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Member Interview: Legion.


Needs milk and a bidet!
Staff member
Greetings everyone! I present to you all a fantastic interview of our very own Moderator: Legion - aka, David.
Some of you may remember way back in 2011 when he did his first interview. He was kind enough to volunteer for another and give us some insight on his other hobbies.
I'd like to thank him for taking the time during this busy holiday season to complete this.
Happy reading!

1) Who are you? Where are you located?

My Name is David, and I am currently located in Melbourne, Australia.

2) You started with a DE then moved to straights. What is your weapon of choice now?

Still straights mostly, but I have gone minimalist and generally just use one. My go-to is a 1800's R Heinisch, with a French point, which I bought off Luc. Sometimes I'll go for my antique Maleham & Yeomans Sheffield blade, in some purple acrylic scales I made. I like the old stuff. It's not that it works any better, it just gets my imagination going.

3) Speaking of straights….did you ever use that Case Red Imp? (David’s first straight razor)

I did, eventually! Sharpened it on a coticule with oil, and got a super edge on it. Recommended! (When I first bought it I was too scared to use it. It sat in a draw for a year, then when I went to straights it got forgotten in the throws of SRAD. It stayed in the draw for a couple more years until I got around to it. Good razors though, the Imps.)

4) What book(s) do you have at the top of your “read me” pile? What was the last book you finished & what are you currently reading?

Right now in my half done pile are Walden, by Henry David Thoreau. Journey to the end of the Night by Celine. And a couple of Bukowski's poetry books.

5) How did you get started in photography?

Poor at math? Honestly, I was always more successful at the arts subjects at school. I was best at drama, but nobody saw that as a career back then. Photography I could do, and it was kind of a “trade”. So I went to school and studied commercial photography.

6) What is the strangest position you ever assumed while taking a photo in public?
Hanging almost my full body out the window of a car, trying to shoot another car at high speed on a highway. My assistant held onto my belt. I've done similar from a helicopter, but I used a proper harness then.

7) What is the longest time you’ve waited for the perfect shot?
I don't think you wait for the perfect shot, they just kind of happen. It is just the timing of the scene, eye, and trigger finger. You probably miss a lot more “perfect shots” than you get.

8) What are your thoughts on the ubiquity of cameras today?, camera phones are everywhere! follow up: has it changed your perspective on photography?

I read that it is estimated that 380 billion images were taken last year, mostly with a camera phones. For the first time in history we are dealing with a situation where everybody has a camera, and a fairly decent camera compared to what we had in the past, in their pocket. All the time. Technology has gotten us to a point where we can document our life in pictures, and we need to spend no money, and we need no real knowledge or skills. It's an interesting thing to someone who spent a long time studying the theory of it all. It would make it very hard to be a commercial photographer these days, doing something like weddings, etc. The average Joe who spends a couple of grand on a SLR can set it on auto and get pretty passable shots, if he shoots enough. And if he shoots a raw file he can fix many of the blunders in post production. But he can then charge a client hobbyist rates, and take the business away from the guy who needs it for his bread and butter. That would be tough.

Having said that, most of the pictures I take these days are with my phone or a compact. Usually you reach for the closest thing handy, and if you just want a record or to show off a new toy on the forum, I am like most people and go with the convenient option.

9) What is your current equipment? Are you happy with it?

I don't shoot photos for a living any more, and my SLR rig is pretty outdated. I have been a bit in love with the new Fuji mirrorless cameras for a while now. The picture quality you get from those guys' sensors, and their lenses, leave some full frame SLR's in the dust. They are light, and relatively inexpensive. Fuji delivers the best bang for your buck in photography right now, IMO.

10) Any other hobbies or collections we should know about?

Over the years I have collected so many things. I am a bit of a hoarder by nature. I have a collection of fossils and meteorites. I like antique photographs, particularly Daguerreotypes. I've had a pocket knife AD. Vintage Viewmaster reels and viewers.... The list goes on and on. But right now I have scaled back and keep off Ebay for the most part.

11) Ever been attacked by snakes, spiders, kangaroo, or Canadians?

No Canadians, but the other three many times. I worked in the bush for quite some time, so the fauna provided constant adventure.

12) You’ve been asked to photograph Badger & Blade’s 2014 Moderators Swimsuit Calendar. Who do you choose?

I think I'll go with Kentos. He lives in Hawaii, so there would be some nice beaches. Bigfoot would take too long to shave.

13) How many selfies have you taken?

A few, but it is not a major subject matter. I'll take one when I am in Hawaii to photograph Kentos in his mankini.

14) It’s been 2 years since your Desert Island Choices. Do you have any updates to the list?

I've gone minimalist, so this is an easy question to answer;

My R Heinish or Maleham & Yeomans straights. Maybe my Klas Tornblum with Ivory scales for variety. For a DE I use a Gillette Rocket HD. That one is just the right level of aggression, weight and vintage for me.

