Monday, August 14

Perch on the wardrobe

I read today in the Ariel – the BBC’s in house weekly magazine – that creativity is still top of the agenda at the corporation. I’m pleased to know this as someone who has been called a Creative Producer. The article canvassed the views if some key people who gave their top tips for coming up with ideas. The creative tip which came up consistently was to get away from the desk and out of the building, and so here I am in St Martin’s church at Trafalgar Square.

Outside the church is a pneumatic drill pounding the living daylights out of a very resistant pavement. Inside the church there is a small number of miserable looking souls hunched in uncomfortable pews and one tourist in a floral shirt snapping pictures. Beats me why anyone should want to take pictures here, it’s so drab. Anyway, I chose this spot because I am using my laptop and it is conveniently dark - bright cheery locations tend wipe out everything but the faintest image.

By the way, I had in mind to prepare for a meeting I have tomorrow but as you can tell I’m easily distracted. Even on the way here I bumped into Peter, a former colleague and “the voice of BBC ONE”, and had a great conversation to stir the creative juices. Something about threatened specialist skills and automated announcements being used instead of real people. Daleks in dinner jackets reading the news.

Prior to taking up this position in the rear pew, I visited the National Gallery where I stumbled on a talk on Van Gough’s chair. The commentator explained that Van Gough had made some significant symbolic choices in painting the picture. Firstly, the angle of view was very steep – as if perched on top of a wardrobe! Perhaps he was? The chair itself was distorted. The painter had included a pipe which, according to tradition, symbolised death and a sprouting onion which symbolised life. The explanation given was that Van Gough wanted to get away from there merely earthly and fashion a symbolic view of himself which was emotional rather that rational.

And so here I am trying to reflect in the day’s business and come up with creative solution for tomorrow’s tricky meeting. If I am being told anything it is that the solution requires a combination of spiritual, emotional and rational approaches. Right now I am not sure what this means in practice. The best I can imagine is that the right kind of spaces need to be provided to allow for these requirements.

So firstly, a time of reflection (or even prayer) is required to provide for the mystery of creativity. Secondly that the emotions are engaged through the uninhibited interaction of human beings upon whose ideas we can build. And lastly that we engage in serious minded analysis to ensure that our ideas are practical and meet real needs.

These three “spaces” seem to make sense - the spiritual, the emotional and the practical. My guess is that they are rarely in balance and that the practical (and safe) argument for a particular course of action usually wins through.

So in conclusion, I shall perch on a near by wardrobe (or similar item of furniture) to view the problem and take it from there.


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The opinions expressed on this site are those of Mark Waddington and not his employer. If I have made any errors or published anything unfairly please bring it to my attention and I will make corrections if appropriate.