Guilty Secrets

I have a guilty secret.  I collect knives.  Well, I have 13, which I guess is more than I strictly need to be able to ...

March 19, 2008

I have a guilty secret.  I collect knives.  

Well, I have 13, which I guess is more than I strictly need to be able to open a cardboard box on demand.  This, depending on your presuppositions about this stuff, makes me a potential homicidal maniac in training or a 12  year-old who never grew up.  I’d suggest the latter is more accurate.We’re not talking hunting knives or bowie knives, just penknives or lockknives of various forms.

 Superficially this is grounded in an appreciation is aesthetics and precision engineering, plus you can sit and polish them in a suitable obsessive compulsive way… which in nice ;-)

But I was speaking to Mike Keough of MikesKnives last night, and saying I’d always had a few, and then last year a bought three or four more and now, suddenly I was getting quite into it now custom designs and the technology of opening mechnisms…and he said: “It’s amazing how many people have said the same thing to me recently…”.

That set me thinking about why this would be? Obviously part of my drive here is middle-aged angst and terror management – assembling something durable that you can pass on. (I turned 40 last year and am definitely having some Julian Barnes moments recently) – but not everyone can be turning 40, can they.

Another part is the Ray Mears factor (whose knife is actually made by Alan Wood) but beautifully duplicated by Stephen Wade among others. ;The whole ‘back to nature’ thing is a deep response to the technocracy of everyday life ( I have to confess to gratuitously cutting things down in the garden just to make yet another long bow to put with all the others).  

The hunting instinct is atavistically real I think and utterly suppressed in everyday life.  The Americans and Australians alone have given this outdoorsmanship a proper expression, but in the former case it’s been kind of militarised.  You get the sense that many Americans would gladly use a submachinegun to shoot a rabbit.

The other factor in play here is the Tarantino/Heroes ‘anime’ effect, bringing steelsmithing to priminance as an artform.  Damascus steel blades are derigeur now in posh knives…

But finally, and more systemically, I think the internet is to ‘blame’ – the simple proliferation of social connectedness around communities of interest.Whatever your passion; however obscure, you can now indulge and connect to like-mindless people….

Whatever your crankiness, you are not alone. And that’s kinda nice.