Inspiration is Everywhere! 



Is it? In this blog I will aim to show that for me, there is no such thing as writer’s block and that inspiration is truly an everywhere, all the time, 25/7 happening thing!

Anyone, at anytime and anywhere, can be inspired by poetry, rhythm, feelings, stories, the best or the worst film you’ve ever seen, your mum’s cooking, an exhibition, someone else’s music, a mistake, a little white lie, a stream of consciousness, dreams, the title of a book you’ve never read, pretending to be someone else, pretending to be yourself, overheard conversations, black and white pictures, fears, loves and passions, teddy bears, the news, events, the state of the nation, catastrophe, triumph… you get the idea!

bulb2For over 20 years, I’ve been exploring a plethora of songwriting & production tools, sonic springboards and creativity exponentiators and in this blog I plan to share some of them with you through real life stories, experiments and other inner & outer body experiences. Please feel free to apply any of these tools liberally to your songwriting and music making adventures!

I’ll also be including a musical morsel in each post with a rundown on how it was made!

And who am I? I am first and foremost a singer songwriter and loop artist. As a full time musician, I’ve been professionally in love with my work all my working life! In that time, I’ve released records with some major labels including EMI, Atlantic & Giant, I’ve written for artists such as Michael Jackson (more details in a later post!), Dusty Springfield & Color Me Badd and performed at some great venues and events including Wembley Arena, UK and Montreux Jazz Festival ’95, Switzerland.

Getting an ever expanding creative ‘waistline’ is an important focus for me. I’m not a believer in writer’s block. In fact, it doesn’t exist for me. It used to. I remember those days, weeks, months in the epicentre of a solitary barren wasteland, a life of perpetual winter with a blank sheet of A4 and Bic biro to keep me warm! Coldness!

NYSo how did I escape? With a songwriting trip to New York of course!

While I was there, I stayed with a singer songwriter friend of mine, Michelle Lewis. At the time, she was a member of this outfit called Big Panty, a group of women whose sole aim was to make music purely for the fun of it (a strange and alien concept in the music industry of the mid 90s).

I loved the idea of it and I was desperate to try it. She rustled up some of her friends for a jam with no expectation, no aim but to have a laugh. Hopefully.

Well, we assembled in this small, dusty downtown rehearsal room with a beaten Yamaha drum kit, some crofty SM57 mics, a Fender Twin and the classic dingy lights & carpet-on-the-walls feel. There was me with my guitar; Michelle with her keyboard; Erika, a poet (from Big Panty) with her metal plate and magnetic poetry and an actor friend of Michelle’s named Mark who could play drums.

First we imagined we were some 60s band who were making a comeback. Then someone had the bright idea to switch instruments after every ‘song’ we wrote, which made us all play instruments we weren’t familiar with: that’s when it started to get interesting…

We wrote about anything we wanted, unbound by the strait jacket of the charts! In what seemed like 2 minutes later (which was actually 2 hours), we had written about 15 songs with unforgettable titles like ‘There’s A Sausage in the Middle of the Road’!

geoffrey1I tell you, I can’t remember laughing so much while making music. Tears rolled down my face like a monsoon – some of the the best fun I’ve ever had!

The day after, I couldn’t stop the ideas pouring out of me! For at least 3 months after, the deluge of ideas didn’t stop – they would sometimes drag me out of my sleep in the deepest part of the night. That was the chink in the armour of writer’s block and since then, I’ve felt free to explore without boundary, the good, the bad and the ugly.

The Big Panty experiment gave me permission not to take myself and what I do too seriously, that foolishness and pure nonsense really help to unlock my creativity!

And with my creativity on the loose, I have been able to explore, delve and open myself to inspiration everywhere, no longer afraid of all those crap ideas… they are really just compost for the great ideas to grow in!

So, on that gardening analogy note, here is an experiment with the Roland RC 505 called ‘Compost’!