stories behind them. I have a great memory for detail.





Hero’s Welcome: The Return of Lucky Jim.

Oct 11th, 2012 | Categories: Books, David Coggins, England | by David Coggins

Lucky Jim, Kingsley Amis’s first novel, was published in 1954 and promptly entered the pantheon of British postwar literature. It’s just been reissued by the invaluable New York Review Books Classics, which is the literary equivalent of receiving a case of Laphroaig. Our hero, Jim Dixon, a young university lecturer, grapples with a stream of improbable academic cranks, pretentious artists, neurotic women, a vengeful oboist and his own self-destructive streak. The novel is trenchant, knowing and audaciously misanthropic. It may be the funniest book ever written.

Yes, that’s an absurd statement (Jim himself would surely raise an eyebrow at such a sweeping claim). But Lucky Jim remains the benchmark for satire, misbehavior and the absurd demands of adult life. Strangely, some Lucky Jim partisans struggle through the book’s opening the first time they read it. In fact, it’s not uncommon for people to take pause before they plow their way through it. Why is that? Like watching Shakespeare’s plotting villains or early episodes of Deadwood, it takes some time to acclimate yourself to the incredibly specific, rarefied language. But that makes it sound as if it’s an exalted enterprise: it’s not.





Pinup Provocateur: Bunny Yeager’s Darkroom

Aug 31st, 2012 | Categories: Books, David Coggins, Photography | by David Coggins

These days we are rarely without a camera, yet how often do we hold an actual photograph? We flip through streams of jpegs, on Tumblr, Instagram and the rest, we “like,” reblog and create virtual slideshows. We get daily dispatches from friends on alpine treks, course-by-course accounts of elaborate meals, and inspect carefully curated interiors. It’s so easy to create an evocative filter that we’ve become suspicious of what we’re looking at. It was not always thus.

Bunny Yeager’s photographs are direct and bracing. They remind us of the basic power of controlling the image and the elemental act of provocation. It should be mentioned that she was a pinup girl and named “world’s prettiest photographer” of 1953. You can enjoy her handiwork in the new book Bunny Yeager’s Darkroom: Pin-Up Photography’s Golden Era, (Rizzoli).





Western Dispatch: Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch

Jul 2nd, 2012 | Categories: Checking In, David Coggins | by David Coggins

You know what you want from a country retreat: a good view, a big fireplace, comfort without needless luxury. Too few get the equation exactly right, so when you find the one you happily return over the years. That’s the case with the Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch, which is situated 50 miles north of Ketchum along the Salmon River. The main building was built in 1930 and is on the National Historic Registry, and it’s a classic.

The ranch looks across the dramatic Sawtooth Mountains, and it has exactly what you want. Settle in to a straightforward cabin (with hickory furniture and its own fireplace) and then get down to business. The area is full of terrific hikes (the staff is eager to direct you), whether you want an something intense or low-key the scenery is fantastic. It’s also a reminder of how good life is away from the television (the rooms don’t have any).