Iconoclastic (6 February 2019)

The Icon of the 20th century is Alan Turing, the code breaker and computer originator; or so says BBC2 and its audience, in the recent and much-derided series (derided because: how can one person affect the century; and there were no women in the shortlist of seven).

For all the negative comment, I found the final show - with the public vote – strangely moving. Chris Packham, the celebrity naturalist who has autism, made a pretty powerful speech in favour of Turing, as a scientist who can save us all and our planet no matter what our politicians do. It may have swung the vote; though the result may also be an indicator of BBC2’s core audience……

Icons provide us with inspiration and leadership; someone we ca n draw energy from when we need it, to help us aspire to those things important to us.

And we all need such outside inspiration at times; for personal and political reasons. Foe me, the musician Patti Smith was an icon in my university years and beyond, someone who lived her life the way she wanted, defied convention, and remained true to what she believed in. At least that is how it seemed to me. She was a sort of hero. I have seen her play live twice and interviewed once; she lived up to my expectation. I have an annoying habit of quoting her lyrics to people in certain situations.

It is OK to have an icon and be inspired by their leadership; it helps us to carry on when things get tough.

Early candidate for 21st century icon? I’ll go for Malala, the Pakistani schoolgirl who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban and has gone on, still young, to inspire both women and men

So who is your icon?!

All the best


PS: rest in peace, Molly; let's hope we have learned something from your death

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