Cultural Icons


James DeanWho were your cultural icons whilst growing up: who offered you hope, inspiration, enabled you to dream and to be? What was it about them?

This is one of the explorations in Saturday’s workshop at Alchemy. When I started thinking about mine there were many at different points in my life: one or two may have lasted a year or longer, some for the life-cycle of a pop song, most were seasonal. We change quite a lot in a season especially during our teenage years.

I discovered biographies at 15 and fell in love with James Dean. He appeared misunderstood, lost, introverted and melancholic – the Rebel Without a Cause. He was masculine in monochrome. There were also unconfirmed rumours about his sexuality. All of these things offered me a quiet comfort at this age. He had a motto: live fast, die young and leave a good-looking corpse.  He died in a car crash in 1955 at the age of 24.

There is a romantic notion when making a connection with someone no more that you’ve never met. And I do think it profound that they or what they symbolise can still communicate and offer some comfort. Jimmy Dean was quite important to me during adolescence that year – 1990. What about you?

There are still a few remaining places for Saturday’s workshop. Come and take part. 


3 responses »

  1. Mine would have to be Ralph Macchio from the Karate Kid. An amazing story of how the underdog can be a success by working hard…even though he got the living daylights kicked out of him at every turn…

    I just remember feeling sorry for him and wanting to help…
    Oh and the smile helped too!

    • Thanks Kully. I think the fight sequences and training especially in the films was quite impressive at the time. I think I only saw the first one to the end. I know what you mean about the smile.

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