Four days ago, Dean Podesta tweeted the statement above. Two days ago, David Bowie passed away. A dark coincidence yet an opportune moment to reflect upon the great minds surrounding us. I was never David Bowie’s number 1 fan but I can’t deny the facts: he was legendary!
When I saw this tweet, it got me thinking beyond. Who would be my first choice? Who am I lucky to share this planet with? Who, amongst all the great people in this world, am I grateful for (besides my family and friends)? Is it a composer? A writer? A politician? So often, we lose our heads over the cruelty some are capable of and we forget to praise the great minds, those who changed our lives in one way or another and those who continue to do so.
So who would it be?
I am a writer, pianist and architect so for the purpose of this task, I shall stick to what I know : the creative minds.
I managed to exist at the same time as Tahar Ben Jelloun and this makes me want to write even more. I have written about him before, even reviewed one of the greatest books on this planet in a guest post for Ula and yet, it doesn’t seem like enough praise.
Other writers have marked my existence too, Chris Cleave with his powerful novel The Other Hand, Colum McCann and his literary masterpiece Let The Great World Spin, Arthur Golden with Memoirs of A Geisha – a stunningly poetic novel which I recently mentioned while writing about the Noh smile, Albert Espinosa and his Yellow World, a book which changed me without a doubt and so many more. But Ben Jelloun holds a special place in my heart and his storytelling talent is what I strive for.
I understand that many bands and singers have been called genre-defining and revolutionary but none of them figure amongst my top choices. I would rather have to mention Patty Griffin, Regina Spektor, Mumford & Sons (barring their new album…), Dry The River, Damien Rice, Vienna Teng and many, MANY more.
I have shared my playlists before, especially the music I listen to while writing, but when I really think about it, I managed to exist at the same time as Hans Zimmer (what an achievement!), Armand Amar, Ibrahim Maalouf, Yann Tiersen and, despite his vote in support of tax credit cuts for the working poor, Andrew Lloyd Webber for his unforgettable Phantom Of The Opera.
Everyone these seems to adore Zaha Hadid but let me tell you one thing (politely): there is so much more to architecture than fluid, shapeless, all-blending-into-one forms. There are a few “big names” in the world of architecture and it seems like “designed a skyscraper” = “great architect”.
Instead, we should all turn our eyes towards the stuff that matters, those who really make a difference. Have a look at Studio Weave, Townshend Landscape Architects, Assemble, dRMM Architects and a special bonus: Casagrande Laboratory! (the list is not exhaustive)
Well, if you’ve ever felt like you were born too late or too early, think again.
Who would YOU pick? Who are you glad to share this planet with?