Ah, the eternal question: What is cool?
Always followed by: And why have some people/places/things got it while others haven’t?
Are cool and style the same thing?
Are all stylish things cool?
Does something have to be fashionable to be cool? Or is cool about doing your own thing?
Is cool the same as the other indefinable quality we call x-factor? Or can you have that special star something and still be naff?
Is cool passion, authenticity, confidence, lack of effort or all of the above?
How do you know when you’ve got it? How do you know when it’s gone?
Is it something you’re born with?
Can you acquire it?
Can you buy it?
Can you sell it?
Is it something you can learn to be or does trying result in instant disqualification?
What’s your definition of cool?
Would it be the same as mine?
If it really is indefinable, then how come we all seem to know that those pictured above – Barack Obama, Steve McQueen, Apple’s iPhone, New York, Philippe Stark’s Juicer, Keith Richards, Miles Davis, James Dean, Adidas Shell Toes – all have it. Or maybe you don’t agree that they do.
How important is it anyway?
All my life I’ve been fascinated by the concept of ‘cool’, something you can’t see or touch yet we all instantly recognise, and react favourably to. Cool people/places/things are always popular, always respected, usually successful, invariably admired. Why? What have they got? What do they know? Can they themselves define it?
That’s what I’m intending to find out with The Definition Of Cool, my own personal journey in search of that magic formula. But first I need your help. I need to know your definition of cool. Who are the people, places and things that you think have it? And how would you put it into words? Don’t be too clever. I’m trying to get together a solid cast of characters I can go and interview – or in the case of products, places and dead people, those who know/knew them well. So don’t be afraid to be too obvious – obscure may be cool, but for our purposes it won’t get us very far. Pick people, places and things which are widely known and recognised, and tell me why you think they’re cool, along with your own definition, in the comments. Once I’ve got a sufficiently cool long list, I’ll be running a series of polls here on the blog to narrow it down to a short list of interviews for the book so don’t forget to sign-up to the mailing list here or subscribe to the RSS feed here, so you won’t miss your chance to vote.