My Favourite Kick-Ass Rebels

For most of my life I have been absolutely obsessed with rebellious people. The dictionary states: “A rebel is an individual who resists authority or control or participates in a rebellion.” I think it’s a little more complex than that; I believe a rebel is an individual who sees things from different angles to the norm, is thoroughly true to themselves, lives life on their own terms and isn’t afraid to piss people off. A rebel would rather die than “follow the flock” and won’t abandon their values to simply please others or to have an easier life. There’s something quite sexy about the word and the whole concept of rebellion. Pretty much every hero of mine has famously rebelled at some point in their life.

At school I was constantly questioning things that others involuntarily nodded their head to, it wasn’t an attempt to be awkward or contentious – it was because I simply couldn’t justify doing something just because “it’s what everybody else does” or “because I say so.” My rebellion got me in to a lot of trouble in my youth and over the years I mellowed it down to rid myself of said trouble. Ironically, this watering down of my rebellious personality got me in to even more trouble than I could have ever expected; It left me feeling miserable and unfulfilled!

When you find yourself in the minority during most group discussions (tick),  ruffle people’s feathers with your strong opinions even though you don’t mean to (tick), or find yourself deeply disillusioned with society norms while your peers crack on with every day life (big tick), you can’t help but wonder the million dollar question: Is there something wrong with me? No matter how much conviction you have, that voice shows up every now and then to rock the boat and fuck with your Ying and Yang inner peace that you so vehemently search for. I allowed that voice to get louder and it tortured my ears and ate at my soul at night while I tried to sleep and I was all for joining the “a job is a job” way of thinking. You know, that one that translates as: “You’re supposed to be miserable and discontented, that’s life – get over it already.”

When I started this clock in November 2010: I started a rebellion. A rebellion against an average life.

A rebellion against “because everyone else does.”

A rebellion against “shoulda, woulda, coulda.”

A rebellion against fear; a thing that if we can get over – can be the bridge between sadness and happiness.

The following 8 rebels are people who I have studied at some part of my life and a few of them are simple observations and thumbs up to their rebellious nature. They are all revolutionary in their field and have all marched to the beat of their own drum – because that’s just how they fucking roll!


1.) Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

Does Mr Ghandi really need any introductions? This man was the driving force in liberating India from oppressive British rule and responsible for the most finger-on-chin inducing quotations ever. Raised in a home where meat, alcohol and promiscuity were forbidden, Ghandi spent his spare time womanising, eating meat, getting drunk and smoking with his Western friends – doing the exact opposite to what he was told to. One fateful night, when a sixteen year-old Ghandi crept out of his house to meet a girl for a bit of ‘slap and tickle'; his father sadly passed away.

This was the making of Ghandi as he blamed himself and an overwhelming feeling of guilt made him feel that if he stayed at home, he could have somehow prevented his father’s death. Haunted by this, Ghandi went on to live a life of celibacy and constantly practiced and preached the concept of non-injury to all living beings. During Gandhi’s life he spent a total of 2,338 days in jail as a political prisoner, tallying up to more than six years behind bars. Even though I wouldn’t go on a hunger protest for all the tea in China, I can’t help but applaud everything else he accomplished. Ghandi’s non-violent methods of communicating and free-thinking got the people of India what they wanted in the end; freedom from British rule.

Favourite rebel quote:

“An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”

2.) Tyler Durden

Something for the ladies...

Okay so he’s not real and blowing up mass buildings in order to give the middle finger to big co-operations is a tad extreme, but if you’ve seen this film-you can’t help but deny that he’s a pretty interesting rebel! (The very under-rated) Brad Pitt plays this rebel role fantastically as Edward Norton’s character’s alter ego – the mental creation of what he could never be. Norton’s character was constantly being pushed over by others and Tyler Durden was the rebel who got him to man the fuck up and stand up for himself.

Durden encapsulates that old saying: “Men want to be him, women want to bed him.” He’s a dangerously cool, natural born leader-a trend setter. He follows nobody, for he is the followed.

Favourite rebel quotes (he gets plural, it’s only fair):

“This is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time.”

“Fuck off with your sofa units and string green stripe patterns, I say never be complete, I say stop being perfect, I say let… lets evolve, let the chips fall where they may.”

“You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your fucking khakis. You’re the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.”

Durden: “You have to know the answer to this question! If you died right now, how would you feel about your life?”
Norton: “I don’t know, I wouldn’t feel anything good about my life, is that what you want to hear me say? Fine. Come on!”
Durden: “Not good enough.”

