One day I was lunching at one of my favorite New York haunts, Balthazar, when I spotted two scallywags having a rather ridiculous lunch. They appeared to be in a time warp of their own given that they were knocking back Martinis and beers with abandon as if it were a University Challenge race. It was made all the more amusing by the fact that they looked like a couple of aging rockstars and were clearly not young whippersnappers out to prove they were larger than life. These two nutters just were.
An hour or so later who should bowl into duncan quinn New York but the same two characters. Given they’d been boozing for quite some time they were in remarkable shape. So remarkable that they almost pissed their pants laughing when they saw me standing there fresh from lunch in the booth next to them. A true “watching me, watching you, watching me” moment. Turns out the one who looked more sane (and this is saying something) had turned his partner in crime on to duncan quinn and persuaded him not to go to Hermès or Chanel for that new outfit he wanted, but to come to yours truly.
That was about seven or eight years ago and both of these esteemed gentlemen have become very regular attendees at duncan quinn, both socially and as their atelier of choice. One of them you may know as the guy with the 1970’s pornstar moustache in the duncan quinn ads. When he’s not broking complex derivative deals or holding court at Balthazar he likes nothing more than to head out into the unknown to test his survival skills.
Which meant when the call came for the rogues to convene for some rugged action in Alaska, McLuders was the obvious choice.
This became especially clear when the script turned out to be more Indiana Jones than Indianapolis. My knowledge of flying machines and fly rods is not as extensive as it could be so all the better that McLuders is at least a dab hand at hunting, shooting and fishing things as Grizzly Adams.
Having the privilege to not fly commercial is always something to be relished, if only for the lack of hassle and the fact you can keep your shoes on. But at the end of the day a plane is a plane and gets you from A to B in the same way whether its a G550 or a 767. Flying a piece of history is a little different. Like the chance to take a vintage Ferrari for a blast, or uncork a gem from a bygone age, its an experience like no other. The sort of thing one spins a tale about whilst lunching at Balthazar.
So it was with some amusement we discovered that we’d be getting to ride in some pretty special kit. A Grumman G-44 “Widgeon” and the float plane made immortal by Indiana Jones, the Grumman G-21 “Goose”. Built in the 1940’s and 1950’s these beautiful pieces of machinery were our transport out into the wild blue yonder where we were headed to break bread, catch some seriously large king salmon, and inhale a bottle or two of the good stuff.
And catch the good stuff we did, as evidenced by the dinner we’ll be holding in New York next week to celebrate our catch by sharing it with the gentlemen rogues who frequent duncan quinn. We may even indulge in a drink or two, and raise a glass to our friend Cal who made it all possible by twisting our arms to fly out into the wild blue yonder for some flights, flies and fine company.
Tall and fishy tales a plenty will be told…but wasn’t it ever the way?…
Getting on your Grumman – Priceless
PJ for ballers – For those who prefer their shoes where they should be
Hooking the king of Salmon – A tasty time
Alaska – A lot more fun than a kick in the bollox
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