I learned not to force the writing with my first novel Will’s Music. Forcing led to indecision and confusion. Killer frustration. The more I pushed th...
The Writing of Will's Music
November 8, 2014
I was resting against a wall of sandbags and forcing down cold spaghetti and meatballs from a C-Ration can when I noticed her sitting on her hind legs...
April 14, 2014
My novel Will’s Music comes out in the coming weeks, published by Figlo Press, and I am bursting with anticipation.
No writer really knows how readers...
November 8, 2014
Shaving Videos That Have Influenced Me
April 3, 2014
Scores of instructional videos have fed me invaluable information through the years on the art and the craft of wet shaving with the straight razor. Since I will always consider myself a straight razor pilgrim, these videos also continue to serve as refreshers for me in this distinct form of wet shaving.
The big number of videos I have seen and studied range from gems to clunkers out of gas, with a fair number falling somewhere in between. I have learned some things from all of them. Even those one might consider a waste of time have served as lessons for me — in what not to do.
That I have been a wet shaver for many years has amplified the pleasure and the artistic satisfaction I derive from the straight razor. Those with the most influence on me among my favorite straight razor shaving videos, therefore, have been a good beginning in my continued exploration of the straight razor’s complex characteristics.
Lynn Abrams’ DVD, “The World of Straight Razor Shaving,” has provided me with the most comprehensive course in the straight razor shaving universe. In the DVD, Lynn covers types and brands of straight razors, stropping, honing, lathering up and ultimately shaving.
The video is exceptionally good in its conversational tone. Lynn’s down-to-earth and intimate approach, highlighted by his effective eye contact, takes the viewer along on a detailed yet comfortable educational ride. I recommend this DVD to all newcomers to straight razor shaving.
Lynn’s subsequently condensed version as a U-Tube video concentrates on the shave itself. Here, too, Lynn displays the same quality characteristics used in his DVD. He limits the conversation to the essentials without being abrupt or telegraphic, unlike some videos that drone on with talk, dotted by an occasional shaving demonstration.
I have adapted Lynn’s two-handed shaving technique and added my own variations on the theme. Jockeys’ shaving technique also has had some influence on mine, especially shaving across the grain from the mouth to the ears on both sides. His demonstrations of how to shave the difficult parts on the neck are an enormous help. Here, too, I have adapted some of Jockeys' two-handed style and technique and added my own variations.
Jockeys is a member of Straight Razor Place (SRP), whose well done video covers lathering and shaving. His tone also is conversational and intimate. I like the eye contact. The close-ups are quite good. Talk is just enough to convey the message. This video, too, I recommend for those new to straight razor shaving. It serves as an excellent straight razor shaving textbook.
Xman, also an SRP member, offers a different shaving technique in his video. Although he is a one-handed shaver, I have managed to adopt some of his technique as well for myself. Until I saw Xman’s method of shaving the upper lip against the grain, I had been in a losing battle with that area of my face.
The move, which I like to call “Xman’s Blue Plate Special,” requires holding the razor blade with two hands and shaving northward from upper lip to the nose. It’s a dangerous move to an extent, but the use of two hands gives me a comfortable safety cushion.
This video is silent, with the necessary explanations written in little sidebars. Xman’s shaving technique is different from those of Lynn’s and Jockeys, but it is just as effective for him. This video is also another one of my favorites, especially in its attempt to offer a different choice in straight razor technique. In essence, it is an apt demonstration of using a straight razor technique that works best for the individual shaver, and that there are no right or wrong ways, but, rather, different ways.
Mantics has produced a series of fine videos on the world of wet shaving. Although he shaves with a double edge, I have learned an enormous amount from him as well. His videos I also recommend for those new to the world of wet shaving — with the double edge.
In the meantime, I continue to explore the Internet for shaving videos. Those that I like I will visit from time to time, because there is always a chance I might see something in them I have not seen before. In a way it’s like listening to a symphony by Brahms, where after the fiftieth or the sixtieth hearing, you’ll hear something you haven’t heard before.