“For the good that I would I do not:
but the evil which I would not, that I do.”
—St. Paul (Rom. 7:19)
DROP PARTY: The 2023 Halloween System Jekyll & Hyde will drop at SPC this coming Tuesday, October 3rd, at 6pm EST. Shapes will include 301, 302, 303, 304, 305, 306, 307, 312, 313, 314, 317, B42 and XL315—which is the complete standard System shape chart.
This is the third annual Laudisi era-Halloween commemorative and it’s the second System–a cause for rejoicing for the diehard Pete fans and a good time to reassess the fascination of the Jekyll / Hyde archetype.
The Classic Line Jekyll & Hyde debuted in 2015, just three years after the Dracula line. It originally consisted just of just two shapes–the 05 bentand the X105 straight billiard, which you can see at Post #21. The line currently boasts eleven shapes and has become a staple in the catalog. What I love about J&H these days is the chance to see the current super-gnarly rustication in black. This is just heavy metal greatness. It also amps up the glossy appeal of the ruby red stain–and I hope the contrast red & black on the smooth side is really as heightened as the studio photos suggest.
All the System shapes will feature the acrylic P-Lip, which may lack a bit in the soft shoulders of the stem as compared to the vulcanite counterpart but which features a better button that most of the currently-available vulcanite P-Lips. As these acrylic P-Lip stems are also shorter than what’s available in vulcanite, they also create a more compact look for each of the shapes.
If you’re not familiar with the way the J&H design works (and I confess I certainly didn’t remember), take a look at the photos above and below and take note: Sometimes the smooth sphere is on the right of the bowl, sometimes on the left. Interesting. Unsettling. Uncanny.
The Jekyll & Hyde is one of the few K&P lines to lack an Irish back story, launching instead on its connection to the Dracula pipe. However, for the Thinking Man there are a number of thought provoking routes into enthusiasm for the new Jekyll & Hyde System. The first is via pop culture, by way of the various film adaptations of Robert Louis Stevenson’s original novella. Chief among these is the pre-code 1931 Paramount feature starring Frederick March and Miriam Hopkins with music by J. S. Bach and cinematography by the renowned Karl Struss, directed by Rouben Mamoulian. There are dozens of others on offer, but if you’re still writing your dance card for this Halloween’s Uncanny Film Festival, begin here and for my money skip the rest.
A second road into J&H is via the required reading of Stevenson’s 1886 Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886). It’s one of those staples of Gothic horror that will never go away, at least until there are no longer readers (which may not be too far off, alas). If you prefer to listen to the story while you gaze in rapt admiration of your J&H System, Richard Armitage’s masterful audiobook is the way to go. Armitage, in case you’ve forgotten, played Thorin Oakenshield in the Jackson Hobbit trilogy, among countless other (and more important) roles.
Robert Louis Stevenson
A final, more perilous path, is to smoke your J&H System as a contemplative vehicle for self-awareness, exploring the duality of human nature (the “Thinking Man,” indeed). As Stevenson writes, “Man is not truly one but truly two.”
Under the wide and starry sky
Dig the grave and let me lie
Glad did I live and gladly die
And I laid me down with a will
This be the verse you grave for me
Here he lies where he longed to be
Home is the sailor home from the sea
And the hunter home from the hill
—epitaph on Stevenson’s grave