what is cool

who defines it? this one goes out to Nobu.

In our recent trip to PEI, I had the sheer joy to reconnect with Nobu.

Nobu, for those of you who don’t know him is a bit of a wizard.

We were in a gallery / cafe space where he shocked me with this bomb:

I have no idea what’s cool anymore

This coming from perhaps one of the coolest people I know.

My reply:

You define it dude.

He wasn’t so certain.

In a society obsessed with youth and critique, this is not surprising. Cool is still often defined by the next young person thing.

I think that's a load of shit.

In uni, it used to be cool to criticize. It was super cool to find flaws, be a critic and write about all of the problems you could find.

It was really fucking cool to complain.


It’s really fucking sophomoric.

Many university professors (convinced by their own self importance) and art critics (convinced of their own utility) contribute very little of value to the world.

Some, who are helpers of those making change are great. I met a good many who helped me refine my voice, find my audiences and manage my finances.

Others? They thrive on ‘discovering’ problems. So much so they seem to manufacture them. It’s a great way to get tenure I suppose…

Nobu however.

He contributes a lot.

Years ago, he shared a social media post calling for people to join him in singing pop songs. He wanted to create ‘a choir of a thousand voices’.

With his partner in crime Daveed, they created choir! choir! choir!

In doing so, they’ve connected people who need to be connected.

They’ve helped others create meaning in the little meaningless circles of their lives.

They’ve built a community. They’ve shared joy. They’ve done beautiful work.


They did it by showing up. Gig after gig. Night after night. Week after week.

Nobu bet on himself and created something wonderful. Not just for him, but for the world.

Since then, countless copycat choirs have sprung up.

They haven’t played Carnage Hall at the David Bowie tribute.

They didn’t sing Halleluiah like this:

Nobu was behind this.

Nobu has his choir of thousands of voices.

But here’s how it’s personal.

On this trip?

Nobu brought us to the place that brought us together as a family.

He took us to Richard’s Fish and Chips.


We had lunch.

Then spent the next three and a half hours jumping off a pier.

That was the moment were we as a family really gelled.

That was the moment when we found a deeper love for each other.

So Nobu, if you’re reading this?

You are one of the coolest people I know.

Your joy, your generosity and your love create the kind of magic that makes the world a better place for people.

You give people a place to connect, to love each other and belong.

There really isn’t anything as cool as that sir.

When it comes to defining cool, we need to understand who is it for.

We also need to consider what impact do we want to have.

So, for the rest of you?

Make some magic. Make space for others.

They’ll likely jump in with joy.