Category

CREATIVITY

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Ignorance is seen as a negative thing isn’t it? 

And knowledge, a positive thing.

More than that in fact…

‘Knowledge is power’ we are told.

Children.

When you and I were children we were ignorant of so many things.

We just didn’t know we were. Ignorance was, at least in part, the thing that turned us into little whirligigs.

Spinning tops.

Crazed, hungry creatures wanting to learn.

Asking why, why, why.

Until unkind people suggested to us that ignorance was something to be embarrassed about.

It was about then, from memory, that I started to see ignorance as a weakness.

And I asked less questions.

Ignorance is fuel.

But I was thinking just this week, because so much that I am doing is new, and because I care less and less what people think about me and what I am up to… ignorance is fuel.

I want to learn lots.

I am already quite good at some things.

But I want to be good at more.

And my ignorance is the fuel that pushes me on.

“I don’t know”

I love saying that I don’t know something these days.

I was bullied by my stepfather for years for not knowing things. But as he is no longer around I am free from that.

I welcome ignorance.

After all, I can’t learn things that I already know.

Excited. 

So, going forward, I pledge to become even more excited by ignorance and finding out new things.

Just as I was when I was a very young child.

There’s so much to learn!

Ignorance is not a bad thing.

But thinking or teaching people that ignorance is a bad thing – is.

Have you heard of Mr. Bingo?

At the end of this post at www.50odd.co.uk there’s a 27 minute video of him.

I am writing about him at this precise moment in time because of the illustration that appears alongside this story.

It’s what Mr. Bingo did for Black Friday.

By the way, he’s called Mr. Bingo because he won a bit of money at bingo when he was younger.

Creativity.

Mr. Bingo, or whatever he is called, is one of the most creative people I have ever seen.

Because he doesn’t care what people think about (almost all of) what he does.

I think I am creative.

And others think I am creative too, I think.

But I am nowhere near as creative as I could be.

Because I worry and wonder what people think about what I do. Not all the time. But some of the time.

Freedom.

I am at my most free and my most creative when, just like Mr. Bingo, I really don’t care about the judging.

I can sum up what I am trying to say with this:

Creativity is the opposite of fear.

This is true.

Once we let go of fear.

Fear of what people think.

Or failure.

Or being found out (we’re all afraid of being found out).

Only then can we start to be our most creative.

Try to keep this in mind.

I am.

And in the meantime watch Mr. Bingo…

 

I can present a good case that the more you know how to do a thing ‘well’ – the worse you can get at it.

I am defining ‘well’ as more technologically advanced.

Or more polished.

Or more expert.

Or more experienced.

Or ‘cleverer’.

Willy Wonka.

I watched Jonny Depp being Willy Wonka recently.

Yeah; he was OK. (I’m being kind there).

But he’s no Gene Wilder.

That mad-eyed, unpredictable force that just makes me light up as I think about him.

His mischief is just amazing.

It’s a Wonderful Life

Can you imagine if someone decided to remake Frank Capra’s ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’?

You know what – it does not even register with me as an idea.

It cannot be done.

Kes

Kes.

Remade.

Because cameras are better (or some other technological somethingorother).

Err, no.

Sentimental?

And I am not being sentimental.

I am talking about unique moments in time that were brilliant then because they happened then.

And because they could only have happened then.

Imagination

And I am also taking about things that we all have – now – and that we always have had.

Things that the passing of time does not touch.

In fact, the passing of time can actually kill them.

Imagination.

Creativity.

Love.

Ideas.

Shit; to lose any of them is frightening for me.

We – and our children – NEED these things.

A world without them? Replaced by steely technological cleverness and formulaic approaches?

Now that does give me the willies.

I’ve been in luxury clothing design/fashion for almost 3 years. 

And I am 50 years old.

Nigel Cabourn has been in fashion for 51 years and he is (about) 69 now.

I watched Nigel for years. I love his single mindedness.

His focus.

And his expertise.

I first saw him in the flesh as he was served a noisy meal in a little cafe on Gosforth High Street in 2017.

The meal was noisy because it was one of those sizzling Chinese things.

