Tag Archives: Tim Harford

Weekend Coffee Share November 27, 2016

Welcome to Another Weekend Coffee Share!

Not quite sure what type of beverage to offer you today. Being Summer over here, a glass of water might hit the spot and you might want to save your hot drinks for cooler climes.

How was your week?

school-spec-amelia

Miss outside Qudos Bank Arena. “Dream Big”…the theme for School Spec this year.

After celebrating my husband’s 50th Birthday last Sunday, the big event this week has been attending NSW School Spectacular held last night at Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena. Our daughter was singing with her school in a huge mass choir with 3,500 students all dressed in matching white skivvies. It’s been a full on week. She had two full days of rehearsals midweek followed by two performances on both Friday and Saturday. So as much as being a part of School Spec is fun, it also takes commitment, hard work and a lot of organisation behind the scenes. Unfortunately, as we forgot to plant a locating beacon  or  take the Hubble telescope, we didn’t actually see our daughter perform but were with her in spirit.  Meanwhile the featured acts were very impressive including Fletcher Pillon, who won Australian X-Factor this year with a heartbreaking song about his little brother Benji who was tragically killed when he was run over riding his skateboard. I must also mention that I took much more notice of the dancing this year and even recognised many of the steps from my lyrical dance class. Not that I’d pulled them off with such agility, grace and finesse. However, I wasn’t watching myself dance in my lessons. Both eyes were focused on my teacher and naturally, I absorbed her moves as my own.

school-spec-finale

The Finale.

Quite aside from School Spectacular, I’ve had a  creatively productive week.

Firstly,  Merril Smith put me onto an online  magnetic poetry site. They provide you with a selection of words to a theme and you try to build a poem out of it. You can get words relating to various themes such as nature. I’ve written a few magnetic poems this week and found the exercise extremely encouraging. The words gave my poetry rich symbolism and stretched my thinking. I was thrilled with the results and recommend you have a go. Please pop back and share your efforts. I’d love to read them. You can also read my efforts: The Path and The Poet Muse.

messy

In addition to the magnetic poetry this week, I’ve also started reading an absolutely incredibly amazing book: Messy: How to Be Messy in a Tidy-Minded World.  I recommend you all rush out and buy it. I promise it will significantly expand how you experience creative inspiration through opening your mind to messy and chaotic approaches, which often yield surprisingly impressive results.

One of the things I have found most interesting is the idea of jolting yourself out of a creative block. I was so intrigued by a set of random cards created by Brian Eno called Oblique Strategies, that I wrote a post about them and intend to try them out. After reading about choreographer Twyla Tharp, I read elsewhere that she advises dancers to “jump” when they experience a creative block.

bat-cave-nov-25

© CEayr.

I also participated in  Friday Fictioneers. This week’s prompt was a locked, chained door set into a sandstone structure. It looked quite intriguing and reminded me of a door I’d seen attached to a sandstone cave on the waterfront at Palm Beach. Naturally, this door has always intrigued me and I thought it would make a perfect pirate’s lair and pictured mermaids swimming through the sea around their ship. However, instead my flash was called: “Never too old for Divorce”. It’s the story of a retired gent whose wife is a monomaniacal cleaner and he’s withdrawn to his cave to have some breathing space. Unfortunately, I had to cut a lot out to meet the 100 word limit. In the original version, his cave was decked out with a flat screen  TV, microwave, boxes of Chardonnay and he’d also salvaged his trophies from the roof. Of course, she’d banished them up into the roof calling them dust traps although her precious collection of tea cups was okay. Indeed, the tea cups had moved into his trophy cabinet. It was hard to leave all of that out so I’m working on an extended 1500 word version.

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Our son seems to enjoy sailing in a bathtub AKA the Optimus.

Yesterday morning, I also had some photography fun. While I usually do the dance run and my husband drives our son to sailing, we switched roles yesterday and Geoff took Miss to School Spectacular and I found myself at the Sailing Club with menacing storm clouds on the horizon. Yummy! Well, perhaps Yummy is not the right word but I LOVE photographing clouds and the darker the better. While these clouds weren’t quite up to the hail clouds two years ago, I’d rather watch those clouds on TV these days. Getting caught in that storm was pure terror.

stormy-dark-clouds-sailing

By the way, in case you’re wondering what Mister was sailing, he had a go in the Optimus better recognised as “the bathtub” and then moved onto a Feva (I thought it was a “Fever” but what would I know.)  As much as I love sailing, I’m pure ballast and just strive to keep my head away from the boom.

Now, we’re switching gears as Christmas parties and the end of year dance concert approaches. Unfortunately, yours truly won’t be performing. The adults have respectfully been shown to our seats.  I’ve also bailed out on my violin concert. With so much going on, I decided not to do ensemble this year and decided to perform early in the new year at a soiree in the studio. As much as I love performing, with so much on, it’s been a relief.

What have you been up to? How’s your week been?

I hope things are going well.

This has been another Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Deborah over at  Part-Time Monster  and click here for the linky http://www.inlinkz.com/new/view.php?id=680139

xx Rowena

 

Creative Inspiration…Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies

As I mentioned in my last post, I am currently reading Tim Harford’s: Messy: How to be Creative & Resilient in a Tidy-Minded World.

In Chapter 1 on Creativity, Harford introduced me to “Oblique Strategies”. They are intended as a creative tool for musicians and were developed by legendary producer Brian Eno and artist Peter Schmidt – the pair originally both came up with the same idea independently in 1975, and joined forces to make it a reality.

Oblique Strategies is a deck of cards, about 7×9 cm in size, supplied in a small black box labelled “OBLIQUE STRATEGIES”. The cards themselves are black on one side, white on the other, and have obscure, cryptic aphorisms printed on the front in small letters.

Eno’s own description explains the idea very well:

“The Oblique Strategies evolved from me being in a number of working situations when the panic of the situation – particularly in studios – tended to make me quickly forget that there were others ways of working and that there were tangential ways of attacking problems that were in many senses more interesting than the direct head-on approach. If you’re in a panic, you tend to take the head-on approach because it seems to be the one that’s going to yield the best results Of course, that often isn’t the case – it’s just the most obvious and – apparently – reliable method. The function of the Oblique Strategies was, initially, to serve as a series of prompts which said, “Don’t forget that you could adopt *this* attitude,” or “Don’t forget you could adopt *that* attitude.”

Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies – the Ultimate Music Production Tool

By the way, Brian Eno had found fame as Roxy Music’s crazy Keyboard player and had also created a new sonic aesthetic called ambient music.bowie-heroesEno used the cards in song writing sessions in Berlin with David Bowie and Tony Visconti and Messy tells how “the strange chaotic working process produced two of the decades most critically acclaimed albums, Low and Heroes, along with Iggy Pop’s most respected work, The Idiot and Lust for Life, which Bowie co-wrote and benefited from the same messy approach.”

Here’s a few examples of what’s written on the cards:

  • Use an old idea.
  • State the problem in words as clearly as possible.
  • Only one element of each kind.
  • What would your closest friend do?
  • What to increase? What to reduce?
  • Are there sections? Consider transitions.
  • Try faking it!
  • Honour thy error as a hidden intention.
  • Ask your body.
  • Work at a different speed.

Have you ever tried using the Oblique Strategy cards?

I am thinking about buying a pack but will make a few of my own cards first and see how it goes.

I’d be interested in your feedback.

xx Rowena