Meandering Thoughts on the Ego

CoffeeTime is flying by, and we’re already nearing March of a year that feels like it only began a week ago. I’ve been working on Red Star’s latest animation this month, in a very different music style to my normal orchestral/sound-designy schtick! ‘Tis alway nice to have a challenge.

Next month brings with it more new and lovely challenges: preparatory work with Slung Low for the music of The White Whale and the V&A’s Venetian Masquerade exhibition starts in earnest. I’m also putting together a pitch for a film (keep your fingers crossed for me!) and I’m talking at the next Hack Circus, themed ‘This is Reality’. I’m not entirely sure what my take on it is, but ideas of controlling perceptions of reality through music and sound feels like a decent starting point. But, who knows, when I finally get a mo to really sit with the topic it could go off in another direction entirely… read more

Blind Faith vs Evidence-Based Expectations

I wrote a post a while back about being ok with not knowing. Sometimes you don’t know what your next move is, how you’ll get from the start to the finish line. The gist of the post is that this usually feels uncomfortable but it’s ok to feel that way. There’s no need to shy away from it – it’s a normal part of a process that requires you take a different path each time it’s undertaken.

This can be applied to music composition and any other creative endeavour. The point is that something new will be the end product; you can’t get there without the process, or some part of it, also being new. read more

Yoga, Music and Being Slightly Obsessive Compulsive

Tree Pose on a Mountain at Sunrise

You know I love the yoga, no? Well, asana, at any rate. Not least because you pronounce that word ASS-ana. Heheheh.

I’ve been at this asana (snicker) malarky for going on 6 years now, the majority of that as just a home practise with follow-along videos. But then… da da daaaa! I signed up for an actual led class, on the recommendation of a friend. Not just any old yoga either – this was Ashtanga vinyasa, hard core, power-style.

Well it wasn’t that hard core to begin with, just a beginners class so they couldn’t really put us through the ringer straight away or we’d have all left and not come back. Gradually, it lured me in, with it’s focus on both strength (of which I had NONE) and flexibility, on the challenge of difficult postures, on the promise that regular practise would make it (slightly, and gradually) easier. read more

Work and Play

Me looking up at flagsIn July, I prepped some choral work for Blood & Chocolate. The preliminary rehearsal was very encouraging. Those chaps can really sing.

During August, I’m working on several Red Star projects.

I’m also doing a Twitter and Facebook fast. Admittedly, I logged in when I got a mention on the twitter, and also to play Team Cooper’s latest game on FB, Fraxinus. But apart from that I’m just ignoring those timesuckers, for the time being.

I found these things interesting in my rss feed: read more

How To Be Ok With Doubt

Sunrise over foggy hills

My previous post going public… that was a mistake. Or at least I thought it was a mistake. After scheduling it to go live a week after I’d written it, I got the collywobbles and decided to make it private and come back to it later for a bit of a redraft.

I doubted my first instincts, felt during this initial process – that perhaps I should be more on the ball with scheduling and how this nebulous process of creation should in fact be way more ‘concrete’. I doubted my own (albeit anecdotal) evidence from my own life experience: it’s worked before so it’ll work again. read more

Be OK with Not Knowing

be ok with not knowing - silhouetteRecently I spent a day in meetings about a new, rather large project. I’m due to start work on it later in the year. I was in a slightly uncomfortable , yet not unexpected, position of not knowing quite how I was going to attack the project. It was understandable though – being, as it was, technically my first day.

Immersing in New Information

To me, this is an opportunity to swim about in an awful lot of new information, and on this occasion I was also meeting an awful lot of new people (it’s no secret that my introvert brain was fried by the end of the day). A day of cross-pollinating multiple ideas and themes, of ‘feeling’ out the landscape and structure of the piece without pinning down the exactitudes. Not just yet, anyway. read more

The Ubiquitous ‘Struggle’

an ant carries a leaf

Struggle’. The word evokes images of toil, trouble, strife, a fight against the odds, against fate. I’ve been hearing it a lot of late. The way people in the arts and creative businesses describe their lives, how they got to where they are, the process they go through to make something creative or artistic or whatever.

And it bugs me. Massively.

Possibly because I can’t describe my life as a struggle. It doesn’t ever feel like I’ve struggled. I’ve seen a problem, and I’ve found a solution. I’ve seen a path I wanted to follow, and I put one foot in front of the other and followed it. I’ve come up against some form of adversity, I’ve accepted, and I’ve found a way around it. I’ve had challenges, professionally and personally, and then I’ve risen to the challenge. read more

TEDxSheffield: “Disruption”

a woman sits alone in a theatre auditorium

The lovely John Hunter scored us free tickets for TEDxSheffield 2011. I was ecstatic.

The theme was Disruption. As Chris Dymond, one of the organisers (and excellent compere), put it, a sexier title than ‘novelty’ or ‘new’. Fair point.

In essence, change. Rocking the boat. Anti-status-quo (not the band though, my soon-to-be mother-in-law would not like that at all).

Alan Moore

(No not that Alan Moore, this Alan Moore)

A creative destructionist, a brilliantly complex idea distilled into a succinct 15-minute talk. The one take-away phrase that really stood out to me was: read more

4 Essential Prerequisites for Creativity

A wooden sign in a green field points to 'creativity'

Creativity. To really get creative, your brain desperately needs:

  • Time
  • Space
  • Freedom from distraction
  • Focus

to make cool stuff happen. Systems enable this.

I schedule low-level activities, if I can, at the same time every day, week or month – for example, email, shopping, phone calls…

I do this no less than 1 week in advance.

Through this, I can see what time I have left to do the high-level creative stuff – writing music, dreaming up new sounds, playing with new toys (aka studio equipment). Big blocks of uninterruptedness to mull and compose and edit and finesse. Time. read more