Thoughts On “Cool”

Written By: Anthony W. Madsen Sylvester

Photography By: Mohan Singh

I have never been cool. Even enunciating the word makes my hackles stand to attention, myface flush a little. Cool is an unattainable, undefinable position, mercurial and abstract, just outof grasp and over the next peak. As soon as it’s divined, it evaporates under the scope ofinspection. Turned into a laughing stock by explanation and examination.Cool has a hardness at its core; a cold distance and indifference. Control, surety, certainty. Ipossess none of these qualities.Cool has a time limit;a race to achieve, to possess, to get there first, before the clock strikesand the carriage turns back to a pumpkin.What I look for in others is Character; enthusiasm, verve, experimentation, the mistakes thatcome from seeking out new ideas, revisiting old ones. Taking time and consideration yetbrimming with excitement at the prospect of discovery and looking to understand and absorb theworld around you.The Sir John Soane Museum similarly is not cool. Too chaotic, too cluttered, too much detail intoo little a space. The architect’s home and work place was stuffed to breaking point with allmanner of trinkets and casts, a memorial to a life spent in pursuit. Maximalist in praxis, it teemsto the brim with ardor and vitality, the old and the arcanemade anew. It is a temple to character;to passion and activity.It makes me feel at home.

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