I got a tweet from a friend (thanks Johnny) with a link which made me raise both eyebrows, yes, not just one. So, one thing led to another and I was with the people from the link today.
A photie of a rucksack and a sewing machine, did I fly to China on a whim? No, I drove up the road to Glasgow to meet the guys at Trakke who make packs and courier bags in their workshop from materials sourced almost entirely locally or from the UK.
It was a mix of new and old, I see mountaineering heritage in the designs of a young business run with skill and enthusiasm in a place rich in industrial history. The Krukke pack is like a Whillans Alpiniste for the 21st Century, the same mix of then and now, the materials, the features, the simplicity, I was turning a sample over in my hands grinning from ear to ear.
The guys are making me up a test sample, in purple, and I’m going get out there and use it, pretty soon with an ice axe and crampons attached to it I hope.
I’ll visit the workshop while the pack’s being put together in a couple of weeks or so and come back with the full story about the whole thing when I’ve got the pack home.
It’s not lost on me that Karrimor, Mountain Equipment and Berghaus started this way and its a joy to see gear being made, not product, and there is a difference. More soon.
Collectability and rarity ruins everything. As I said to the folks in the shop when I had one of my old guitars in for a little bit of work last month “When I bought this it was second hand, now it’s vintage”. 20 years ago I threw myself into a drum kit wearing it (it sounded great), I might think twice about that now, or at least calculate how many mortgage payments I could make selling it before deciding if the amusement was worth it.
Below is a ’58 Flying V, super rare, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and leaning on a tree in my garden. Or not, it was £140 on ebay.
It’s an Epiphone reissue made in China to an average-to-reasonable standard, and as such is an “official” version of the ’58 V as original manufacturer Gibson is Epiphone’s parent company.
It’s been customised quite a bit, all the black plastic I had from another long broken V and it fitted just nice with a little trimming. The big V shaped tailpiece was in the wrong place so I moved it and routed the body underneath so the strings could still reach the ferrules at the back (the strings anchor on the back of the body), the truss rod cover is now the proper tw0-hole version and there’s a tacky plastic silver Gibson logo on the headstock, just like the original.
It probably looks more like the ’83 Heritage Reissue Gibson made when they first tried to make accurate reproductions of their classics, but what the hell, it’s a flying V in a tuxedo, what’s not to like?
It’s cheap, it’s a fake, so why bother? Because it’s a joy to play, that’s why. It hangs in perfect balance with the front strap button moved to the back, the neck is chunky but comfortable and the original pickups which I had been ready to ditch sound great, medium to hot output with a warm fuzziness and fat bottom that I’m sure most folk will hate. I’ve found myself taking this into the studio ahead of far “better” guitars for months now. It just makes me glad.
Price, brand, cache, age and origin, none of it really matters. If you like it you like it and don’t let anyone tell you can’t have fun because their thing has more zeros on its price tag.
And you know that’s not just guitars I’m talking about.