Wednesday, 9 December 2009


Now I know I’m going to sound like my Grandad here in that ‘don’t know they’re born’ kind of way – but bear with me.

Picture the scene. 1976 (or thereabouts) and I’m watching the rain pound against the kitchen, window.

“Mum I’m bored…”

“Well, if you don’t find something to do Anthony, I’ll find something for you”. Was mum’s reply.

“Er – it’s OK…”

‘Sod that’ I thought; and not wanting to clean the garage out, tidy my bedroom or peel the spuds for tea, I disappeared and found something to do.

And I can clearly remember what I did too. Sellotaping a ruler to the back of a shoebox, and stretching 5 elastic bands across the front, I knocked up a guitar! And from the rainy outside, my mates then turned up - bored! It wasn’t long before upturned bins became a makeshift drumkit, various glasses of orange juice were lined up and became homemade percussion, and together we proceeded to cobble a couple songs to fit the noise. When my Dad came in from work, we performed our creations, (under the band name – “The Elastic Band” – clever eh?) and shorty after
the band broke up. Shortly after a cry from the kitchen of “Tea’s out.” that is.


So why am I reminiscing? Well what I’ve noticed (and I generalise obviously) is that we simply don’t seem to get bored these days, and as a result our latent creativity remains just that. Untapped, undiscovered, unrealised and unseen. What a waste.

Whenever we get anywhere near the danger zone of boredom, we are rescued by the cavalry of 24-hour TV, films on demand, the ever-giving internet, Playstations, iPods and all that great ‘time-filler’ stuff. And the instinctive creativity that was once propelled by such an occasion remains out of reach.

Now I’m no luddite, and enjoy all of the afore mentioned as much as you probably do; but I do make the effort occasionally to surround myself with nothing and no-one, and see where this then takes me. And I have to say it usually takes me to a better place creatively.

So go on, try and get bored. This weekend, switch off everything with a plug or a signal. Surround yourself with nothing, and see where you end up. You never know, you might end up lead singer in an elastic band!

Let me know if you do.

Thursday, 22 October 2009


The internet is going down,
does no-one understand?
That from tonight, the world wide web
wont support your brand.

No click-throughs or banner ads,
no more sites to see.
The wonder of the Internet
is headin' for his-tor-ee!

It's the last stand of the home page
- no more skip intro's.
No more life spent waiting,
to watch those mpeg shows.

Its the end of on-line shopping,
all passwords now expired.
No more e-bay bargains
they're all gettin' re-wired.

The futures back to paper based,
mail - enveloped and stamped.
The way we all communicate
will have to be revamped.

The battles out in cyberspace
will end without a fight.
With screens all blank, and plug's all pulled,
we've had our final byte.

Monday, 19 October 2009


"Follow the map", he said.
"It'll just take you there”, he said.
"Don't worry", he said.
So I didn't.

And now I'm here.

I'm lost.

Lost - but I've arrived.
I've arrived at Lost.
It's a kind of strange place.
Unfamiliar - unchartered.
But I'm here.

I arrived here earlier,
so technically I can't be lost.

Can I?

I've never been here before, and don't know were I am.
So technically I am lost.
But it's a nice place.
Nice and quiet.
Just me.


I think I'll stay.

Friday, 9 October 2009


Through the bricks they sit and weep,
they cannot think - they cannot sleep.

How much time have they got left,
before they part, their love at rest?

What went wrong to cause their pain?
Why no way out? Just who's to blame?

What can we learn from their great sorrow?
From their grim gloom that is, tomorrow?

What right have we, to sulk and row?
We must enjoy our moments... ...NOW!

Wednesday, 30 September 2009


There's nothing more that I detest,
than old ladies - with bad breath.
Stale old teeth, that rot in gums,
with smells that should belong in bums.

Sunday, 27 September 2009


There's a call to lower t-shirts in any public place,
To cover up bare bellies that wobble in your face.

I blame the super models for setting such a trend,
With their skeletal flat tummies and clothes all carefully hemmed.

Its the height of summer fashion for girls it's all the rage,
Tops, stop short of covering spare tyres - of any age.

Wearing high cut T-shirts, displaying big pink hearts,
They parade the shopping centres with guts that should play darts.

Bring back the shrink wrapped gut i say, all toned and tucked and nice;
- the one that doesn't overhang,
- the one that's out of sight.

Back into high waist Levis, that's where tummies should be put!
Away from public view again. Lets banish public gut!

It's definitely a suitcase of - the emperors new clothes.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009


Way back, (but not too far back mind!) when I was at art college, my old lecturer used to wander the studios and corridors chanting a little phrase that has haunted me ever since. Now just to put this into perspective we were usually chasing him to see what he thought about some concept or other… “What do you think about this Jim?” - “Jim I’ve got this great idea…” - “Jim how would you improve on …” and unless he could see that we were carrying reams of scribbled on layout paper, he would more often than not turn on his heel wave us away chanting, “VISUALISE DON’T VERBALISE!”- “VISUALISE DON’T VERBALISE!”

What he wanted was to SEE our thoughts, not HEAR them. A sketch, an outline, stickmen, marks on paper - some kind of visual commitment to accompany our thoughts. “Don’t just talk about it – get it down on paper and show me” - “Draw it” - “VISUALISE DON’T VERBALISE!”

Following Jim’s lesson, my experience is that creatives that just talk about their ideas and haven’t committed them to paper haven’t formulated anywhere near a strong enough thought - and are usually just practising the rhetoric. The process that happens between brain and hand makes ideas real.

