What defines an eccentric?

Interior of Burj Al Arab

Interior of Burj Al Arab

I’ve recently returned from, what I consider to be, the land of eccentricities – Dubai.

I was sat eating breakfast one morning in the hotel and came across an article about a woman described as defining fashion as we know it. Isabella Blow began a career surrounded by “straight-laced men”. Her eccentricity is defined as a life dedicated to innovation and breaking rules others don’t even know exist.

On the flip-side she could just be seen as an attention seeker striving to make a show in a narcissistic lifestyle. Maybe it was the 5-star surrounding, or the rich country I was in, but I began to wonder – what truly defines an eccentric?

This was my seventh trip to Dubai and every time I return there is a new skyscraper or tourist attraction that is the talk of the town. This time I came across an area under development: Beverley Hills Village. There will be a Trump Golf Course (as in the Donald Trump) and Fendi designer homes…is that eccentric?

But then this is yet another creation of the minds that have built an oasis in a desert – with the tallest building in the world (Burj Khalifa), a ski-dome in a mall, a 7-star hotel (Burk Al Arab), another wonder of the world (Palm Islands) – to name just a few.

If I compare Dubai to Isabella Blow – is the Emirate eccentric or just ahead of its time? Is it foolish to invest in unnecessary or lavish amenities or just bold enough to dare to be different?

I find it quite ironic that the local Emiratis are actually very humble people. It’s most of the expats – be they from the surrounding Gulf region, UK or USA – who are far too arrogant for their own good. Is that an effect of their eccentric surroundings?

Take geniuses in science or the arts – during their time they are considered a little loony or just plain arrogant. It’s usually after they die their talent is recognised. Maybe eccentricity is the same. It’s the ability to think ahead, be creative, be daring, be ahead of your time.

Maybe if more of us defied norms, went against the grain and put our creative minds in action, the world could be a much more interesting place!