“It’s still magic even if you know how it’s done.” - Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky
Humankind’s history is rich and densely populated by people who did incredible things in various areas of life and improved the world. Starting from prophets Sarah and Moses and all famous persons lived far before and after Genghis Khan and those who lived in later periods as Charles Darwin, Nelson Mandela, Steve Jobs and those who still makes us happy as J.K. Rowling.
All these people in a way made our lives better, easier and undoubtedly their projects containing a super important “human centred” ingredient led us to consequential and existential life and being.
The changes are always difficult but in the majority of cases they are for the best, sometimes for us, it may be hard to adapt them and they push us beyond our comfort zones, however, after all, we end up with quite great accomplishments in our life activity. Still, we’ve got plenty of other cases when the humankind had an epic fail in the result of the invention as an atomic bomb, all sorts of weapon and production of plastic. In the process of making, if we do things bearing in mind ecology and protection of the planet, a human being may excel, get better opportunities and a better world for future generations.
“People today have forgotten they’re really just a part of nature. Yet, they destroy the nature on which our lives depend. They always think they can make something better. Especially scientists. They may be smart, but most don’t understand the heart of nature. They only invent things that, in the end, make people unhappy. Yet they’re so proud of their inventions. What’s worse, most people are, too. They view them as if they were miracles. They worship them. They don’t know it, but they’re losing nature. They don’t see that they’re going to perish. The most important things for human beings are clean air and clean water.” — said Akira Kurosawa, Japanese film director.
Like any other person in life, I was also influenced by the deeds of a bunch of prominent persons and influencers. We, human beings always learn from each other and make lessons learned from the achievements and inventions of others. That starts in childhood and in a way affects on the evolution of our characters and makes our own story.
I’d like to recall Oprah Winfrey’s words said during Golden Globe in 2018, “I’ve interviewed and portrayed people who’ve withstood some of the ugliest things life can throw at you, but the one quality all of them seem to share is an ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning, even during our darkest nights.”
I’ve got top 10 personas and stories that shook my life and for sure made it incredible. I would rather call them brands that influenced my thinking and life perception and they definitely found their place in my heart.
1778 — Iconic Man Was Born
When I was asked back in a day about the number of suits in my wardrobe, I couldn’t give an immediate answer and in fact, I didn’t know the exact number. One might say — what a shameful example of consumerism! I’ll protest this. I can admit the fact the brand factories that produce every men’s suit, shirt and shoes today spend loads of water and other natural resources that in some extent not favourable to the environment — just imagine how many plastic particles have the packaging of these items, especially men’s shirts — sometimes it just drives me around my bend! These things surround me in my life and I use suits and shirts just because they suit me well and I guess I am not alone. We really need to stand up and declare we need suits and shirts produced ecologically friendly and ban plastic packaging.
Suits have been around for quite a long period and in fact, they were drastically changed throughout our history, still, their meaning and aesthetic necessity continued to exist.
George Bryan “Beau” Brummell — iconic figure was born in London. He got fed up of the dress code those days and decided to innovate bringing his own changes. These included a more practical and plain dark-coloured jacket, simple necktie, and trousers.
His design of jacket still exists in a similar form today in the ‘shadbelly’ coats worn by horse riders. The English society was shocked to see Brummell dressed in this new fashion but later and today his name is associated with style and good looks.
I truly think those gentlemen who adore suits have to visit Beau’s memorial on Jermyn Street and pay tribute for all he done to “make men feel amazing” (Moss Bros. British tailoring’s slogan) and update their check-in on Instagram, telling out the world what impact iconic man Mr Brummel made for us.
1769 — Rise of Latex Boots
In my childhood, I had yellow wellingtons but I doubt anyone from my family were curious to know about their origin. I assume they were gum boots produced in some parts of sister republics, newly independent countries or maybe in China. Only after I grew up I read an interesting story of this part of the wardrobe that began its chronicle quite early in South America. A great invention of Maya Indians who would go knee-deep in the liquid of a rubber plant, afterwards the latex froze on their feet. Interesting fact that Nokia before starting to produce handphones used to manufacture wellingtons as well. At the end of the day, everyone has an experience in the past they don’t want to share.
