26 Oct 2012

Smells Like Free Spirit (Part 1)

"Come as you are, 
as you were, 
as I want you to be, 
as a friend, 
as a friend, 
as an old enemy"

- Nirvana, Come As You Are, Nevermind, 1992 

If I want to be honest, from my late teens onwards I have never been one to conform. To paraphrase Lady Gaga, I guess I was 'born that way'. Although a part of me has always craved love, recognition and acceptance, I have always sought to detach from the norm (how insignificantly this might have been) and stand out in my own right.

Iconic portrait of Che Guevara, by Alberto Korda (pict source)

Friends call me a free spirit, and I guess it has taken me years to acknowledge it, as I am somewhat careful about the use of labels, and free spirit tends to be an overused tag, encompassing everyone and anyone, as long as they own a pair of Converse and a Che Guevara tee-shirt and have clocked some mileage across a continent or two...

So then, what makes me and those countless others free spirits? For me this long process has developed once teenage angst was out of the way, yet this was not necessarily out of provocation, for discord's sake, or in gratuitous rebellion, sticking two fingers up to society on your way to an ASBO.

Source (from Apple's 'Think Different' 1997 TV commercial)

Somehow I believe I was encouraged  by my dad, one of my biggest yet most controversial influences, to think outside the box from a young age, not take things at face value or accept the biased voice of the media or school education as universal truth. I was encouraged to forge my own views and opinions, although then again my dad was keen to instill - even impose - his views, values and ideas with the false belief that I would take and accept them uncompromisingly. As he had taught me to question things, needless to say that one of the first things I started to question was his way to spoon-feed his ready-made truths to me, those very truths that I had to find out for myself through life's tortuous journey... Life is a process and so is free-spiritedness.

My artistic streak has encouraged me to let off some steam and express myself creatively, via cartoons, story-boards, illustrations, short stories, songwriting and poetry, where I play God, confidente and biographer of sorts to a posse of free spirits borne out of my imagination. My characters were (are) outside the norm, disjointed, ambivalent and live a life I envy or at least am in awe of, a rock'n'roll lifestyle as I imagine it to be, with creative talent, young killer looks, cash to burn, gigs à gogo, fast cars, coastal hideaways, and a catalogue of human foibles and weaknesses played out in the background and sometimes pushed to the limit, that question the essence of life, the meaning of it all, and which result in excesses, late-night existential fears, falls from grace, and redemption (if lucky enough to be spared from any final twists of fate or spears of destiny)... (to be continued)


Smells Like Free Spirit is a 4-part series:  Part 1  |  Part 2  |  Part 3  |  Part 4

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