3.) The Artist Formally Known as “Prince”

Testing your observation skills :P

Chances are you might have heard of this sexually preoccupied, slightly odd, lyrical lothario; personally I think he’s a modern day musical genius and could possibly put him on par with Michael Jackson. Prince was badly bullied as a child and had no confidence. When he came home at night his father was just as cruel to him as the kids at school. If he wasn’t teasing him he was telling him how useless he was; in particular at playing the piano. Princes dad was a great piano player and when his son constantly asked if he could have a go he simply told him “No, because you’re not as good as me.”

Not so long later, Prince experienced more trauma in his life as his father left him and his mother for another woman – also leaving behind his precious piano. Prince channeled his pain and torment in to the piano, starting from scratch and teaching himself how to read music. Not only does Prince write for other artists but he has wrote pretty much every song he has ever produced. Do you think he’s a better player than his father now?

*A note to the bullies and Papa Prince*: You created a superstar – in your fucking face!

Favourite rebel quote (or lyrics in this case):

“I’ll die before I let you tell me how to swim
And I’ll come back again as a dolphin”

4.) Aung Sang Su Kyi

Like the aforementioned, Ghandi – Miss Kyi became a symbol of peaceful resistance in the face of oppression in November 2010. Unfortunately with the news being how the news is, it gave her loads of coverage for about a week and now she’s completely went off the radar. Miss Kyi spent all together thirteen years under house arrest, her crime: fighting for the right for people to have an opinion. The Burmese government were more than happy with their oppressive regime doing everyone elses thinking for them, keeping them nicely ignorant of the possibilities of a free-thinking nation.

Kyi had other plans and still, after 13 years captivity claims she has not given up. You don’t have to be aggressive to be a rebel and she shows this with her amazing grace, even after the deplorable way she has been treat. I don’t know which way this is going to go but one things for certain; this lass is a 100% rebel and I have huge respect for her and her spirit.

Favourite rebel quote:

“I am not free until my people are free.”

5.) Martin Luther King Junior

If you can find me a better speech than the “I have a dream” speech, I’ll happily buy you dinner some time. I’ve listened to and read it probably thousands of times and it still has the aptitude to make my hair on the back of my neck stand up, produce a tear in my eye and a lump in my throat. Racism is a poison that still lingers around today, but I’d like to think it’s not half as bad as it was before MLK worked his magic. While black people were seen as second class citizens and Malcolm X was doing nothing to help the problem with his radical hate war against whites, King did what the best rebels do: Think outside the box.

Martin Luther fought tooth and nail for civil rights, for equality and for peace through the power of his amazing oratory. There was never an ounce of malice in his tone, just pure passion and sincerity. Martin did not only stand up for what he believed in but also for others who felt like they did not have a voice. If there was any time when swearing is acceptable, it’s now-because this guy is a fucking legend! Sadly, he paid the same price as Ghandi for his commitment and the USA hold a Martin Luther King day every year in respect. Personally, I think the whole world should have one because I believe his impact did not stop in America.

Favourite rebel quote:

“I have a dream, that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.”

6.) Jesus of Nazareth

Disclaimer: I’m not religious. I used to be; I was given a second chance at a Catholic school when most of the schools in the County weren’t too thrilled with the prospect of having me on their books. I felt indebted and became a Christian. As time passed, I started to question things (as usual) about the whole Christian thing and I couldn’t find the answers and so I denounced my faith. I don’t class myself as an Athiest, I’m someone who is constantly searching for answers and I remain open-minded.

I’m not sure if Jesus was the son of God but he was a rebel for sure! I believe he was a guy who existed and marched to the beat of his own drum. I believe he was a good person with good intentions who wanted to spread love and felt saddened by hate. He stayed true to himself, even when all others were against him. I think he had a big heart, was a revolutionary and a complete misunderstood rebel. Regardless of what I or anyone thinks or even if he existed-he’s made a monumental impact. I wouldn’t mind people still talking about me thousands of years after my death!

Favourite rebel quote:

“Do unto others how you would have them do unto you”

7.) Roy Keane

Disclaimer: I used to despise this man. Every now and then I try to dislike him again, but I just can’t. Roy Keane is the former captain of English football club Manchester United and the Republic of Ireland. I’ll get the bad bits out of the way first; He ended another players career with the most disgusting tackle and he intimidated his way through football matches. As a manager he got our fierce rivals (Sunderland) promoted, truly unforgivable.

But you don’t become the captain of the worlds most successful football team in history, unless you have something special about you. Every time this man speaks, I look for holes so I can despise him once again, but I always seem to end up agreeing with every word that comes out of his angry Irish mouth! Keane was always highly opinionated, never afraid to tell people when he thought they were wrong and a true rebel by nature. I have never once,  in 20 years of listening to his interviews, ever heard him play the victim card. While his manager played the “woe is me” card after defeats and blamed the match officials, weather….etc he would never point the finger, often contradicted his boss on national TV and would simply accept “we weren’t good enough.”

