Esquire (USA) Interview
Apr-2007: In this telephone interview, I was asked some deliberately provocative questions, giving the published interview an “edgy” style.
- Interviewed for: Esquire (USA)
- Interviewed by: James Carlson
- Interviewed via: Telephone
- Interviewed on: 26-Mar-2007
(Interview not recorded by me – transcript not available)
“He's Knot Crazy”
By James Carlson, Esquire, 05-Apr-2007
Meet Ian Fieggen, the world's preeminent shoelace expert.
[Photo of Ian Fieggen]
Charles Darwin's entire life was spent studying living things, first as an apprentice doctor, then as a taxidermist, and finally as the world's preeminent geologist, the man responsible (and ridiculed) for his theories on evolution. At about the same time, John James Audubon used the last four decades of his life to obsessively catalogue and paint birds, laying the foundation for much of what we know about avian life in America. And Ian Fieggen? Well, he has spent the last 25 years meticulously studying...shoelaces.
When the Australian Fieggen isn't working in computer graphics, he's toiling away on his life's work: Fancy lacing patterns, knots that are sure-to-stick, and his Website, Fieggen.com, where his encyclopedic knowledge has been collected for all to see. And Fieggen's work is on the cusp of getting the recognition it so richly deserves -- the man is working on a book.
Of course, the real question here is: Who f**king cares?
JAMES: How'd you get into this?
IAN: I just woke up one morning and broke a shoelace. I thought there was nothing else to do but try to figure out what caused it. Fifteen years later, I invented a shoelace knot.
JAMES: The “Ian Knot”?
IAN: Right, the world's fastest shoelace knot.
JAMES: No shit?
IAN: Have you seen this knot? I just don't think it can be done any faster than that.
JAMES: Any science behind that claim?
IAN: I actually approached the Guinness Book of World Records board to see if they would recognize it. They said, “Nah, it's too specialized.” They've got some guy in there pulling a truck with his teeth, and they reckon shoelaces are too specialized?
JAMES: But seriously, why shoelaces?
IAN: A lot of people out there have learned to tie their shoelaces incorrectly, and, as a result, their shoelaces come undone several times a day. Some estimates say 40 to 50 percent of the population are doing that.
JAMES: So you're offering a public service?
IAN: Sure. I've always been someone who liked to contribute to the community. When I saw a bit of a gaping hole on the Internet for shoelace knowledge, I thought, “Well, why not?”
JAMES: Ever see the video of that guy tying his shoe without his hands?
IAN: Yeah, there's a guy, a magician out there who teaches it. Let's just say the action isn't in the feet.
JAMES: You've got the top shoelace site in the world and an upcoming book. What next?
IAN: It'd be quite fun to make a living being Professor Shoelace. I'd like to work with kids dispensing shoelace advice to the next generation.
JAMES: Shoelaces is a bit of a, let's say, inane subject. People ever look at you like you took one to the head?
IAN: Initially, my wife thought this was a bit pointless, really, to be spending so much time on it. But I like to do what other people won't attempt or what they say can't be done. A lot of people might think, “Well, that guy's mad.” Okay, maybe I am, but I'm going to do it anyway.
– James Carlson