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.


  1. This is wonderful, Anthony! Not a bad burst of creativity from a dull, boring spot of nothing.

    However, on a side note, I am left with one nagging question. You make tea out of spuds? :-O

  2. Interesting post. I think there are two kinds of boredom though - this one you describe which is an open space for creativity and the worse kind of boredom which is sitting in front of a computer or a machine doing mind breakingly repetitive tasks that have no obvious point except to make money. Your kind of boredom is good and I don't describe it as boredom to be honest, I call it down time and I make sure I have a lot of it. The second sort is soul destroying.

  3. On rainy days, we could go up into the attic where we discovered our Dad actually had an old (unloaded) Army rifle and where we tiptoed over the beams in one unfinished room and managed once to knock an unattached radiator over on a leg (an incident unreported in order to preserve the play privilege) and where we could dress up in whatever outlandish outfits could be strung together to fit the scenario of the moment.

    Or...we could go down cellar and for a while before the new oil heater, slide down the coal bin or roller skate or mess around with the tools and bits of wood around Dad's work bench. And later we could pull out books of Collier's World Encyclopedia upstairs or curl up with a library book or make our own paper dolls...or even get sent to the store to pick up something for Mom and get pleasantly wet. There was real magic in the world then apart from electronic simulation.

    Because the TV is turned off, my still very young (4 1/2 and 17 months) grandkids amuse themselves, rain or shine, companions or no. I hope they will never be rescued from overcoming boredom on their own.