The Forbidden Fruit Tour. Eating from the Tree of Knowledge is the only way to lose your innocence and get with the often messy business of life. We hopefully exit into the next dimension a more multi-dimensional and fuller being than when we entered this plane. During our earthly sojourn, we might hope to make some benign impact on Gaia and certain of its inhabitants. To relinquish my backwoods' cherry, I'd been invited to sample true HighEnd audio systems in the Big Apple whose colossal size would have made even Eve blush. For a country boy, this can be a destination laden with out-of-proportion superlatives. Not all of them are appealing. Like the Parisians, Niyawkers naturally view their metropolis as the center of the universe. However, outsiders might fail to comprehend the attraction of $2,500/month 750sft apartments with no parking, no backyard, no view of the sky, insane traffic and a permanent din that only subsides for two hours in the early morning. But as always, it depends on what end you peel that banana from. While in the city, yours truly and his better half were the guests of Robert Lighton of British Khaki. His posh digs on the upper Eastside allowed us to experience the city not from a 3rd Avenue or even Lexington perspective but from the Madison end of things, with the Metropolitan Museum of Art within walking distance and high-maintainance babes sashaying down Madison Ave breaking mirrors with their haughty and self-conscious runway projections. What a life. Cuff me!

Our aural destinations would be Robert's lair; Jeffrey Catalano's HighWater Sound Kondo/Hørning system; Steve Mishoe's audio boutique In Living Stereo; Edo M.'s installation of Shindo amps and speakers sold and set up by Shindo importer Jonathan Halpern; John DeVore's pad; Vinh Vu's lovely Colts Neck home and headquarters of Gingko Audio; Bill LeGall's MillerSound speaker repair center in Pennsylvania, Lloyd Walker's turf of Proscenium Gold Signature turntable fame; Mike Malinowski's Wilson Alexandria room; and brief stop-overs at retailers Ears Nova and Lyric HiFi. In keeping with the fabulous hospitality and congeniality of our diverse hosts, this report on how dedicated music lovers and audiophiles have addressed their sonic and decorative needs will occasionally insert images from the Metropolitan. After all, healthy audio obsession is merely a part of our lives which also must cultivate other interests to address the multi-dimensional requirements of our whole being.

Robert's digs were an ideal example for this, perhaps not surprisingly so when considering that its owner worked in the garment industry with his own label for years before launching British Khaki, a very upscale line of British Colonial-inspired Teak/Mahogany furniture produced in three Indian factories outside of Madras and Calcutta and warehoused in a 20,000sft NYC facility with a crack team of refinishers and upholsterers. British Khaki operates multiple US showrooms but calls 62 Greene Street its primary home. And as if not to get pigeon-holed into furniture, Robert has also launched a line of super-fine watches under his own Robert Lighton label. I learned that paying a high-profile movie star $100,000 to wear a special watch during the Oscars isn't uncommon for some of the really big players in this industry whose hardcore benefits are far more obscure than those of audio. After all, a $10 Quartz movement keeps time every bit as good or better than a truly fancy analog mechanism tucked inside a diamond-encrusted casing.

Robert's new Growler above was just one of many high-fashion watches on display at British Khaki and Ivette got to model a new oversize lady's watch below, with a stunning Shagreen band which is what stingray leather is called.