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Smith Journal

Smith Journal Summer 2018

Smith Journal is a quarterly publication for discerning gents (and ladies who like reading about discerning gents). It’s heads-up and hands-on. A friendly guide to all things creative, intriguing, genuine and funny – full of stories, people, adventures, interesting conversations and gentlemanly style. The people behind Smith wanted to create something they’d be happy to read themselves. That smart, creative guys could peruse without shame, slap down on the coffee table, whack in their favourite old satchel or display proudly on the toilet reading rack. Something that looked good, but had substance, wit and inspiration. At a time when everything seems like it’s speeding up, Smith is a call to slow down. It’s about remembering, reviving and revamping forgotten traditions, skills and technologies. And backpedalling just enough to appreciate the good stuff in life. Like our readers, we’re not particularly obsessed with being the coolest, the biggest or the first in line. But we are interested in making things that last.

Nextmedia Pty Ltd
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2 min.
a friend of mine reckons he’s on to the perfect scam.

Of course, he doesn’t use that word. “It’s an opportunity,” he clarifies virtually every time I see him. The “opportunity” works like this: first, purchase a mattress from one of those online mattress companies, the kind that comes with a 90-day, no-questions-asked returns policy. Then, on day 90, ask for your refund, having purchased a rival company’s mattress a few days prior. Rinse and repeat every three months until you run out of mattress companies to “engage”, at which point convince your housemate to put their name on the order, or move house and start the whole process over again. The plan is not without its hassles. For one, endlessly liaising between mattress companies requires a fair bit of planning: miss your 90-day period and you’ll be out of pocket. And…

16 min.
smith stuff

BONNE CHASSE The Etch-a-Sketch. Braille. Brie. Coq au vin. Thierry Henry’s feet. These are all très bien French things – the majority of which you’re probably familiar with. A French thing you probably aren’t familiar with, however, is F5ZV. F5ZV is a radiosonde hunter. That is, F5ZV hunts radiosondes: white plastic boxes that are attached to balloons and sent (by meteorologists) into not-quite-space to measure weather – temperatures, wind, humidity, that kind of thing – and radio the data back to ground control. At around 100,000 feet, the balloons burst, and the little white boxes come floating back to earth care of their very own parachutes. That’s where F5ZV – or Roland, as he’s known to his loved ones – steps in. “My wife hasn’t always been enthusiastic,” he admits. “Especially when I…

7 min.
a matter of time

LIKE MANY OF US, BRITTANY NICOLE COX SPENDS MUCH OF HER WORKING DAY WATCHING THE CLOCK. UNLIKE MANY OF US, SHE ISN’T PROCRASTINATING OR COUNTING DOWN THE MINUTES TILL HOME TIME WHEN SHE DOES THIS: SHE’S WORKING. “IN THE 17 CENTURY, PEOPLE STARTED TO SEE THE WORLD AS A GIANT MACHINE THAT HAD GOD AS ITS MECHANIC.” “I’m an antiquarian horologist,” she explains, seated amid a jumble of whirring, ringing, chiming contraptions in her Seattle workshop. “Horology is the study of time, and I’m a certified watchmaker who specialises in restoring antique horological objects. I keep time ticking.” Her days are spent pulling clocks and other mechanical oddities apart, working out what makes them tick, then putting them back together. It’s an interest that began in childhood. “I was always collecting things that…

7 min.
codename: garbo

ON JULY 29, 1944, GERMANY’S MILITARY COMMAND SENT WORD TO ONE OF THEIR TOP SPIES IN ENGLAND – CODENAME: ALARIC ARABEL – THAT HE’D BEEN AWARDED THE IRON CROSS. THE TOP HONOUR WAS SAID TO HAVE COME FROM HITLER HIMSELF, AND FOLLOWED ARABEL’S THREE-YEAR STINT GATHERING INVALUABLE INFORMATION ON THE ENEMY. “The extraordinary successes of Arabel have been made possible by his constant, complete and express confidence in the Führer and our cause,” one military memo beamed. But that was a lie. Arabel actually despised both Hitler and his cause, and was in fact a double agent – one of history’s finest. The man behind Arabel, Juan Pujol García, was in reality a Spanish national whom the British intelligence community called Garbo. By the end of that same year, 1944, Pujol was…

2 min.
the doors of perception

For all the sport’s modern-day affiliation with caffeine-rich, taurine-loaded energy drinks, stock car racing actually got its start from a very different tipple. “We have booze to thank for NASCAR,” explains Noah Love, one half of CLUB, a graphic design studio based in Los Angeles. “Prohibition ended in 1933, but running cut-price booze across state lines remained big business for years after. The government stationed revenue agents out in the Appalachian hills where the bulk of the moonshine distilleries were. They didn’t like the idea of drinkers drinking tax-free.” Moonshine ‘runners’ needed more than a dose of derring-do to get their hooch into the cities – they needed cars capable of outrunning a federal vehicle. Blatantly modified hot rods wouldn’t cut it (you didn’t want your car raising suspicion), so moonshine…

6 min.
10 things i believe

A FISH OUT OF WATER Growing up I went to Catholic school, and I was one of only two black kids in my year. I’ve always said it felt like I was at a family reunion – but I wasn’t in the family. I was technically accepted, but there was a feeling that I wasn’t quite in the club. And for black people in America, that fish-out-of-water thing is pretty much your whole life. Even as a kid I was keenly aware of feeling left out, and I chose to handle it by being self-deprecating. Comedy helped me in those moments. Still, I never dreamed I’d make that my profession. BE AMBITIOUS, BUT HUMBLE I used humour to deal with adversity at home, too. When my parents divorced, my family quickly went from…