Tuesday, 6 July 2010

How to be cool?

If you thought this post was going to be top tips on how to be cool you've most definitely come to the wrong place.
a) i'm not cool,
b) i'm not even going to attempt to be cool,
c) there is no one definition of cool.

What I can share with you though is a bit of info about a workshop I went to last week at The School of Life, titled, How to be cool.

Their website states that attendees of this workshop are likely to be, "those who are estute enough to sense there is more to this mysterious virtue than simply knowing the in-places to eat, labels to wear, albums to listen to etc"

When I google 'cool' this is the first image that you get on google images.

Not my idea of cool, but then I think that could be the point.

Wikipedia's definition is this:
Cool is an aesthetic of attitude, behavior, comportment, appearance and style, influenced by and a product of the Zeitgeist. Because of the varied and changing connotations of cool, as well its subjective nature, the word has no single meaning. It has associations of composure and self-control (cf. the OED definition) and often is used as an expression of admiration or approval.

This is Nick Southgate who ran the workshop. Is he cool? I thought so but I don't think he thought he was.

I'm not sure I came away with a definitive answer as to what cool is, but the workshop did make me think about things with a new persepctive.

The main thing I did learn (or maybe I already knew this?) is that 'cool' is effortless. Try to be cool, and it fails. Cool is also full of paradoxes. A lot of people who are perceived to be cool are outsiders. But what if the 'thing' you are outside of disappears. Does your 'cool' status vanish too?

It's a complicated topic.

One of the images Nick showed us was this image here. I'd never seen it before. At first glance I noticed the two men with their arms raised. I assumed they've won a race of some sort. I didn't think much past that. But then Nick goes on to explain that this image represents so much more. Put simply (and I apologise if I get any of this info wrong, i'm no expert) the two men pictured, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, had just won gold and bronze at the 1968 Olympics. As they accepted their medals the two men, each with a solo black glove, raised their fists in a black power salute.

The gesture was deemd to be a political statement and in response the president of the Olympics had the men stripped of their medals and I think dropped from the American team.
This simple gesture represented equality for African-Americans and went on to be a symbolic representation of the quest for eqaluity in athletics.


This post only covers a small section of the workshop, but if you fancy being challenged, meeting new and interesting people, and perhaps learning something new, take a look at The School of Life website. Who knows, it may even make you cool.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your lovely comment!

    'Cool' blog.


    p.s love your stripey dress from your last post ;-)


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Clazzerati xx