The Duke of Wellington instructed his shoemaker in London and modified the 18th-century Hessian boot. The resulting new boot was fabricated in soft calfskin leather, had the trim removed and was cut to fit more closely around the leg. The boot was dubbed the Wellington and the name has stuck in English ever since.
Considered fashionable and foppish in the best circles and worn by dandies, such as Beau Brummell, they remained the main fashion for men through the 1840s.
They are still used these days as you know in a variety of modifications and types and I am going to buy one pair of good wellingtons to include in my wardrobe.
Finnish Illustrator and Writer Tove Jansson Was Born in 1914.
She and her Moomin characters made a great impact on my mindset and the ability to look at the world with a creative approach. The carefree and adventurous family live in their house in Moominvalley, though in the past, their temporary residences have included a lighthouse and a theatre. Moomins world really opens another dimension, which is quite unlike with the standard fairy-tales inhabited by fairies, witches and royal families.
Moomins are creatures whose outlook quite philosophical and at the same time very understandable for children. The way how unusually they think and talk to each other and run a quiet country life won’t leave irrelevant. They live in the house of extended family with different creatures who are not their relatives neither in their appearance and let’s say racial belonging. In my opinion, this is a good example of tolerance and diversity that Tove Jansson tried to incorporate in this story.
Moomins are white, round fairy tale characters with large snouts that make them resemble hippopotamuses. They have had many adventures along with their various friends.
My favourite characters are Sniff and Snifkin who are very romantic, innovative in a way.
If you visit https://www.moomin.com/en/ in one of the chapters you will find a short quiz called “Which Moomin Character Are You?”. If you answer several simple questions the website provides you with the character you are in Moomins world. All my life I thought I was Snifkin (Snus Mumrik in Russian adopted version) “he is a philosophical vagabond who wanders the world fishing and playing the harmonica. He carries everything he needs in his backpack, as he believes that having too much stuff makes life overly complicated. Snifkin loves to go wandering at night and especially in the moonlight. He never asks the names of the new places he visits, but simply enjoys the journey itself.”
Yet, after my answers, the website defined me as Sniff who is: “You quickly get excited but bore just as easily! You like to go on adventures, but you don’t like when things get too scary. You strongly believe that possessions lead to happiness. You like to collect a lot of stuff, and especially money is constantly on your mind! But you also like to spend time with your friends.”
All right. At least not everything is lost for me. I can admit it is just a game but these small things really can make you think about your world and personality. Sometimes it may turn out we are not those who we were thinking we represented and at the end of the day we were totally other persons.
World of Astrid Lindgren, Swedish Writer, Born in 1907
She became a beacon guiding me with her unusual characters who think out of a box and always have an innovative approach. Pippi Longstocking, Emil from Lönneberga, Karlsson on the Roof, and the Six Bullerby Children, Mio, My Son, and Ronia the Robber’s Daughter.
I liked the idea how Bosse from “Mio, My Son” met a friend and found his father in a new country — I was very excited about this and very happy for his adventures. Young boy Bosse was adopted by an elderly couple who disliked boys. They harassed him and told him to stay out of their way. Soon after, Bosse finds a bottle with a genie who takes Bosse to another world, far, far away where Bosse is told that his real name is Mio and that he is a son of the king and thus prince of the land. Afterwards with his friend Jum-Jum, and the horse Miramis Bosse confronts the evil Knight Kato to protect his land.
Emil is a real prankster, innovative thinker, who lives on a farm in the Lönneberga village in Sweden. Emil is very resourceful. He is handy with any type of farm animal, especially horses. He is also brave, and as the epic point in his story, he saves the farmhand Alfred’s life when he has blood poisoning. Emil is caught in the bad weather and makes the trip by horse to reach the doctor and thus saves Alfred’s life, a man he has always looked up to. I assume if Emil would live nowadays he would be definitely famous Instagram star for his prank videos.
