#2 in a series of interviews with interesting people by Australian artist, Timothy John.
Dear reader, sit back, relax and imagine this… It is 40° C and I am sitting by the sparkling blue swimming pool of a luxury resort in the desert dunes just outside of Dubai. I am waiting for Raphael the waiter to return from the bar with 2 gin and tonics while I watch Danish horological journalist, blogger, and style supremo Kristian Haagen as he floats listlessly in the cool restorative water, recovering from the CPH to DXB flight of 6 hours 15 minutes. What a great guy he is, going through such torture, just to speak to me. As the shadows grow longer, Raphael, approaches, his white tunic, slightly damp with perspiration and balanced on his shining silver tray, are two shimmering G&T’s…ah yes dear readers, life is good… and so is your imagination.
Truth is, I am sitting at my desk in Australia interviewing K.H. via email, and Raphael is nowhere to be seen! *Note to self, get obscenely luxurious resort sponsorship for my next interview.
TJ: Kristian, thanks for agreeing to speak to me, I know you are a busy guy, so I appreciate this very much. Like me, your work is also your passion, which I have found can be a double edged sword, do you feel that way?
KH: Tim, I am not sure if I feel it is a double edged sword. My passion certainly is overwhelming, but at least it is a sexy niche. A growing number of women tend to understand the fascination of horology and I am not left in the corner as the odd one out with a strange hobby. Plus, I don’t have to lie and say I work as a pianist in a brothel any longer. Thankfully my line of work as a passionate horofile is accepted by the public, and I am not judged as some social outcast.
TJ: I like the brothel pianist gig, I might have to use that one. When I tell people I am a painter, they sometimes assume I am a house painter/decorator, 9 out of 10 times, I don’t correct them! So, can you describe how and where you write, do you lock yourself away with a bottle of single malt and wait for the muse to strike?
KH: Nothing that romantic, although somewhat tinged with the tragic- I love writing in planes. You see, I am afraid of flying and once my mind is convinced that I am going to die in a plane crash, my body relaxes and great writing occurs. Many a chapter and article are written in a fear of death.
TJ: Wow, talk about suffering for your art. I guess there is nothing like the threat of slamming into the ground from a great height, to get the creative juices flowing. Working to deadlines can be a pressure, but as we know pressure creates diamonds, are you good with the constraints of working to strict time frames?
KH: I have never gone over a deadline. I have always been very dedicated and I appreciate the time required for proof reading and editing of a magazine or newspaper. The only pressure I feel is stress I put on myself, because of the large workload I have. One deadline is followed by another…and another and I find that I tend to work seven days a week, nights included. My kids know my back better than my face.
TJ: Sorry for this question out of left field, but Monique the pool attendant has just handed me a note, asking me to ask you about your time working in the porn industry…is that right, surely not?
KH: I thought Monique looked familiar! And to answer your question, yes, it is true.
TJ: Well?… you can’t stop there, as the Bishop said to the stripper.
KH: OK, but don’t go telling everyone, when I lived in Spain I worked for a company that produced porn for different medias. Magazines, movies and sex call lines. I was in the creative department, doing layouts and the odd voice-overs. Crazy time admittedly.
TJ: Voice overs?… can you give me an ooh baby? Actually this is cool because my partner, always teases me for looking at watch porn online, now I feel it is my duty! Anyway, back to business, and my thanks to Monique for her input. You are a very stylish guy, whenever I see you, you look like a million bucks, I don’t know what that is in Kroner. What is your definition of style, do you have a philosophy on style?… do clothes really maketh the man? How would you describe your “look”.
KH: My definition of style may seem a little cliché, but a man should wear what makes him feel comfortable, if you are comfortable, you are confident, and if you are confident, that is style. Personally I like to wear clothes that get me through most events I encounter in a day. I try to have 24-hour-wear so to speak, mostly you will see me wear chinos and a button-down Oxford shirt and a pair of well-worn Red Wings. In clothes like this I can fly to Zürich, do an interview and then put on a decent jacket for dinner at night. Flying back home the next morning and having only had to pack clean underwear as the hotel usually have the toiletries needed. I am a hand-luggage – cosmopolitan dresser, if you want a title on my dress style.
TJ: Hmmm? A hand luggage cosmopolitan dresser? if you gave up wearing underwear and went commando, you could be a “carry on cosmo commando”, I think we may have created something beautiful here. (Imagination time, dear reader, If we were at the pool in the dunes outside Dubai, I feel this would have been a “special” moment, and maybe even a high 5 might have been exchanged.) Were you a cool kid at school? Please tell me you were the cool kid at school. I imagine you riding a vintage dragster bike, WW1 leather messenger bag slung over your shoulder, LEVI 501’s Jimi Hendrix TShirt etc. – patrolling the schoolyard like the style police…am I even close???
KH: Not even close, sorry Tim, I guess I was the odd one out at school. Not bullied, but certainly not the cool kid. I didn’t play soccer like 90% of the other kids at my school, instead I was a fencer and when I was 14 I even won the national championship, I came third in the Scandinavian championships the following year. I remember the Mayor of my city handed me a special medal after that. I felt extremely proud.
TJ: Well, I am sorry to break it to you Kristian, but fencing and winning a championship, with a civic medal presentation, while other kids are schlepping around a football pitch, is cool, most definitely cool! Still on this style thing, do you have a favorite clothing designer for men and women?
KH: Not sure I have favorite designers, but I must admit I have a man crush on Tom Ford. To me, he represents the quintessential of cool. I actually don’t own anything by Ford, but I do have the same IWC Doppel Chronograph Ceramic ref. 3786 that he sometimes wears in my collection. For women I would have to say Tom Ford as well. But only because I do not know any better, however I think my girlfriend looks pretty darn hot in a pair of black ACNE jeans.
TJ: So, channeling your inner Tom Ford, here is a question without notice. OK, here goes, A man, wearing suit, dress shirt, and leather shoes, BUT….no socks….Cool?…. or style suicide?
KH: Hmmm…erhm…well…ummm… during summer I actually went bare foot in my Grenson Double Monks. Sorry, man, do you still respect me?
TJ: Sans socks?
KH: Yep, sans socks.
TJ: You’re killin’ me man! (I look around for Raphael, I need a drink, a BIG drink, but of course like Kristian’s socks in summer, Raffa has gone missing!)