How Bespoke Shoes Are Made (Die! Workwear)
“It’s ironic that shoemaking is sometimes referred to as “the gentle craft” since, of all the bespoke trades, it’s seems like the least gentle of them all. The lasts are carved from large blocks of wood using a hinged blade; the stiff leathers are pulled over their wooden forms using pinchers; and heels are attached by nailing them down with hammers. The whole process sounds very noisy.”

James Smith and Sons Umbrellas, London (Permanent Style)
“Most visitors to James Smith & Sons are not looking for dozens of woods, however, or even something special. They just want a well-made, functional umbrella – and this is precisely what the company has always prided itself on supplying.”

Interview with Rick Owens (Interview Magazine)
“They have been armor for sure. But armor is just a good-looking thing. There’s also my theory about men in military uniforms: Military uniforms have just been perfected over centuries to make a man look dignified and heroic. And I think those are important qualities to everybody. Everybody would like to project a sense of strength and honor, so clothes as armor don’t necessarily just have to mean defense; they can also mean something a little bit more elegant.”

A Traveler’s Guide to Tokyo’s Secret Bars (Wall Street Journal)
“Leave it to the Japanese—the people who many claim improved whiskey—to master the art of mixology. During past visits to Tokyo, I’d peer jealously over hotel highballs into the city’s neon nights knowing that somewhere out there better libations were being poured to well-connected salarymen in well-concealed night spots. These bars, which I’d heard mentioned with deep reverence over the years, always seemed out of my reach—not just because I didn’t know where to go, but because Tokyo is famously tough for visitors to navigate.”

How to distinguish good jazz from bad (The Economist)
“Most useful to the uninitiated, the book provides tips on what good improvisation really means. Bad players tend to rely heavily on a small number of rhythmic and harmonic patterns in their phrases—licks containing a certain number of notes, for instance, or a tendency to begin or end their phrases at a certain place in the bar. Listen to such an improviser for more than a minute or so, and “even novice listeners will perceive an inescapable monotony,” says Mr Gioia. The best players, including Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis (pictured), never fall into such traps, however.”