But when I saw The King’s Speech, with its depiction of Lionel Logue (the Australian speech therapist credited with helping King George VI overcome his stammer) the parallels leapt out at me.
It’s a thought provoking film, it’s true, but the most striking take out for me was that Geoffrey Rush’s remarkable portrayal of Logue bore a strong resemblance to so many soloists I know.
Logue was clearly very passionate about and skilled at his chosen vocation. In the early stages of the film, we see him thriving on the results he brings his clients, even though he doesn’t exactly seem to be rolling in cash.
His business appears to have grown largely by word of mouth, and ultimately, his reputation brings him to the attention of the wife of the man who is to become his most famous client.
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Like many soloists, Logue is committed to giving his clients what they need rather than what they want, and he’d rather express his true personality than tone it down to impress anyone – no matter how important they are, or how influential they have the potential to be to his business.
He has so much faith in his abilities and methods that he refuses to change them, even under pressure from his most valuable client. He’d rather risk losing the account than back down from his professional convictions and do a second-rate job.
As we now know, Logue’s convictions ultimately catapulted him to a place in history – even if very few people heard about it until decades later. It just goes to show that it should never be assumed that those who don’t seek glory don’t have a glorious role to play.
It reminds me too that I have no way of knowing who the next client that turns up at my door will be, or where working with them will take me. I’m pretty sure I’m going to treat them like royalty though, just in case my work with them is immortalised on film in 80 years time!
Have you been touched by Lionel Logue too? Or perhaps you’re more inspired by The Social Network, and are busy channelling your inner Zuckerberg while you develop the next Facebook? Please share your story with us.