My background is not particular noteworthy, but the story of my personal journey into the world of ‘culture’ may resonate with some. For me, the seed of curiosity was planted many years ago. I would love to say I was dramatically stopped in my tracks by a painting that ‘called’ to me, or being hypnotised by my first outing to the opera and realising it ‘talked to me’. In reality though, it has been a slow and steady evolution, with that seed only beginning to germinate after a major life event. As Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said “Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it. Begin now”.
A kaleidoscope of new experiences
I have always carried out a practical heuristic approach to learning, so rather excitedly, I found myself on the fringes of a new world, with a kaleidoscope of new experiences in front of me. Ready to have my cultural preconceptions disarmed through virtuoso performances, and the pleasure of evoking new sensations, I took the leap. I have to confess, it was an inauspicious start. Like a monkey throwing darts, I would select events or lectures to attend, arrive by myself, armed with little more information than the University of Wikipedia could gladly provide. Over time though, I began to gain some semblance of connections, and more fortunately, was able to make acquaintances with a few charming and enlightened individuals. Whether they realised it or not, through their insights, suggestions, and encouragement, I began to quickly gain momentum.
‘The Cultural Aficionado’
It’s important we clarify the term ‘cultural’, which is often a misnomer. Cultural has little to with materialism, vanity, or class. To be cultured is a state of mind. So my goal for The Cultural Aficionado is simple: to improve the way we look at the world, by promoting discussion of abstract thought, dilemmas, concepts, and avoiding superficial judgement. We do this by engagement with the Arts; primarily Fine Art, Literature, and Music, which throughout history have been used as vehicles to manifest ideas.
Many of us have little experience with these topics, and can be put off by the veneer that surrounds them. The Cultural Afficionado aims to make these topics more accessible, and where background, social status, and academic achievements are footnotes rather than pre-requisites. I want to bring people together, and engage with these topics and the ideas that connect them. In short, to encourage cultural participation, build personal knowledge, and enrich one’s life with new experiences. The Cultural Aficionado is, therefore, a platform for dialectics in the Fine Arts, Literature, Music, and the ideas that connect them.