Category

CREATIVITY

Category

Izobel is 2.

I am amazed, having never had children before, how much a 2 year old can know and process at such a young age.

How deeply they think.

Earlier this week, as I sat on the settee watching the television, Izobel was sat – still – to my left.

After a little while, her fidgety legs lifted her and – quite suddenly – she jumped clean over my lap and landed to my right.

I was concerned she’d fall on the wooden floor of course.

But I smiled as she paused to considered this new game.

Then, Izobel jumped back across my lap and landed once more to my left.

There was a pattern now.

And it continued.

Dizzy.

After 8 or 10 if these jumped, I called her name and began to explain something.

“Izobel” I said, “You might fall. You’ll get dizzy.”

She listened silently.

She was looking at my eyes.

Thinking.

“You’ve not fallen yet…” I continued, “…but you surely will, the dizzier you get.”

“Now – what are you going to do? Slow down and be safe here at my side? Where there is no chance at all of you falling. Or getting hurt?”

“Or are you going to continue to make your self dizzy? To bounce and fly?”

Two seconds passed before she flew across my lap once more, laughing.

Then back again.

And again.

“I have just seen the future”, I thought.

“And I have just seen a little bit of me, too.”

I honestly don’t find many things more exciting than owning a new, hard backed notebook and a new, great quality black permanent ink pen.

It’s blank pages, as I run my fingers over them, wake me up.

It’s because of the possibilities.

I can write what I am going to achieve.

I can design a new thing to develop with Britain’s best makers for the Always Wear Red collection.

I can record beautiful and poignant things that people say to me.

I can capture the future on these pages.

But much more than that – I can write it.

All my life I have thought of The Beatles as the greatest band ever.

I still do.

I’ve seen, and have been personally affected by, the rise of Oasis.

Both Oasis albums meant something to me.

‘Definitely Maybe’ helped me to see that brilliance could come from anywhere, in a moment.

I took a ‘Morning Glory’ CD on a boys holiday and listened to it almost every waking minute.

U2’s albums have punctuated my life too.

Particularly ‘The Joshua Tree’ and ‘The Unforgettable Fire’.

I see these music-makers as geniuses.

Godlike.

Global influencers.

Perfect.

In fact, what’s the point of even making music when there is such perfection around?

What’s the point when there are these people that know just what to do and get things just right – first time – whilst normal people like me just do what’s in front of them… fucking up most things and coming up with the occasional gem as part of the journey?

Seeds.

The video below makes me smile.

It’s The Beatles messing things up.

And not giving a toss.

Because they’re in love with what they’re doing.

Loving their time creating.

Loving their mistakes.

No one is judging.

Everyone is laughing.

And between the mess, you can hear the perfect seeds.

Some grow into perfect songs.

Others don’t.

But all seeds, I’d argue, are perfect seeds.

 

So here I am with a massive owl. 

Here’s how, at 50, I ended up holding a very big, and very heavy owl for the first time.

  1. At 45 I closed the businesses I had known for 20 years to do something new.
  2. At 48 I launched a new business in a new world that I didn’t’t know – fashion.
  3. At 48 we had a new baby. Izzy Willow is our first.
  4. At 49 I wanted to do a new fashion photoshoot to pay homage to the film Kes.
  5. I contacted David Bradley, the chap that played Billy Casper in the iconic film to be a part of it. He’s now my new friend.
  6. I introduced David to someone new, John that runs Riverside Falconry in Newcastle. They’re new friends as well, now.
  7. Izzy Willow (she’s still quite new; she’s 2) like’s owls. So this Christmas we took her to see John and his owls. And I ended up holding this massive owl.

New for 2019.

There is a new meeting between me and John (falconer) and David (played Billy Casper in Kes) and Carlo Navato, my new friend that co-Founded The Do Lectures on July 16th in Newcastle.

Carlo is new to Newcastle I think and is stopping at my place.

So, I suppose that if you want new things to happen… you have to do new things.

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.