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Did you know about the creative beats behind the Velvet Underground?

I Wanna Be Creative!

If you like and respect creative artists who do things differently – you’ll probably love the music of The Velvet Underground.

A band we formed at Queensland University, Eugene and the Egg, is adding Velvet Underground songs to our repertoire – partly in celebration of the 50-th anniversary of the debut album, and largely because the songs just feel so good to play.

egg 80s

I only ‘got into’ The Velvets in my impressionable university years in the 80s. I loved how their music seemed ‘accessible’ – as in you didn’t have to be an incredibly gifted and accomplished musician to play it. Well, it sounded that way anyway!

TB VU

Also, I loved Lou Reed’s lyrics. He was an English Major at Syracuse university I believe – and I thought he and the band were so cool with their ‘sunglasses on stage’ look – and I later found the band wore sunglasses on…

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Champine – Creativity with a Queensland twist

An earlier post that recently popped back up on my radar. Glad it did! Good memories of trying a champine!

I Wanna Be Creative!

Don’t you love it when people combine different things to make something “original”?

On Sunday I went to see Dave Graney play at the Brisbane Writers Festival and he was playing at a place called The Pineapple Lounge – which happens to contain two of my favourite words  – Pineapple and Lounge (as in lounge music!)

As you can see, I’m a huge fan of the Pineapple. Maybe it was the childhood trips to the Big Pineapple on the Sunshine Coast.

Maybe it was the Elvis Movie  – Blue Hawaii where Elvis’s dad ran a Pineapple plantation.

mmmmm – Love Pineapple cocktails. I blame watching too many episodes of Gilligan’s Island. Where’s the coconut cream pie!

Anyway, I always loved the Tiki lounge “associations” of the Pineapple – so you can imagine how The Pineapple Lounge felt like “heaven”!

Tiki and Pineapple shirt – tastefully subtle!

One dude was…

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How ‘removing’ – can help you get things done and boost your #productivity and #creativity

A friend who is a successful thriller writer (and a fellow fan of James Bond author Ian Fleming) sent me a wonderful and helpful article of Fleming’s advice on his writing rituals and how he created the right environment to write his books.

sirenia typewriter IMG_0947

Fleming was very self-deprecating about his own writing style – but was firm in his instruction on how to get things done and to ‘produce’ novels.

The two key points I draw from reading Fleming’s “How To Write a Thriller” (1962) can be summed up in one word – Remove.

1. Remove yourself from your normal life and distractions and
2. Remove your inner critic – write quickly without looking back and then edit your work

I find this valuable advice as one of my current writing projects is helping promote an island escape called Sirenia where business executives and writers can ‘remove themselves’ from their normal  work and lives and work on and complete their projects

sirenia MG_9939

Fleming’s advice was to remove yourself as far as possible from your usual ‘life’ and distractions. Fleming had his Goldeneye ‘hideaway’ built on the north shore of Jamaica and each year he escaped there for around two months of the bitter English winter. He wrote a novel each trip.

Fleming was a stickler for a routine that enabled him to write ‘fast and with application’.

In an earlier post, I wrote about Fleming’s routine that combined the joys of his sunny seaside retreat with productive solitude.

In this post, I share more about Fleming’s secrets to ‘writing fast’ with forward motion – from His How to Write a Thriller advice.

“I never correct anything and I never look back at what I have written, except to the foot of the last page to see where I have got to. If you once look back, you are lost. How could you have written this drivel? How could you have used “terrible” six times on one page? And so forth.

If you interrupt the writing of fast narrative with too much introspection and self-criticism, you will be lucky if you write 500 words a day and you will be disgusted with them into the bargain.”

By following his ritual every day, Fleming was able to pump out 2000 words a day and finish a book in 6 weeks.

At Sirenia, we make sure we have what business executives and writers need to get their tasks done. If you are inspired by the Ian Fleming ‘Golden Eye’ escape experience you can enjoy:
1. the seaside beach and sea environment
2. rooms and spaces for solitude where you can work without interruption or distraction
3. high-speed wi-fi if you need it – plus other ‘tools’ writers and creative types use (like appropriate inspiring and energising music)

We understand what business executives and writers need in terms of equipment and accessories and we’ve made sure we provide them.