One of my most prolific writing partners always drew as he wrote. Even though he was the guardian of the written word, manic scribbles, cartoons, shapes and stick men, always accompanied his thoughts. Often he would just sit scribbling to illustrate his chat and of how he saw the problem in his head. Random but committed. And his work was better for it. Thoughts were out of his head and down for discussion.

I was reading about Leonardo and how he scribbled ALL of his thoughts down and the article read that “The explosion of creativity in the renaissance was intimately tied to the development of graphic illustration.” That is… THEY SCRIBBLED EVERYTHING DOWN! Check out Leonardos’ sketchbooks sometime – they’re not unlike a common worksheet or sketchbook today ( His Ideas, scribbles, sketches, thoughts and renaissance coffee stains… they’re all down on paper…
Anyway the point here is that several hundred years later, his ideas are still being discussed and indeed used today - unlike the conversations that he had, which are long, long gone.

SO in the words of Jim Lockley my old lecturer. “VISUALISE DON’T VERBALISE” Make your thoughts visible. Words OR pictures, get them down on paper. Your work will be a lot stronger for it. Cheers Jim.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009


I was fourth to present, and right up to the moment I stood up in front of the 300 or so open-eared individuals, I rehearsed, re-wrote, practiced, and concentrated on my script, completely ignoring the other three speakers that spoke before me. I went on stage, delivered a decent, seamless talk - complete with prompted jokes, and timed pauses. The audience laughed at all the right points, responded well to the content and ticked all the right boxes on their “conference speaker satisfaction survey”.

But on the train home, I read an article about an outdoor concert that was the complete opposite of my own experience. One I wish I’d read before I’d spoken. It read that during an open-air solo piano performance, a small airplane flew above the audience. Backwards and forwards, looping the loop and buzzing about just enough to be a distraction to both the pianist and listeners alike. But rather than be put off by the distraction, the pianist began to improvise midway through his recital to accommodate the engine’s hum as if it was another instrument. The airplane becoming his partner in an exquisite, unique duet. Quite, quite amazing…

But the amazing thing here wasn’t the pianist’s skill in improvising his piece to fit with the plane’s hum – his skill was in recognising the opportunity! The opportunity to be brave, to go ‘off-script’ and to try something new –creating something totally unique and absolutely memorable.

Something I’d missed with my own performance. I’d been so lost in my own script, that I’d failed to hear any visual and verbal gems from the previous speakers. Pearls that I could have used to my advantage. Now of course it’s important to be prepared and to do all the hard work before any sort of gig - this will obviously enhance any results. BUT part of that preparation I believe, should always be to prepare to accept the role of chance. Maybe even build it into the overall plan?

Since reading the article, I now relinquish the control that arguably I never had in the first place, and during any presentation – large or small, now try to pick up on the slightest ‘hum’.

Try it. Try listening for that distracting hum. Don’t be worried that something might send you in a different direction – be brave. You never know where you’ll end up.

Monday, 31 August 2009


So what do you do when you've got an hour to kill at lunchtime? Well you become a psychogeographer of course!

Psycho-what? (No, I didn't know what it meant either). Now stay with me on this... "Psychogeography is the point where psychology and geography meet, in assessing the emotional and behavioural impact in urban space". ...stay with me... In short this means to throw a bit of 'random' into things. Now rather than attempt to explain, let me give you my lunchtime example.

Rather than walk the usual route to the pub and back, I decided to let fate play a part and started walking with two basic rules. 1) to 'only walk on the sunniest side of the street avoiding any main shadows' (the opposite of the famous Nike advert) and 2) to enter any shop that had a 'glint' on its window and buy a 'souvenir' by which the walk would be recorded...

The journey went something like this...
12.55 - Left office and cross road into the sun.
1.10 - Wonder if this is a complete waste of time.
1.15 - See first glare of sun bounce off a louvered window abve the door - of a barbers shop.
1.22 - Am sitting getting a haircut - even though I don't need one).
1.30 - Regret not just asking for a tub of wax!
1.40 - Pay my seven pounds fifty (which tells you all you need to know about the quality of haircut I ended up with).
1.42 - Follow the sunny pavement back to work, wondering if 'that was it'...
1.55 - The sun bounces off an open window above a gallery space.

Turned out that the building wasn't just a gallery but a warren of artists' studios - and that I'd stumbled upon their open day. The premises were a hive of busy artists - a mix of jewellers, potters, sculptors and illustrators all absorbed in making real a product of their imagination. Inside the main door I recognise a polished ceramic sculpture by Craig Mitchell, a ceramicist whose work I've admired for years.

Anyway, by 2.25, I've met Craig, discovered he's originally from my neck of the woods, shared a bit of a chat and signed up to an 8 week course that he's running in ' Creative Clay Hand Building', with the aim of bringing one of my illustrations to life in ceramics.

2.35 - I'm back at my desk, planning a pub crawl that evening... as a real life psychogeographer!

Nike ad ref -
Craig Mitchell -

Thursday, 27 August 2009


So what is 'through the window'?

Well, when I was small I used to love listening to the stories and sayings, songs and rhymes of my Great Aunty Liz. But the thing was, rather than just sticking to the script, she would always add a peculiar twist.

My favourite was a simple saying that we heard every visit just as we were leaving. She'd stand on the kitchen step at the side of the house, wave goodbye and shout, "Bye now, and if I don't see you through the week, I'll see you through the window." Lovely.

Not just the norm, but that little bit different. Just enough to stand out, just enough to make you stop and think. And that's what this blog is all about. Interesting things both of my own and from other places that you might not see through the week - but hey if you pop back, you might just see them 'through the window'.

Welcome, and cheers Aunty Liz x.