If there’s one piece of advice that’s guaranteed to fair you well in life it is this:
‘Fake it until you make it.’
These are the the very wise words of the ‘Demon of Screamin’ himself – rock god, motor cycle designer and American Idol judge – Steven Tyler. And although it may sound like something out of a fortune cookie, this shizzle really does work.
Next time you’re on the phone fake a smile, you will actually sound happier – not only that, you will find yourself feeling more cheerful too! Martial artists practice their moves over and over again until they become second nature; by repeating ‘fake’ fighting moves their bodies learn to react unconsciously, which helps the fighter avoid dangerous moments of indecision in a real fight. Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson honed his own considerable skills by sitting in front of a typewriter copying large sections of his hero, Earnest Hemingway‘s writing. ‘Faking it’, it seems, can be an essential part of the learning process.
Next year (2012) will mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee (and maybe the end of the world as we know it, but that’s another story). During this time Her Majesticalness is allowed to convey the title of ‘City’ on a town of her choosing. Doncaster is among the towns bidding for city status. We tried this ten years ago and lost out to Preston in Lancashire – despite the fact that Donny’s Wikipedia entry is a lot more impressive!
In the past one of our major obstacles has been the way our town is perceived – and sometimes even the way we Doncastrians perceive ourselves. You don’t have to look too far to find snide remarks about Doncaster. Mostly it’s unimaginative people moaning about a lack of ‘culture’ (as if a place doesn’t have culture just because it fails to live up to somebody’s preconceived – and often mediocre – image of what culture means), or else it’s stories about scary Friday nights filled with cold-kebabs, brawling-boys and half-naked girls (again such comments tell us more about the commentators own cultural prejudices than they do about the town itself). In reality, of course, Doncaster is home to an incredibly diverse range of people. There have also been a lot of exciting new developments since Donny’s last city bid; such the newly emerging Cultural Quarter…
…the Church View arts and new media development…
…the new university complex…
…and St George’s church becoming a minster.
In relation to our city bid, and in the interests of faking it until you make it, we really need to start acting like a city and start celebrating Doncaster’s culture, arts, style, music, people, fashion, lifestyle, architecture… and even it’s coal-black underbelly.
In fact all cities are at their most creative when they’re still raw (poor) and eager for change (a process which has a limited shelf-life thanks to the inevitable gentrification of once bohemian areas). Who’s to say that those ‘brawling-boys’ are not in fact angst ridden, hormone driven, poets who’s musings will one day put the city of Doncaster on the map. Why can’t a girl be socio-cultural heavyweight just because she chooses to spend her Friday nights ‘half-naked’. And who’s to say a ‘cold kebab’… no wait, even I cannot find a way to redeem a cold-kebab.
Over the next few months this blog will big up our little city as if it were London, Paris or New York (although Donny would be the ‘Big Rhubarb’ rather than the ‘Big Apple’), and even if it doesn’t become a city in 2012 this blog will act as a showcase for what truly is an underrated gem of a town.
If you’re a local artist, writer, photographer, fashionista, socialite or social commentator, and have something you’d like to contribute, then please get in touch with us via our temporary email address: doncopolitan[at]gmail[dot]com
Doncaster Photographs © Warren Draper 2011