“I came here to blow minds.”

 

In the ‘Getting it wrong’ post the other day I wrote about how arrogance can trip you up in your supposed moment of glory. Mulling over some of the comments people made to me in relation to that post I wanted to make it clear that I wasn’t advocating playing it safe. I absolutely love watching people who have the balls to go gloriously out there on a limb having a crack at doing something they think is brilliant. Whether it’s stone cold confidence or ‘fake it to make it’ bravery, the idea of someone putting their balls on the line inspires me and fills me with admiration.

Yes, Russell Brand was on a massive ego trip when he got booed off at the Morrissey concert. He was a dick that night and he got what he deserved. And yes, he’s undoubtedly loving the attention his global revolution thing is getting him, too. But I reckon there’s a part of him that’s truly passionate about his political views. And I think it took guts to risk the wrath of the world media to put himself out there again by writing this piece. Many people want him to look stupid, want to be able to dismiss him as an idiot. As he says: “Even the outlet that printed this will tomorrow print a couple of columns saying what a naïve wanker I am, or try to find ways that I’ve fucked up. Well I am naïve and I have fucked up but I tell you something else. I believe in change. I don’t mind getting my hands dirty because my hands are dirty already. I don’t mind giving my life to this because I’m only alive because of the compassion and love of others.” Yes, he’s a self-obsessed wally. But sometimes, behind his fancy words, leather waistcoat and silly hair, you sense he’s speaking/writing from the heart, taking stances that open him up to ridicule, saying what he really thinks needs to be said. It’s honest and moving and I massively respect him for it.

Another form of confidence I love is that of creative people at the start of something they believe is special. Something they seem to know deep in their bones simply cannot fail. For example, this whole early Ian Brown/John Squire interview is funny, fascinating and full of mindblowing-in-retrospect moments, but from around 7.25, their self-belief and clarity of purpose shine through like glorious sunshine on a shitty day: “It takes time for people to fall in love with ya…but it’s inevitable.” It comes close but they’re far too sensitive and intelligent for their inner confidence to cross over into arrogance.

Then, at the other end of the creative curve, there’s this Wendy James performance from the Rough Trade shop in 2011 (above). It was her first appearance on a stage for over five years, doing songs she’d written herself for the first time in public and – a first for her – playing live guitar. She’s clearly nervous and unsure of herself but she pushes through and sings ‘I Came Here To Blow Minds’. As a performance it’s kind of so-so but as a personal mission statement it’s admirably bold and ambitious, a total ‘fuck you’ to the fear. Neither arrogant nor insecure, just brave, ballsy and brilliantly inspiring.

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About antmelder
Creative Partner at DDB Sydney; passionate vegetarian; lover of books, boxing and Bruce Springsteen.

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