Another prankster Pippi Longstockings is red-haired, freckled and has superhuman power — able to lift her horse. She was a cheerful and quite turbulent character. She frequently tricks adults, particularly if they are quite pompous and arrogant. Her outrage comes out in extraordinary cases, such as when a man ill-treats his horse. Pippi, like Peter Pan, does not want to become an adult. Her four best companions are her horse and monkey, and the neighbours’ children, Tommy and Annika.
As a child, I reread these stories numerous times and never tried of it. I learned from Lindgren’s characters to be cheerful, playful and always think and act out of a box. Thinking now after many years about these characters I really miss that period of my life and wouldn’t mind once in a while to come back and see myself, the young boy who was obsessed with these characters and live their life together with them.
Now time to click and travel in time to meet
Marie Van Brittan Brown and Her Husband, Albert, 1966
They created an early closed-circuit television, (CCTV) system to be used for home monitoring. That security system was the predecessor of all modern home security technology that we use at present.
Marie Van Brittan was a nurse. Her husband, Albert Brown, was an electronics technician. When she was home alone, she sometimes felt concerned. The crime rate in their neighbourhood had increased. The couple began devising a home security system.
They installed a camera to the door which could move up and down to take views.
A television monitor was placed in the Browns’ bedroom, and Albert utilised a radio-controlled remote system to feed the images seen at the door back to the monitor. A two-way microphone also allowed conversation with the person at the entryway.
Marie Van Brittan Brown did receive an award from the National Scientists Committee for her work but no year for the award can be identified. As a black woman on her own, it would have been very difficult for her to sell an idea.
What we do know is that Marie Van Brittan Brown’s idea laid the groundwork for a very important form of home security and what I know that so far this achievement of woman never celebrated and acknowledged as it would be honoured if she was a man.
Market Insights reports that the do-it-yourself home security sector will be a 1.5 billion business by 2020.
The Epic Space Opera — Star Wars Began Back in 1977.
This saga beyond any doubt made its incredible influence and heavily affected my character. I don’t mean I became the insane fan of Star Wars wearing Dart Vader’s and Stormtrooper’s robes on every occasion although I don’t mind, yet the opera became a great specimen of fantastic films in my life. Al these creatures, aliens and the idea of humans living in one big Federation struggling with saving its integrity and battling two sides of Jedai Order against Siths.
The music and soundtracks of the cosmic saga are the separate thematics which was written by John Williams, an American composer, conductor, and pianist.
Released between 1977 and 2017, the music for the first two trilogies, performed by the London Symphony Orchestra and in some passages by London Voices chorus.
In spite of the sequel has the endless number of creatures dialogues that might sound sometimes silly, the story always is about to believe in the idea even if the earth is burning under your feet. Jedi Order’s affairs recall me the life of a human being. Battling with the life’s challenges one can fail, can lose everything, but as long as he/she is alive and can breathe there is always a New Hope. The same happens with the rebels, they are attacked by clones of the Empire, killed, destroyed and smashed by the Death Star, even the entire planets are powdered but there a bunch of survivors always manage to run away last moment and create new forces on another planet in another galaxy. And life goes on.
I’d like to make a small tribute to the film director George Lukas. He’s been my idol for many years and the work he rebounded in the cinematography is invaluable. His genuine passion and commitment to his work can only inspire us to do our jobs bearing in mind the accomplishments of these iconic people.
Gareth Edwards who was the film director for the Rogue One was the alumni of UCA.
Chyngyz Aitmatov’s Cassandra — Published in 1994
This novel of famous Kyrgyz and Russian writer Chyngyz Aitmatov became a reflection on ecological and spiritual crisis of the humankind, it was an attempt to comprehend further path of the human civilisation. Initially, it was published in Dutch and in Russian.
The Cosmic Russian monk discovered that unborn child can project a small mark onto their mothers’ foreheads signalling the fact that they do not want to be born. After having made this discovery, the Cosmic Russian monk began beaming from space, to make this mark more obvious to expecting mothers. He revealed his discovery to the world in a press article sent to an American news-publisher along with his belief that the ever-increasing prevalence of the marks was a sign that more and more evil was being genetically transferred from generation to generation as a result of the growing amount of misdeeds committed by human and that if the humans did not stop and fundamentally change its course, it could face extinction.