I use a restored butterscotch Simpson AS2M handle with a TGN Finest knot. All my other brushes are in storage. No rotation here.

My go-to is Euro Palmolive. A great performer compared to any soap. Add that it is as cheap as chips... Can't beat it.

2 creams:
I like C&E Sienna and GFT cream by Trumper. But mostly I am a soap guy now.

3 colognes:
I'm not a huge cologne wearer, but if Ginger or Mary Ann were on the island I might use some DKNY Be Delicious. If it was just Lovey Howell there then I'd maybe try some Shulton Old Spice? Worth a shot. Can't be too picky on a desert island.

3 Aftershaves:
I have gone down the “old school” AS path. My top three are Clubman, Skin Bracer and vintage OS. I do like DR Harris Arlington, for a more subtle scent.

15) Besides straight razors, what other sharp instruments do you use? pocket knives, kitchen knives, bow and arrow?

I had a pocket knife AD long before the shaving thing, and I own a whole bunch of knives. Carrying a pocket knife in Australia is pretty much banned now, but I have had one in my pocket since I was seven years old, so it is a hard habit to break. I also had a interest in swords for some time, but that is a tricky area now too...

16) Of those sharps…What do you use most?

As I said, I can't carry a knife.... But if I did...

I carry the smallest and least “bust worthy” knives I can. At work I carry a WR Case baby butterbean. It is a nice little knife with no sharp corners to wear the pockets. On my keys I have a little Opinel #4. The steel and grind of Opinels, you can just get them crazy sharp.

At home, around the house I most often use an asymmetrically ground utility knife I made from a file. I originally made it as a razor, but it was too handle heavy, so I like it better as a knife.

17) What is your method for keeping them sharp?

I've always been a bit rubbish at freehand honing, so in the past I've had good results from a Spyderco sharpmaker. I'm getting better on the freehand hones though, and use my coticules and BBW fairly well on knives now.

18) Do you do the cooking in your home?

Single guy, so what cooking gets done, I do.

19) What is your favourite utensil that you use?

I recently bought a new hand made Japanese santoku knife, and it is my precious. The thing is a light sabre. But I live in a share house, so it lives in my room to avoid a ride in the dishwasher, or being used to open packets.

20) Do you have a favourite dish you make?

I used to have access to a really nicechermoula marinade, which I used on lamb, with keffir lime leaves and red wine, in my tagine cooker. Can't find it in Melbourne. Sad.

21) Do you still make strops? If so what is the process like?

Nah, the strop making came to an end when I separated from the ex, lost the workshop and put the tools into storage. Annoying, since now I live about five minutes walk from the best leather shop in Australia. I'd avoided going in there until about a month ago. Then I couldn't help myself, and made myself a new wallet.

The process is fun, but it is all about experimentation. There is very little you can research about the different leather types, and whatnot, so it is all about making the things and giving them a try. Mostly the results are average, but every now and then you discover something new that no one has thought of, or at least not documented on the internet.

22) What does Roo meat taste like?

Like a cross between dolphin and panda.

Kidding! It tastes nice. A little stronger flavour than beef, but it is very lean, with lots of protein. The key is to not overcook it, or it can get tough. Put the steak in the pan, seer, then turn once. Great marinaded as well.

23) Is it true that a Roo strop is better than a horse strop?

Haha. That is a YMMV, but I think so. Roo leather is very thin, but it has the highest tensile strength of any leather, so it has very little stretch. That means the leather conforms to the shape of the edge, and it has a good, even contact no matter what the width of the strop. Also, the draw is very nice if you use vegetable tanned hides.

24) What is it like being a moderator for the greatest website on Earth?

The hours are good but the pay is lousy.

Really, it is a blast. The guys who mod and stew here are the greatest guys you could know. I never really knew how much went into keeping this place running until I got “behind the curtain”. A lot of it is serious work, but a lot of it is clowning with your mates. That keeps it fun. The site has over forty thousand members now, so we are kept busy. But it is the camaraderie that keeps me coming back.
David's interview from 2011: http://badgerandblade.com/vb/showthread.php/203120-Straight-Razor-Interview-Legion
Member Interviews: http://wiki.badgerandblade.com/Interviews
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That was great. Journey to the End of the Night is one of my favorite books. I re-read it every couple of years..


I’m stumped
Thanks David and Toothpick - Great interview. Always wanted to know what Skippy tastes like.
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Always the gentleman and a class act in my book. Getting a bit of a peek behind the razors etc. rounds out the picture nicely. Thanks, I enjoyed this very much.


Staff member
"The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." HDT

Great interview.

My favourite HDT quote in Walden so far is "I would rather sit alone on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion."

I actually stopped reading to jot that one down.

Thanks for the kind words guys.
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