I didn’t approach him. I’d have stuttered. I’m like that with my heroes.

And anyhow, he was eating.

London.

I saw Nigel talk in London, too.

Again, I didn’t speak to him one-on-one but I did ask him a question.

So that counts as ‘talking to him’ in my book.

PioNEers

In 2018 I had an idea for a photoshoot of people I considered to be pioneers in the North East of England.

Nigel is one of them, so I asked and he agreed.

The Always Wear Red team spent a couple of hours in his Jesmond studio.

Learning.

Listening.

Photographing.

Playing table tennis.

Design Network North

And just last week I went to a talk where Nigel was chatting to business people in the North East.

He shook me by the hand and we chatted away for 5 minutes or so before we went in.

Heroes

Meet your heroes.

Nigel is someone I’d admired for years.

And now I learn from him.

Not because he mentors me. Simply by being around him.

Listening.

Learning.

Watching.

Meet your heroes.

There’s a photograph with this story that you’ll need to see, at 50odd.co.uk, if this is going to make sense to you.

I have a question and it is:

Do you have a recent photograph of you that you like? That shows you how you really are at the moment, and how you are comfortable being seen?

I ask this because the image of me with this story, which was taken by my friend Pete Zulu, is the image I have that makes me feel like this.

It just took me by surprise that’s all.

It reminded me that I am quite a private person.

A furry-faced, hat wearing guy that can be quite awkward. That likes being at home and sitting in the same chair doing the same things with the same people. And it’s dark and safe and enclosed.

Yes, that’s me.

The Other Me. 

There is another me though.

The other me is Always Wear Red.

Because it has a purpose that I created.

It was born to ‘create confidence’.

Always Wear Red is making people feel like the bees knees because they know that what they’re wearing is fecking brilliant!

And I like the idea that these beautiful, likeable people are using their swagger and confidence to good effect.

I want to change people so that they can be – or remind them that they already are – amazing!

So I wonder why I am so drawn to this dark, quiet version of me in the picture? Perhaps its because I feel safe there.

And it will have something to do with the photographer of course. I think a lot of Peter.

You.

So what about you?

Do you have a photograph of you that captures you authentically at this exact point of your life?

And if you don’t, what would it look like I wonder?

I have a great deal of respect for anyone connected to The Do Lectures.

Fellow attendees like Shaughn McGurk, founders like Carlo Navato and speakers such as James Victore.

So when I read about James’s ‘Creative Struggle’ last week, I felt a bit better.

Creativity. 

I ran creative agencies for about 15 years. But I don’t think I was being awfully creative.

Yes, I was helping others to be creative.

But me – as a trained and experienced designer myself – was I really being creative?

Here’s what James said:

It’s hard to be creative, I know.

I question every move and mark I make.

I fall victim to too much thinking and too much worrying about money, art, life, kids, the future, death and “what’s for dinner?”

But, I also know that I can change my reality by changing my attitude.

So, now I plug in my microphone and share these thoughts with you.

For the last 80-plus weeks I have been recording a “Dangerous Idea” video every week on my channel at Patreon.

These come from my own efforts to untangle my daily creative struggle— and in the process help you find your own way.

All of the videos are available to new subscribers.

You can look up James Victore’s work online.

He’s bloody brave.

I love the playfulness of his work. And the humour.

It’s punky to me. Rebellious and personal.

I intend to read and learn a lot more about James.

Creative Struggle.

But the main reason I’ve written this little story is because of James’s terminology…

…creative struggle…

James seems to acknowledge that this is a ‘thing’.

Rather than a weakness or a disease or an immovable barrier.

And I like that.

I like that I am a bit like James, too.

I struggle creatively from time to time.

I never actually struggle to be creative.

But I struggle to work out what’s good and bad, valuable or not valuable, relevant or irrelevant.

I struggle to prioritise creatively.

That’s it.

I think.

Authenticity.

I admire James.

And I am grateful that he’s had the authenticity and the honesty to talk about his struggle.

As with all such actions, and I really should have learned this by now, when one person talks openly about their struggle – it makes it so much easier for people to talk about theirs.

That’s a good thing.

