Monthly Archives: January 2013

On yer bike, Mr Armstrong!

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been asked a couple of times if I’m going to delete a particular image from my photographic website (

The picture in question is in my Sporting Heroes gallery. It was made in 2010 and features Lance Armstrong, taking part in his last-ever Tour de France Time Trial.

I’ve decided not to delete this image, not because I don’t want to erase Lance Armstrong from history, but because I still like it.

Lance Armstrong, Bordeaux TT 2010

The Tainted Time Triallist, Bordeaux, France, 2010

For me, it represents a moment in sporting history: the last hurrah in Europe of a man who, for many, will always be some kind of hero, if only for beating testicular cancer and returning to competitive cycling at the highest level.

Never first among equals

I hope it will also always act as a reminder of what we now know: that  – when he won his seven Tour de France titles – Armstrong may have been first but was never first among equals.

He was, as he admitted to Oprah Winfrey and some 28 million people watching worldwide, a serial cheat who’d used performance-enhancing drugs since before he was diagnosed with testicular cancer.

Now, for me, he’s history. If he’s going to get on his bike at all, it should only be to ride off into the distance where, before too long I hope, he’ll become part of the distant past.

He was a hero once, but – as we now know – a deceitful winner of his palmarès. Shame on him for that.

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What motivates you?

I can’t deny it. This is a plagiaristic post.

Just before Christmas, Owen Bailey, a digital marketing executive at Creativepool, posted a piece on Linkedin’s Creativepool Network that asked the same question – with one difference.

Instead of simply asking “What motivates you?”, he wanted to know what motivates creative people. Not just any people, but creative people.

As you’d expect, he got a lot of answers, which generated some interesting debate.

What he didn’t get was a consensus.

Indeed, he seemed to divide opinion, with responses ranging from challenging oneself through to making people laugh or smile, creating something new, playing like a child and and playing God.

Who wants that last role, I wondered? Too much responsibility for me!

My own contribution was: “There’s always a problem to solve, always a creative solution to look for. What else does one need?” To which the trainer and mentor, James Sale, added: “Empathy?”

Good point, James.

For it seems to me that anyone who’s creative, and motivated enough to mobilise their creativity, does need some empathy with either their chosen medium, their subject or their audience, if their output is to succeed.

So, whether you’re writing, painting, acting, sculpting, composing or performing music, it must help if you like the process, sympathise with your subject and have some sort of relationship with your audience.

Which is, I guess, what motivated me to produce this post.

Unless, of course, you can think of another reason!

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