Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Do you copy, emulate or originate?

Do you copy, emulate or originate? Some would say that it's impossible to be original, since there are no new ideas, and concepts are simply recycled. I'm not so sure, though it's certainly not easy to be original. It's also arguable that no-one else has your unique take on things, so in one sense you really are an originator.
Copying someone else in detail can lead to accusations of plagiarism, which is unprofessional and the opposite of original thought. Most of us are emulators, taking elements from the people we meet, the books we read (to paraphrase Charlie Tremendous Jones) and what we encounter on the web.

I make no secret of my admiration for two of my heroes in particular - journalist Alistair Cooke (who presented 'Letter from America' weekly for 58 years - the longest-running radio show ever) and photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson (whose style was coined "the decisive moment"). I base my weekly web radio show on the former, and try to embody the spirit of the latter in my speeches. It's my homage, not an attempt to copy.

It seems that popular chanteur Gary Barlow has decided that emulation is a great idea too, and though he's denied it, he's clearly been listening to Mumford and Sons before releasing his new single. 

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