Raw Craft and Raw Emotion

The following video blew me away when I first watched it last November. It's a joyful celebration of passion, skilful craft and commitment to quality.

Anthony Bourdain & The Balvenie head to Olympia, Washington to see firsthand how master bladesmith, Bob Kramer crafts the perfect kitchen knife from melted meteorite. Kramer is one of only one hundred twenty-two certified master bladesmiths in the U.S. and the only one who specialises in forging the world's finest kitchen knives.

Despite how much I enjoyed it, it remains the only piece of Anthony Bourdain's work I've watched. I don't know why, because I really liked him in the video. His enthusiasm was clearly genuine and true. Maybe it's the sheer volume of 'content' constantly competing for our attention, maybe I worried that nothing else would have quite the same impact; who knows?

Usually, my reaction to celebrity deaths reported in the news is one of detachment. It says a lot, then, that I was genuinely moved and taken aback by Bourdain's death last week. The world felt a poorer place; I felt upset and vulnerable. This didn't seem like something that should have happened to the person I saw in that video.

There are vaguely-reported details that would seem to chime with themes that have come up in the 'Man Up' project I'm participating in. To what extent those connections prove accurate may or may not be revealed in time, but it is in the spirit of Man Up that it felt important to share how this news had affected me.

Reading the tributes to Anthony Bourdain has supplemented that initial reaction with something more positive. It's hard not to be inspired by the willingness he displayed to learn about, and challenge conventional thinking about, the people and places he visited. I'll watch more of Bourdain's work, certainly; more importantly, I'll try to incorporate more of that openness and curiosity in the way I conduct myself.