Aitmatov described the Mark of Cassandra issue as something that affected the entire world, even animal life have a spiritual level.
The novel was accepted by the readers quite ambiguously, however, I liked it although I had to read it twice to understand. A very philosophical and at the same time fantastical story and I would tell that if you never read Terry Pratchett’s novels and Aitmatov’s Mark of Cassandra, I urge you doing it as shorty as possible.
Hollywood Actress Hedy Lamarr Invented a Wi-Fi in 1942
She starred in dozens of films over a career, Lamarr, who died in Florida in 2000 is now known as “mother of Wi-Fi.”
At the beginning of World War II, she and composer George Antheil developed a radio guidance system for Allied torpedoes that used spread spectrum and frequency.
Her life reads like a Hollywood script: The glamorous movie star by day was, by night, the lonely immigrant channelling an inner Thomas Edison.
It was a very clever use of the existing technology because digital technologies had not yet started used widely. Their invention was granted a patent on August 11, 1942.
However, it was technologically difficult to implement. At that time the U.S. Navy was not receptive to considering inventions coming from outside the military.
In 1962, an updated version of their design, at last, appeared on Navy ships.
In 1997, Lamarr and Antheil received the Electronic Frontier Foundation Pioneer Award and the Bulbie Gnass Spirit of Achievement Bronze Award, given to individuals whose creative lifetime achievements in the arts, sciences, business, or invention fields have significantly contributed to society.
More than 50 years after her original patent, Hedy did finally got some acknowledgement — even a few awards — but she didn’t show up to accept them.
Hedy died alone in Florida at the age of 86.
Hip-hop History Began in the Bronx 45 Years Ago
Clive Campbell or otherwise called DJ Kool Herc introduced what has since become recognised as hip-hop to an extremely enthusiastic audience.
“Once they heard that, there was no turning back,” the pioneer told New York magazine. “They always wanted to hear breaks after breaks after breaks.”
Hip hop or hip-hop, is a culture and art movement developed in the Bronx in New York City during the late 1970s.
According to the U.S. Department of State, hip hop is “now the centre of a mega music and fashion industry around the world” that crosses social barriers and cuts across racial lines and I truly agree with this.
Hip-hop for me is not only a piece of music, it’s a fusion of art, fashion, languages and culture. Hip-hop is a manner of expression, a search of human being’s identity in art where no nationalities and boundaries and this energy is being shared from Rio de Janeiro to London, from New York to Nairobi and from Istanbul to Bishkek. Artists and performers seek to transform elements of cultures to manifest every time trying to create something new to be inherited by future generations.
Famous hip-hop performers nowadays are influencers, shakers and innovators in musical culture and it is obvious. I’d like to bring to your attention the video timeline I found on YouTube posted by Hip-Hop Universe “The Evolution of Hip-Hop 1979–2017”.
Emerge of SpaceX in 2002
The deeds of the designer, inventor and entrepreneur Elon Musk are disputable and ambiguous and are being argued by people in Social Media. His expensive and oddish projects like launching a Tesla car with a mannequin inside into Space or a Hyperloop — a tunnel with a vactrain that will allow vehicles to cover the distance from Los Angeles to San Francisco (350 miles) within 35 minutes. I don’t want to go in details about the expenses of these projects and I also think that they are very impractical however I think his endeavours won’t be wasted, all that he is doing now is a foundation and a framework that allow to develop technologies and bring the human beings in a new level of development. And only a few days ago Elon Musk announced on his Twitter about the Starship — flight rocket which takes off and lands vertically.
Musk has expressed that the goals of SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity evolve from his vision of the world and humankind. His objectives incorporate reducing global warming through sustainable energy and decreasing the human degeneration and death by setting up a human colony on Mars.
So this what I believe in as well as believe in Musk’s vision of future and it really much resonates with my inner world.
Hope my list of innovators, shakers and influences was interesting for you. We only need to do better things to improve our world and that human beings and animals can live on Mother Planet happily and ever after.
Design, Innovation and Brand Management, UCA