Wednesday 17 April 2013, 12:00 | By

Greg Says: Disorder – The art of making stuff up

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Radio. Live Transmission… So today, in my first post proper, I’m going type at you about creation – the pastime of creativity. What the heck is it? What good does it do, if any? And, more importantly, how is it going to make me my millions and buy me a mansion on a tropical island not found on any map – populated by just me, a Scrabble board and a harem of Amazonian super models who think I’m the best thing since sliced bread?

I ask for little.

The above is nothing but fantasy plucked from nothing. A pretentious way of saying ‘I made it up’ because that is what all this creativity-thingy is when it’s broken apart – the conversion of thoughts to things. It begins with an idea appearing in our head – these can come in any flavour (political, emotional, philosophical…Thunderbirds) – the idea then undergoes a chemical reaction with what your personality brings to the party, and this gives you something you combine with a skill set to recite, paint, compose or commit your message to print.

This is something we all do. Every time we retell an interesting incident to a friend; we edit, exaggerate and adapt the anecdote for an effect – this is creation. Easy as that. To take that habit into a hobby or career involves an understanding of why each element has the effect it does; and this is something I think on a lot – especially in relation to my own writing.

Creativity will be the thrust of this ongoing blog, with me saying why I think it matters. For now I’m going to introduce my process and what I use to help motivate me to write this entry.

I usually start by selecting some accompanying music. Set me in the right frame of mood – line it up properly, depending on whatever I’m working on. Today I need a compound of velocity and industry. Today, I need Joy Division.

(WHO???? – Really? 80’s Manchester band that same from the aftershock of punk. Prequel to New Order. All hyper-gloom and mood-atmosphere. Not advisable to be sampled at three in the morning… on your own… in a darkened room… after four cans. Read up more on Wikipedia. Watch the film Control. Then load up YouTube and fire on ‘Transmission’ – an audio voyage of going to a party, not knowing anyone bar the people you went with, and slowly tune your head into the tempo of the gathering And I challenge anyone to find a more human and honest example of art about love separating than ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart... Maybe ‘Maps’ by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs…)

I write with ‘Disorder’, a track that is less of a song, and more like the sound you would hear produce from the TARDIS’s engine ripping up warp space, sun waves and nebula storms. That vwarp chord reverberates like a cosmic pulse. It is never ‘just’ music. That is my soundscape.

Now I’d like to speak about the why of creativity. What does it bring? To paraphrase all-knowing story guru Robert McKee; he believes that all ideas, ever, can be broken down into four main categories: political, scientific, philosophical and finally – artistic/creative.

The currency of political ideas have taken a bit of a battering in the last fifty years with everything from Watergate to MP’s expenses leading the majority of us tot not believe in the people that make decisions supposedly in the interest of the population they serve.

Science, as wonderful as it is, really is something that is defined by rigorous testing, facts, laws, atoms and has little room for interpretation. There is a blend of science and creative inspiration in theories, such as quantum mechanics and parallel universe, but this cannot be proved under the conditions set by the scientific method.

Again, philosophy is an interesting subject to study, but has little relevance to the immediacy.

So, we are left with art. Creation. I think people respond to it far better than the other three registers because of two things, 1) form and content can communicate many themes in interesting ways, and 2)} the audience can relate, empathise and feel with the art – and each reaction is individual.

Art can communicate emotion succinctly in ways that transcend language and images alone on a huge scale. The simplest way to explain this is to ask to you to try and describe something like ‘guilt’ or ‘love’. Both are abstracts and difficult to accurately describe in terms of their effects – but I could say ‘love’ to you and somehow you will know what I’m talking about; a warm, uplifting, sometimes overwhelming feeling that seems already hardwired into our human programming. We communicate ourselves through our culture – favourite songs, films and books. That is art; communication, reflection and communion.


Many people have been instrumental in the development of Creative Skills For Life, but there is one very special young man who shared our vision and passion from the outset. Greg Wilford described himself as “a writer who will put pen to paper for ANY reason” adding that “the key to good writing is crude humour and the excessive use of bad language”. Sadly Greg has now passed, but his spirit is part of CSL’s DNA and he remains an inspirational driving force for the CSL team.