Image: By James Victore.

I was chatting to a friend this week.

They are pretty amazing, actually.

One of the best cv’s you could ever wish to see. They’ve held lofty positions in numerous significant International organisations.

My friend is in a transition period. And it is so similar to a phase I went through 4 or 5 years ago.

They have had enough of the churn of their day-to-day. And they have had enough of the greedy and the short term thinkers. They are pissed off with those that don’t think about what they can give, only about what they can get.

And they feel a little lost because they are surrounded by people whose values that don’t align with theirs.

I have felt all of this.

The Do Lectures.

Anyhow, they asked my advice.

Where are all the good guys?

They asked.

Not in those exact words. But this is what they meant.

A rare breed. Those that are talented, exceptional, famous, significant, powerful. Yet they choose to use their position to make other people’s lives better.

Now, sometimes I don’t know what advice to give.

But on this occasion, I knew exactly what to advice.

Go to The Do Lectures.

I then took the time to explain what The Do Lectures is. You can read about them behind the link.

Go To The Do Lectures

My friend continued to bemoan where their life was parked.

So I repeated it:

Go to The Do Lectures.

We chatted about how often The Do Lectures happened. Where it was. What it cost.

And they kept going on about their fedup-ness.

Now, I love my friend. But I eventually felt myself getting a bit angry.

I think my friend was starting to moan just for the sake of moaning.

So I leaned forward, said their name, and then said:

Go to The fucking Do Lectures.

They smiled. And said OK.

The Answer.

Sometimes the answer to things that are doing your head in are quite simple. My friend has since read a lot about this event and feels a part of it already.

They feel better. Which was my intention.

And what’s more  (and do remember that people used to pay me money to create slogans for their brands) I’ll be speaking to David Hieatt and Carlo Navato about my great new idea for their *campaign slogan for 2019.

Go To The Fucking Do Lectures.

I’ve still got it.

*They don’t need a campaign slogan.
Last year 1,500 people applied for 80 tickets.

I don’t think you should remove the word ‘because’ from your vocabulary for ever.

But I do think that, every now and then, you should remove it for a day.

Because.

Imagine that you’re not allowed to say, ‘because’.

Just for a day.

I think it’d be great!

I can already feel myself smiling.

And you should too.

I actually have a feeling of mischief.

That I am going to get ‘up to something’ in this ‘because-free-day’ that I am going to create.

My thinking is freer.

My decision making is faster.

I am not thinking about consequences or other people. I feel that I can live this ‘because-free’ time – just for me.

Give it a go!

Why?

Sorry, this is a ‘because-free-day’ for me.

So you’re going to have to find out for yourself.

As our 7 day Kes journey ends.

Here is a reminder how the film Kes ends.

I watched this clip.

With David.

And an audience of 110 people at the Northern Design Centre at the end of 2017.

David cried.

And so did many of the people watching.

The End.

My Kes adventure started when I was 10 years old.

My ‘Kes’ adventure continued when I saw a young boy wandering through Byker in Newcastle in 2017.

He was carrying a bird of prey.

I wanted to make imagery for Always Wear Red that reminded me of my favourite film.

So I got the best photographer.

And the best falconer.

And the right Kestrel.

And the right Billy Casper model.

Then I went for David Bradley himself.

And he is now my friend.

A real gentleman.

A beautiful, gentle chap that helped me to push my ideas and my little adventure as far as I had dreamed.

Here are the images that we created together.

Always Wear Red’s homage to Kes, 50 years after the film was made:

 

As night fell on my day with David Bradley, David and I visited my friend John Kirtley. 

John is the Falconer.

When I first met John, I (naively) asked him if he liked the film Kes.

And if he knew of David Bradley.

John just stared at me. And lifted his shirt.

Across his chest is a large tattoo.

Of David Bradley.

Dreams. 

So imagine this…

I introduce John Kirtley to the boy – now the man – that has been tattooed on his chest for over 10 years.

Dan the photographer/videographer is there too.

As is John’s beautiful Kestrel.

The sun starts to set and we all walk slowly to the woods by John’s Falconry.

And this happens: