Peter - I used to hunt for the perfect smooth mono print, but found that for all the smoothness and creamy qualties of the new generation films and fine grain dvelopers, they had no sparkle. Edges were never as crisp, and tonaly they were unremarkable.
I dont chase grain, but i do strive for visual impact and *life*in my pictures - using older style emulsions and developer combinations has been a way of achieving this end for me. I have tried the c-41 films but havent been overly impressed, but that's just me
People do things for different reasons, and as long as we (and the people who buy our prints) are happy with the results, why worry?