The forgotten pleasures of elegance and the art of living – Interview with Douglas Mortimer.
In a fast-paced world, which is constantly changing before our eyes and where the reference values are often ephemeral and superficial, there are still to our good fortune, characters like Douglas Mortimer who, with happy intuition, sympathy and communication skills, endeavor to keep alive the values of beauty, elegance, kindness and art of living. “Classic” values that are always valid and fundamental in human relationships.
Douglas Mortimer deals with pleasures such as Slow Smoking, Good Drinking, Masculine Elegance, Traditional Shaving, Classic Music, Culture and Italian Art and he does it mainly using the YouTube channel, as well as his blog and other Social Media. A happy choice that of video, because it allows him to combine reviews, tutorials, examples and stories in a single medium of easy and immediate use.
Of course, the topics he deals with (but above all the way he does) are not those that cause oceanic teenagers follow-ups on social networks, but his unquestionable success shows that the need for class, elegance, refinement, gallantry and kindness are still widespread. And one can still look to the future of the new generations with the hope that they will also learn the sound principles proposed by Douglas.
A similar character is obviously much appreciated by those who, like us at iBESTmag, are always looking for excellence in sectors similar to those he treats and shares the same values. So, we asked to Fabio Bernieri to tell us more about his creature.
Beauty will save the world …. as Dostoevsky wrote, and Excellence is nothing but one of its many forms.
Q) Who is “Douglas Mortimer”? What inspired him, how he’s born and what he represents?
A) Douglas Mortimer is, first of all, the famous character created by Italian movie Director Sergio Leone for his timeless masterpiece “A Fistful of Dollars“. In that movie, Lee Van Cleef played the role of a gentleman-sized bounty hunter, cultured and refined, who acted for personal revenge rather than money.
As a tribute to this character, and especially to the art of Sergio Leone, I wanted to create “my” Douglas Mortimer: a sort of ferryman of the time, who had somehow the ability to transport us in a forgotten era to (re)discover values, traditions and pleasures that today are in danger of disappearing.
Through Douglas Mortimer I try not only to preserve this culture, but also to disseminate and spread it, especially among the new generations, who will in their turn be future custodians of these traditions.
Q) The Culture of Good Taste and Good Living. How can we still pursue in a current world so frenetic and sometimes rather trashy?
A) Modernity, progress, speed are not necessarily enemies of good living but, on the contrary, could paradoxically be allies of it. What undermines these values is, in my opinion, cultural brutalization, massification, lack of kindness and sensitivity. And it is precisely to prevent this risk, that emerges the urgency to pursue the research of beauty, refined pleasures, traditions. Acts that today appear more revolutionary than conservatives.
Q) Regarding the themes of the previous question, how did you manage to combine them with Social Media, which are often the symbols of a world that devours everything quickly and superficially? Did you expect to have such a success?
A) Social media is simply a tool, as were press or radio years ago. I do not see Social as an enemy, but as an opportunity. If we aspire to preserve the culture of good living, we can not only ignore them, but rather learn to know them and exploit their potentialities.
The real challenge – which for me is also an incentive – is precisely that of making current again traditions that were typical of the past.
Q) The elegance, the class, the refinement … are innate qualities or can they be learned and/or cultivated with time?
A) Elegance, class and refinement are aspects that relate primarily to their cultural heritage and, by definition, culture is something that is learned and cultivated over time.
As I see it then, we don’t born elegant, but we become. More than a destination, elegance is a continuous path of research on ourselves. A difficult but exciting path, which requires will, discipline and passion. A journey that can not and must never end.
Q) How do we become a “point of reference” in a certain sector (we ourselves have long been followers of your reviews and tutorials about slow smoking)? What does credibility and authoritativeness mean to you?
A) The success that Douglas Mortimer is getting – a totally unexpected success for me – I think it is linked to several factors. First of all, that of having occupied a free niche. When I started, YouTube was already saturated with gamers, motivators, female fashion bloggers, experts in information technology and technology, but there were still very few people who dealt with constancy and continuity themes that were so unusual for this platform, like slow smoking, classic elegance and good living in general.
Passion was also absolutely decisive. A passion, sincere and genuine, for all the topics I wanted to talk about, without which I would never have found the necessary motivation to carry on this adventure.
Credibility and authoritativeness are important, but they are achieved only with time and constancy, and must not be undermined by self-referentiality. So I try to tackle all the subjects with due seriousness, but always leaving room to the game and lightness. In life, and even more so on a platform like YouTube, I think it’s important not to take yourself too seriously … and a bit of self-irony sometimes does not hurt.
Q) Douglas Mortimer was born on YouTube and there he has the greatest number of followers. How important is having the Physique du Role? 🙂
A) I do not know whether or not I have the physique du role, but certainly, with the physique that I find myself, I would have been not very credible if I talked about fitness. Perhaps it would be just as unbelievable as a teenager who wanted to talk about classical elegance. Having the physique du role therefore counts, but not in the long term, where the passion, the ability to capture attention and communicate effectively are decisive.
Q) A world seen from the male point of view, but not male chauvinist…. the rediscovery of almost lost uses and values, the pleasure of gestures and rituals … could prove to be one of the many trends that are followed to give a tone , or to have an interesting look … What do you think about it and how do you see the male role in such a confused and multiform historical moment?
A) Trends have always existed and will always exist, but as far as they have an important influence on our society, I remain convinced that certain traditions, certain values and certain conceptions of elegance are at least partly out of trends.
If then the trend of the moment wants the rediscovery of gallantry, good manners, classical elegance … well, this trend is welcome!
Q) The wine and the cigar preferred by Douglas Mortimer?
A) The first ones I can think of are “Pergole Torte” di Montevertine and Cohiba “Behike 52”.
Q) Who is Douglas Mortimer actually?
A) Douglas Mortimer is a character that represents a significant part of myself, my passions, my desires and even my faults. A character under which I conceal myself and through which I play, but which still remains a character.
Behind the character there is a person probably more ordinary and conventional than you think, certainly more reserved and shy. A person who, as many others, loves his family and his work, but who hopes in his small way, to contribute to the rediscovery of forgotten values.
Texts & Interview © iBESTmag – Images Courtesy of Douglas Mortimer – Reproduction Forbidden