What is an Eccentric?

What is an Eccentric?

By @tyneoconnell

In an age which paradoxically “demands one must stand out in order to fit in” the world has never known such homogeneity. We must never stop saying “yes” to the opulence of the imagination, nor cease to eschew the ordinary in the pursuit of the extraordinary, nor fall into the mire of what other people think.

A group of eccentrics


The eccentric is defined, not by a desire to be different, indeed the Eccentric is inevitably oblivious to their singularity for they are blindly driven by an ache within the soul; expressed through a refusal to acknowledge borders, gender, mortality, species or anything that attempts to categorise or bind. As they strive towards the exquisite expression of the algorithm of what it means to cut a line of one’s own – be it in one’s field of endeavour, or in meeting the quotidian requirements of the moment, they are inextricably eccentric.

Eccentricity emerged as a quintessential aspect of the British character, after Cromwell’s Commonwealth of 1649-1659.


During this period Cromwell embarked on a pogrom against The Arts, Beauty and Fun. The battle between Puritan Roundheads and Royalist Cavaliers was not a battle of ether religion or politics so much as ideals. The Puritans viewed anything beautiful or joyful as sinful and the arts as gateways to hell. Under their reign, The Arts, theatre, bars, ancient manuscripts, alcohol, fine-food, jewellery, wigs and artworks were banned and destroyed by Cromwell’s New Model Army. Even the Crown Jewels were melted down and artworks either destroyed or sold to fund the oppression of the arts. All the livery guilds were banned and tailors, writers, boot makers had to find other work.

Upon King Charles II’s Restoration in 1660, the fountains of London flowed with champagne, and there was singing and dancing on the streets. Most significantly for eccentrics, there was an appetite for change; a desire to kick the traces and a love of anything outrageous.

It was in this post-Cromwell atmosphere that a new tolerance emerged and an enthusiasm to celebrate eccentricity as defined by a blind determination to cut a line of ones own, to give full reign to the opulence of the imagination, both in one’s field of endeavour and in one’s life in general.

Tyne O'Connell and Pandemonium

Contemporary culture faces a similar dichotomy as the 16th Century between the expectation that one must stand-out to fit in, against a conflict of New Puritanism.

Similarly, there is a celebration of eccentricity – as defined by numerous contemporary eccentrics around the world who give full reign to the opulence of their imaginations.