Old people are great.
Sure, sometimes you get the odd spiteful one who’ll try to smack you with a walking stick or vote against your right to freedom, but for the most part, they’re content to contemplate their last remaining years on a park bench. Which is a waste, because you and I should be making the most of them; they’ve seen things and done shit for longer than the rest of us, and there’s no substitute for the knowledge gathered by time. With that said, here are a few old—and some deceased (RIP)—people who I like and think you might too.
Henry Miller (Writer) 1891 – 1980
I first picked up a Henry Miller book when I was 16 and haven’t been the same since. But don’t take my word for it; listen instead to literary great Samuel Beckett who describes Miller’s novel Tropic Of Cancer as a ‘Momentous event in the history of modern writing,’ or Bob Dylan, who called Miller, ‘The greatest American writer.’ Told you so.
Norman Foster (Architect) 1935 –
I’m not even into architecture, and to be honest the only reason I even know who Norman Foster is is because I spend too much time on YouTube. But after watching this video, I thought he seemed like a pretty interesting guy, turns out he’s done some interesting stuff too, like build the headquarters for Apple in California and the Reichstag dome in Berlin.
Diane Arbus (Photographer) 1923 – 1971
Along with taking some of the most timeless images of the last century, Diane Arbus
challenged society’s paradigm of beauty and brought upon a new era of acceptance and
embrace within the photographic world. Major kudos.
James Baldwin (Writer) 1924 -1987
To be (shamefully) honest, I didn’t know much about James Baldwin until the boss (Hi,
Crombie) mentioned him to me. The name rang a bell, but that was about it. Turns out he’s pretty great. He was a novelist, playwright, essayist, poet, and activist who utilised literary forms to express and explore political and social narratives within society. Baldwin confronted the issues of race, class, self-acceptance, and sexual orientation, and if you’re alive in 2020, you’ll know how heavily relevant these issues remain today. I just bought his book, The Fire Next Time, for $18.76. Thanks, Crom!
Henri Cartier-Bresson (Photographer) 1908 – 2004
The man who trained as a painter and prevailed as a photographer. A true pioneer and icon of street photography, the heavyweight of heavyweights. His name is still the bar by which all street photographers are measured and aspire to today.
Michael Beirut (Graphic Designer) 1957 –
Similar to Cartier-Bresson, both Michael Beirut’s work and personal perspective are so profound that they resonate way past the medium they’re communicated in. I.e. just watch the video and get inspired and think and change the world. Voila.
Viktor Frankl (Psychiatrist) 1995 – 1997
What’s a psychiatrist doing in a ‘subculture’ magazine? Well, this psychologist is more of a badass than all of the above. His book, Man’s Search For Meaning, is just as impressive as a Norman Foster building and equally as insane as a Henry Miller book, except every event in this novel is actually true, and is based upon Frankl’s own experience of the Holocaust. Check it out for a serious reality check and a vigorously renewed sense of appreciation. Respect your elders.
Helen Reddy (singer/actress/activist) 1941 –
Released in 1972, Helen Reddy’s song ‘I Am Woman’ became an anthem for women’s rights and a catalyst for the invigorated push behind the feminist movement. The commercial success of the song also led to Reddy becoming the first Australian singer to top the US charts. Check the trailer below for a preview to her biopic which streams on Stan Aug 28. P.s. She was born in Melbourne—one more point for Victoria!