Here’s a link to the earlier post about Fleming:

 

how a secluded sun and sea retreat can help you achieve you goals

How a secluded ‘sun and sea’ retreat like Sirenia can help you achieve your #creativity goals

If you have a creative project you need to finish, you can learn from the writing discipline of Ian Fleming (the author of the Jame Bond books).

fleming-typewriter

Fleming wrote more than 12 novels during 12 stays at his glorious estate escape ‘Golden Eye’ he had built in Jamaica. I used to think the beauty and temptations of such a setting would have been too distracting – until I learned about Fleming’s daily routine and discipline that combined a powerful combination of ‘pleasures’ and productivity.

Swim and breakfast

Fleming is said to have been a man of routine and habit. Yet, he also enjoyed the pleasures of life including the sea and sun.

He would start each day with a refreshing swim in the Carribean in front of his Golden Eye estate. The he would enjoy a leisurely breakfast – often including scrambled eggs. (Fleming infused the James Bond character with many of his personal preferences – including a love of scrambled eggs.)

Morning writing

After his day’s start of a swim and breakfast, Fleming would ‘lock himself away’ for three hours to write – often producing at least 2000 a day. Like many effective and productive writers, he focussed on just producing the words and ideas – not worrying too much about ‘the quality’. He’d just ‘pour it out on paper’ and tidy up and refine his writing in a different stage.

Sun and sea and lunch

Fleming would then break to enjoy the sun and sea with his wife Ann – often including some sunbathing. Then, a spot of lunch and an afternoon nap.

After a refreshing sleep, Fleming would dedicate an hour to review his work of the morning and make any improvements and corrections and then put away his work of the day and be ready for his evening drink.

With this daily routine he was able to produce a new novel in around 12 weeks.

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The reason I’m so fascinated in Fleming’s writing ritutals at his Carribean retreat is I am helping ‘promote’ an island retreat in Queensland. Sirenia Retreat is aimed at executives seeking an escape and creative types like writers wanting a productive and inspiring space to kick-start or complete their projects.

Now, being the true and dedicated professional I am, I will soon personally test the sun and sea and sunsets and the writing spaces at Sirenia.

I am blessed to make many writer friends around Australia and the world and they have been helping me with their input in what helps writers achieve their creative goals. The above photo of the typewriter and Hemingway quote is from a writer friend’s house and it inspired me to buy a vintage typewriter for Sirenia. (I’m loving this project!)

sirenia typewriter IMG_0947

When working on business projects and business writing projects, I usually remove myself from distractions and temptation (I get easily distracted and diverted) – but I am heartened by how Fleming combined work and enjoyment of the Golden Eye setting. I’m looking forward to testing the Fleming techniques at Sirenia soon.

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If you know of any interesting writing rituals please let me know. I’m also studying Hemingway’s rituals. He also often enjoyed seaside/island settings and would write in the morning and edit/improve in the afternoons.

#creativity – take advantage of happy accidents that seem to fit together

I Wanna Be Creative!

When you create something – I encourage you to take advantage of ‘happy accidents’ – mistakes you make that seem to fit together in an unexpected way.

Here’s an example of a ‘happy accident’ I’ll be using in a creative project. By happy accident I mean, as the urban dictionary describes it: when something unexpectedly good comes from what would otherwise be considered a mishap.

Here’s what happened.

cure other voices 1

I was learning to play the ominous bass line from an old song by The Cure called “Other Voices’ and I got the lyrics mixed up with a different song.

A line from ‘Other Voices’ refers to Christmas  (Come around at Christmas..I’d really like to see you) and by mistake I started singing a different line about Christmas from a very different Cure song called ‘Let’s go to Bed’.…’laughing at the Christmas lights…you remember from December’

cure let's go to bed TS_Mens_Black_The_Cure_Lets_Go_To_Bed_T_Shirt_from_Amplified_19_99_Print-617-662

Anyway, the wrong lyrics fitted well…

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Sunday morning #creativity lessons from The Velvet Underground’s ‘Sunday Morning’

I Wanna Be Creative!

Yes, it’s the dawning of a Sunday morning and I’m thinking about and writing about The Velvet Underground’s song “Sunday Morning” – the first cut on their first album released 50 years ago this year (2017).

velvet u sunday morning

Here are my early morning reflections on why this is such a good song and how songwriters can learn from it and borrow from it.