One epic night in Turin during a European semi-final against Juventus, Keane received a yellow card for a typical rebellious “Keano” tackle. This yellow card meant he would be suspended for the European cup final if they progressed…most people would have crumbled. Manchester United were already 2-0 down and his younger team-mates looked dejected as they seen their cup hopes take another serious blow. Did Keane’s head drop? No chance – he rebelled against the odds, grabbed the game by its balls and produced the most heroic midfield display I have ever seen in my twenty years of watching football, netting a goal and inspiring a 3-2 come back.

I think my feelings turned for Keane totally when he was asked how he was going to celebrate his ‘manager of the month’ trophy and he snarled: “I’m gonna have a cup of green tea and chuck this in the bin where it belongs.”

Haha, classic.

Favourite rebel quote:

“I don’t think some of the people who come to Old Trafford can spell football, never mind understand it.”

8.) Border Collies

This might seem like an odd addition to a list of rebels and if you don’t understand it at all, it’s likely that you’ve never owned one! If there’s one thing that I love in the world – it’s dogs. Give me the company of a dog over a human most days of the week! All different breeds of dogs have their own personalities and most dogs can be trained to be 100% controlled…except the Border Collie. The BC is the most intelligent breed of dogs and are bred by farmers to round up sheep all day, resulting in them being one of the fittest too. And of course, they’re absolute beauties.

They are obedient to an extent but due to their intellect superiority over other dogs; they’re always trying to get one over on you. It can be frustrating being a Border Collie owner on these occasions but I simply can’t help but be impressed by their rebellious nature. You want to give them the squeezy football to play with? They’ll automatically want the tennis ball instead. You want to run on the outside of the curb? They’ll politely remind you that they’re the protector and your place is on the path. You let them on the sofa “just this one time?” They’ll remember…and they will let you know their disapproval in your double standards next time you don’t!

Favourite rebel quote:

Okay, they aren’t clever enough speak but I love it when they tip their head to one side when you give them a command as if to say “oh purrrlease, do you think I’m a Labrador or something?”

This brings me to the end of my rebel list. Now go and be one, you could end up as my number nine :P

Do you know any or many of the above list of rebels? Who are your favourite rebels? What is a rebel to you?

16 Responses

  1. Patricia | Monthly Adventure

    Anthony…awesome read. You really know how to get your point across and still make me giggle. For myself, I would say there are many people who inspire me – not just famous people. My grandmother got her driver’s license at age 72 – doing what needed to be done when my grandfather could no longer drive. She pushed beyond her fear and now absolutely loves driving. Thanks for the inspirationally charming story. Hahaha…you look great as Prince. :D

    • Anthony

      Why thank you, Patricia :)
      Oh yes there are many non-famous people I could have included too but of course most of my readers wouldn’t have known who they were. Especially considering only five of my family and friends know about my blog! That’s awesome about your super-gran!

      You know what….I left out the one person in this post who actually inspired it haha! Damn, I’ll have to get her in another post somewhere. Haha I really enjoy my Prince look too-think I’ve found my new look ;)

  2. Alouise

    Very awesome post – with some awesome rebels. I recently analyzed a speech by Aung San Suu Kyi, I had a lot of respect for her before but even moerso after. Not only is she a rebel, but she’s also extremely intelligent and motivated. I think that’s the key. Anyone can scream, and rant against something but if you’re not doing it in an intelligent way no one will pay attention, your message won’t be remembered. All of these rebels are/were intelligent, and they often used their rebellion to help the world. Well I can’t really say that of Tyler Durden, I’ve actually never seen/read Fight Club, and I’m not a footballer so I don’t really know anything about Roy Keane. And maybe Border Collies aren’t trying to change the world, but they’re still great.

    A rebel I really respect is Hunter S. Thompson. It’s funny because I saw Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas and thought “this guy is just an insane druggie.” Well I started reading his books and I have a lot of respect for him. He wasn’t perfect, and I certainly don’t agree with everything he stood for. But he never backed away from telling people what he really thought. And as a writer he has a style that has a momentum and wit that I’ve never read before. There’s a ton of quotes of Thompson that I love, but I’ll stick with this one:

    “Play your own game, be your own man, and don’t ask anybody for a stamp of approval.” – Hunter S. Thompson, Fear & Loathing in America

    • Anthony

      Alouise, what a very awesome reply!
      You make a good point; shouting for the sake of shouting won’t really get your message across, unless you have complete nut-cases in your following. I’m sorry if I have spoiled the plot to fight club for you! I think many of the above will be remembered for their message and for how they conveyed it with style. Border Collies are secretly trying to change the world, you’re just distracted by their cuteness, they want you to think that haha :)

      Fear and Loathing – is that the one that was made in to a film with Johnny Depp? If so, that’s on my list of movies to watch although I do prefer a book. I absolutely love that quote, it’s a new one for me and makes me want to purchase the book or film very soon!

