Who’s the King?

Mar 14, 2013

David Bowie, Keith Richards and Tina TurnerThis is the big question. The question all previous blogs have allured towards. No need to tip-toe around it any longer, no need to hide; who’s the coolest person ever to have existed, ever, since time began? Obviously this is all purely subject to opinion. There’s no right or wrong answer and everyone’s list will be unique. However, what I’ve endeavoured to do here is to compile a list of champions that are universally recognised for being damn slick. Gents who have stood the test of time. A list that’s not too controversial or clearly my own. A list everyone can agree with whether it’s your mum, your sister, the pope or the P.M. There’s no set criteria that gets a certain someone on the list. There’s no formula. If there was you could bottle and sell it. But you can’t.

Keith Richards young

Keith.  Let’s get the obvious candidates out the way first. Not only is Keith Richards the best rhythm guitar player of all time, he’s also the coolest member of The Stones and has been doing that job for fifty years. He’s an obvious contender, not just for his skull rings, famous riffs but for leading a lifestyle everyone wishes they had the courage to. On weekends he has full blood transplants and snorts his father’s ashes. On weekdays he’s hatin’ on cheese saying in his 2010 biography Life it’s “the only thing I won’t put in my body”.

 Frank Sinatra

Frank. In fact, any of the Rat Pack could make the list but Frank’s the one we all love the most and is a personal hat wearing hero of mine. He made swing popular for decades more than it had right to be. Every man wishes they had a bit of Old Blue Eyes. The man hardly ever worked after 5pm on film sets because he was too busy doing other cool stuff. He even charmed the Mafia, threatening to have Woody Allen’s legs broken in 1993 when he messed around with his ex-wife. Frank’s untouchable.

 Steve McQueen

Steve. His break through role was called the “Cooler King”. Even the name suggests McQueen’s natural home is on this list. Any man who thunders to set in the mornings doing +100mph in classic vintage cars and repeats in the evenings is cool. This petrol-head’s life off-screen was more interesting than many of his roles. McQueen makes Bond look chavvy and he does it in a chunky cardigan.

James Dean 

James. Everyone secretly wishes they were James Dean. His untimely death immortalized him for all time.  Get yourself a leather jacket like in Rebel Without a Cause if you know what’s good. Dean included recreational bull fighting among his hobbies.

 Miles Davis

Miles. The undisputed king jazz was so cool he played with his back to the audience most of the time. No one could even talk to him without booking an appointment with his pose. It must be hard to make a trumpet sing while having lethal amounts of heroin swimming around your system so Miles Davis gets top marks for effort.

 Noam Chomsky

Noam. No one throws the light on the corruption and hypocrisy of the American political elite like Chomsky. Everything you’ve been too riled to express about right-wing corporate America you can bet he’s probably already on the case. Chomsky’s the hero of every armchair Guardian reader but he’s also so articulate he sells fridges to Eskimos. Like a more subdued Hunter S. Thompson, but with a mission. A true literacy great.


James Fredrick Gray

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