  1. It’s so distinctive –  because of the pretty celesta sound. According to my research here just happened to be a celesta in the studio where they recorded the cut and in their ‘experimental way’ the band decided to add the unusual instrument.
  2. The contrast between the ‘pretty’ celesta and the lyrics of ugly regret of wasted years.
  3. giving the listener space to draw their own conclusion and paint their own picture.

The way I hear and interpret the song it is:

The peaceful dawning of the Sunday morning to…

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Girls get together for a creative “crafternoon”

An earlier post inspired by the catchy name ‘crafternoon”! crafternoon delight!

I Wanna Be Creative!

Just caught up with a dear friend in Sydney and she had me in stitches – telling me about one of her latest joys – a crafternoon.

crafternoon

Apparently, a flamboyant and creative musician used this title to describe an afternoon of craft. In this case my friend and a bunch of her girlfriends get together an enjoy each other’s company as they do their own craft projects.

They drink and eat and talk and laugh and do their craft. (I’ll resist a joke about what cheese they eat.)

I personally love the name crafternoon – because as you know I love creative words and expressions. This word is a blend – combining two words that fit well together – one blends into the next – crafternoon.

I see from an internet search that the expression has been used before – but today was the first time I’d…

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#Fogography – why fog intrigues us

Do you love photography of fog? (#fogography).

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This morning, I’ve been enjoying Facebook friends posts of fog. Maybe it’s because in Queensland, fog seems to not be so common.  Maybe, I like fogography because the fog is ephemeral and will lift. (I wrote this post quickly to capture a moment – and it’s still foggy outside.

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The above shots are from different facebook friends. When I think about it, it’s the contrast of the light/s and the fog that makes these photos intriguing – for me anyway.

It reminds me of atmospheric foggy days in other countries – like seeing a saxophone player in New Orleans beneath ‘the halo of a street lamp’  in the fog.

I also love fog quotes – and this one I think sums up the appeal of fog and fogography.

fog-quotes-7

Music creativity – how you can create something fresh by using “contrast” and “connection”

I Wanna Be Creative!

You can be creative and create new and something  and interesting by combining existing things in fresh  and unusual ways.

The secret is to have both contrast and connection – surprising connections!

This is a great example I will share with my son in our next creativity session.

Two things that contrast and that should not go together are the old-fashioned and square nature of the BarberShop Quartet (sorry to all the Barber Shop Quartet fans out there – both of you J) and the laid-back looseness of Reggae.

Here is a great example of how Jimmy Fallon’s TV show brought together these two very different genres and yet “it works” (in my opinion) – the harmonies work well and the Barbershop jackets in Jamaican colours seem to work too.

What do you think?

Another great  and unusual creative combination is combining the reggae Dub style with Pink…

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#creativity – take advantage of happy accidents that seem to fit together

When you create something – I encourage you to take advantage of ‘happy accidents’ – mistakes you make that seem to fit together in an unexpected way.

Here’s an example of a ‘happy accident’ I’ll be using in a creative project. By happy accident I mean, as the urban dictionary describes it: when something unexpectedly good comes from what would otherwise be considered a mishap.

Here’s what happened.

cure other voices 1

I was learning to play the ominous bass line from an old song by The Cure called “Other Voices’ and I got the lyrics mixed up with a different song.

A line from ‘Other Voices’ refers to Christmas  (Come around at Christmas..I’d really like to see you) and by mistake I started singing a different line about Christmas from a very different Cure song called ‘Let’s go to Bed’.…’laughing at the Christmas lights…you remember from December’

cure let's go to bed TS_Mens_Black_The_Cure_Lets_Go_To_Bed_T_Shirt_from_Amplified_19_99_Print-617-662

Anyway, the wrong lyrics fitted well and the ominous bass line gave the “Let’s Go To Bed” lyrics a darker feel –  and so created something new.

So this mistake is ‘a keeper’ for this project celebrating the Cure in music and in art.

Cure show Slide1 copy

Does it matter if I mix things up a bit and sing the ‘wrong lyrics? Well, I don’t care if you don’t!