      • Alouise

        Don’t worry you didn’t spoil fight Club for me… I actually knew about the twist before., a downfall of the information age, sometimes there’s too much.

        And yes Fear & Loathing is the movie with Johnny Depp. I watched the movie first and didn’t realize it was based on a book until afterward. It’s one of my favorite Thompson books, that and The Great Shark Hunt.

  3. Niall Doherty

    Thanks a bunch Anthony, now I have a desperate craving for a Border Collie.

    And a Jesus.

    But seriously though, nice list man. I think the important thing with gaining inspiration from people is to focus on their message more than anything. It’s sad when folks write off somebody’s teachings because they hear of a few not-so-heroic things they once said or did. For example, I recently read some harsh criticism of Gandhi, and I suspect some of the accusations are true. But I’ll continue to be inspired by all the good things that he did. After all, if we get stubborn and opt to hold out for an infallible mentor, we’re going to be waiting a long-ass time.

    I like Bruce Lee’s approach: “Take what works, discard the rest, add what is uniquely your own.”
    Niall Doherty recently posted..Overcoming the fear of public urination aka Me doing stand-up comedyMy Profile

    • Anthony

      Hahaha good luck, I think they sell them on Amazon. You’re not wrong , Niall. No one is perfect (especially in Roy’s case) but them above people were pretty inspiring free-thinkers in my opinion. I’ve also heard negative stuff and theories said about Ghandi, but I think he is definitely eligible for the “interesting rebel” label I gave him.

      Nice Bruce Lee quote, matey!

  4. Julia

    I was lured to this post by the promise of a half-naked Brad Pitt and wasn’t disappointed! Haha. Although that picture of ‘Prince’ is a bit disturbing :) I agree with a lot of what you have said here and I think the values are probably shared by a lot of people who have similar travel blogs – I think we all want to break free from the norm and not live by the rules that a lot of us feel we should live by. As for the Collies…this is probably my favourite picture on here (yes, shocking, I know, seeing as how the Brad Pitt one is there) and I wish my dogs could speak because they would surely come out with some corking quotes. Maybe not necessarily poetic or profound, but equally as groundbreaking! ;-)
    Julia recently posted..A Bucket List For Someone Who Doesn’t Do Bucket ListsMy Profile

    • Anthony

      Haha Julia, now you know the secret to more blog traffic; stick a few hunks or honeys on your post and they’ll come flying in. Funnily enough I received my largest Twitter traffic with that promise! The Prince pic has been making me giggle all week-anything to make work more interesting :)

      I think you’re observation is spot on, which is why I wrote it because I felt many could empathise with a rebellion. The Collie is my favourite picture too, how could you possibly get mad with that face??

  5. Natalie

    I’m with Martin Luther King and the best speech that has ever been made. Unfortunately some rebels have paid for their vision with their lives but better to have done it that way then waking up every morning feeling like you are on the merry go round of life.
    Natalie recently posted..When a Blog Becomes an Online DiaryMy Profile

    • Anthony

      Hey Nat,

      Yeah! Isn’t it just timeless? What an excellent perspective you’re coming from there, kind of like “it’s better to die for something than to live for nothing.”

      Love it! :D

  6. Jo-Jo

    Firstly, may I just say a huge well done and thank you for managing to include two of my favourites in one article.
    Ghandis ” Eye for an Eye makes the whole world blind” alongside the spectacular Mr Tyler Durden . . mmmm !

    But seriously, a grand selection and a wide mix of rebellion.

    I personally like this definition,

    : A rebel is a person who stands up for their own personal opinions despite what anyone else says, stands up for what they believe is right, not against what’s right. It’s not about smoking crack, drinking till you’re rendered unconsious, or beating the crap out of anyone that crosses your path. It’s all about being an individual and refusing to follow a crowd that forces you to think the same way they do.True rebels know who they are, they’re straightforward and honest and they will sure as hell tell it like it is.


  7. Dean McKenna

    Hmmmm, I prefer V, the dude in the mask, to Durden. He’s articulate. Especially his “good evening London speech.” I say that since you’re including fictional characters in your list.

  8. Sarina

    Great job, I love this blog! I stumbled upon it while I was googling ideas for a book chapter. I am looking for simple and true stories about people who have rebelled against how they “should” live and became very happy and lively!
    Do you have any personal stories or know of anyone else?

    • Anthony

      Sarina – thank you kindly :)

      Sorry I just seen this. Google “Divorced at ten years old” and buy that book. A young and brave girl from Yemen who was forced into marriage at 9 years old and rebelled against it! Great read :)


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