Posted in Weird People
IntroductionThe British are famously proud of their eccentricities. Perhaps nowhere on Earth celebrates and cherishes their oddballs with as much fervour as the UK - we even boast a club exclusively for eccentrics.
But what is it that defines eccentricity? There we wander into something of a grey area. One era's madman can easily become a prophet to succeeding generations, while what passes for normality today would have been regarded with horror to earlier populations. But that takes us closer to questions of religion and politics than perhaps most of us think of when we consider the nature of eccentricity. To most of us, it suggests a generally benign - even positive - disregard for societal norms that is in no way criminal, but borders on a kind of wilfulness. We might think of Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards comic yet oddly inspiring pursuit of glory in the Olympic ski jumping, or any number of 'characters' who are known locally for their customs, behaviour or dress but who never attract national renown.
In a world of increasing homogeneity, it is still a source of bemused pleasure to discover an eccentric, ploughing their own unique furrow in utter indifference to popular taste or public ridicule.