Category Archives: Art

John Cleese On Creativity


John Cleese on Creativity:

You need to study creativity in order to become creative. It isn’t innate, it’s learned. Studying creativity is quite fascinating. The sort of childhood you had could impact creativity somewhat because creativity is about returning to a state of openness to ideas without judgement…..

What Creativity Isn’t: It is not a talent. It is a way of operating. Creativity is not related to IQ in the McKinnon research from the University of Sussex. Those who were regarded as most creative were not necessarily the most intelligent…. Creative people are able to get themselves into a specific mood; a mood that is open to play and be child like with ideas. Getting someone to be creative is about getting people to return to kintergarden……

focus stateThe closed mode: we are often in the closed mode. The feeling that lots has to be done, you are slightly anxious, it’s the mode of impatience, there is tension and purposefulness in this mode. It is a mode of stress, but NOT a creative mode. You get your deliverables completed during the closed mode.

TDiffuse versus Focusedhe open mode: relaxed, expansive, less purposeful, more inclined to humour, more playful. A mood in which curiousity is more interesting. Alexander Fleming who invented penasilin discovered it in the open mode. All moments of genius are in the open mode. If he had seen the dish without any culture in it while in the closed mode that uncultured dish would be deemed irrelevant HOWEVER in the open mode, Fleming was able to discover something that changed human development….

Focus mode v Difuse mode
Alfred Hitchcock would stop working when he had writers block & tell a random story from his childhood in order to overcome that dastardly writers block. We need to be in the open mode when we are pondering BUT once we have the idea, we need to return to the closed mode to make it real.

Once we have taken a decision, we should execute the task, then we need to return to the open mode to review the success of that task. So we need to be able to switch back between the two modes, in order to maximise our creative capacity.

Tunnel Vision: The problem is we are trapped in the closed mode in our lives. Creativity is not possible in the closed mode which is why so many politicians are truly problematic because they are obsessed with the closed mode of thought and not willing to explore the open mode under pressure.

Getting Into The Open Mode: You need five things:

Space for the Open Mode(1) Space: you can become playful if you are under your usual pressures but only in a quiet room. You need to create space for yourself and sealing yourself off from distractions. Meditation is an excellent means of shifting onto the open mode. You need an oasis of quiet through boundaries of space and….time.

Close up of a stopwatch

(2) Time: you need have a specific period of time to play in. It must have a begining and end point. You need to know that your time is set for a specific period, it’s only when you have a specific time that you can then close yourself off for play.  Play is distinct from ordinary life. You need to have a limited point of play otherwise it is no longer play.

Space:Time Oasis(3a) Space/Time Oasis: Getting 1.5 hours of the open mode will help you acquire creative ideas. After 1.5 hours, you will need a break from the creative mode anyway…..

(3b) How To Use The Oasis: why do you still need time? Cleese had a colleauge in Monty Python who rarely came up with anything more creative than Cleese (Terry Jones?), this fellow when faced with a problem would rush to a solution when it arose, he would always take the easy solution immediately rather than hack at it further to find an original solution. Meanwhile, John Cleese would sit there for the extra hour or two and come up with something more original, Cleese was more creative than his Monty Python colleague because he invested in the Space/Time Oasis.

(3c) Developing Negative Capability: It’s this discomfort with uncertainty that returns you to the closed mode as you are exploring the oasis. Keats coined the term but Cleese is talking about the Negative Capability mindset. It’s okay to not have the answer immediately, and it’s okay to wait for a 3rd or 4th solution before returning to the closed mode. Uncertainty is a good thing believe it or not…

Perfection on a Pedestal(4) Confidence: Nothing will stop you from being creative more immediately than a fear of making a mistake. Accept that you will make mistakes. British culture is steeped in an obsession with the closed mode and a deep fear of making mistakes which explains why Britain is overoptimised towards none creative innovation (financial sector in particular). Being perfect is placed on a pedestal and as a result, creativity is crushed. You should not be focused on being perfect but rather be open to health striving. You MUST be spontaneous, silly and illogical in the open mode. The best way to get confidence is to accept that there is NO SUCH THING as a mistake.

Laughing & Humour Mode(5) Humour: the quickest way from the closed mode to the open mode. The truth is that really original ideas were needed but that humour was taboo and the subject was too serious. The difference between seriousness and solemness. Humour makes a funeral more fun. Solemness makes people feel bigger. Humour is essential for serious problems.

Keep your mind leaning on an idea and suddenly you will be rewarded randomly while eating, showering or those moments of relaxation (but you need to put in the pondering time):

Avoid Distractions: it is easier to do trivial things that we know we can do than to do difficult things that we aren’t sure about. You need to quiet your mind in time.

The Japanese Use Groups Creatively: Japanese meetings are completely not structured and they have found a way to plan an unstructuredness. It’s easier to be creative if you have a group to work with. Never say no! or wrong, never be negative, never kill an idea. No is illegal in this discussion.

Humour: the joke occurs when you connect two frameworks that intersect in an amusing way. The moment of contact between two ideas triggers humour.

Ideas Are About Connecting Two Seperate Ideas: you can connect toasters and democracy. But it won’t be GOOD unless there is something meaningful about their new combination. You can produce juxtaposition which is used heavily in satire for example. Lateral thinking is about loosening up these connections. You need to develop intermediate impossibles in your thinking; “what if the sky was a hat?”….”how big is the blue hat market?”  Ultimately, when you are playing, nothing is wrong. Start generating random connections until you find something interesting.

How to stamp out creativity in your teamHow To Stamp Out Creativity In Your Team:

  • Allow No Humour: treat humour are subversive, blame humour for the resistance.
  • Keep Yourself Irreplaceable: always undermine their confidence, use your authority to focus on the negative, only criticise. Praise makes people uppity.
  • Keep ’em Busy: never allow employees any thinking time. Demand urgency, use war analogies, and keep that mode closed!

Is Star Wars Battlefront More Entertaining Than Any Of The Films?

Box Office versus XBox

The real story is the future revenue for Star War Battlefront. Dice Games has produced what appears to be a first person game that combines topnotch graphics and spectacular but violent game play with a global brand that’s about to release a highly anticipated film in 2015. We know that video games are already much more lucrative than film as of 2009. Movies are a 30 Billion dollar industry while Video Games at a 70 Billion dollar industry. Isn’t it more entertaining to be part of the story rather than passively watching a film? I believe that the film will make 1.5 Billion but this video game could make much more….and as a proxy, I use revenue to mark the entertainment value of a content. Therefeore Battlefront, quite possibly, will be more entertaining than any of the films.

video game report

Why The Next Spielberg Should Explore Video Games As An Avenue for Story Telling

  1. people like to feel part of the story;
  2. more money: you can’t easily pirate a video game whereas film is easy to pirate, they are easier to access than a movie theatre;
  3. no actor egos to sooth;


Total Star Wars Franchise Revenue$27,000,000,000
Star Wars : Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace$924,317,558
Star Wars : Episode 2 – Attack of the Clones$649,398,328
Star Wars : Episode 3 – Revenge of the Sith$848,754,768
Star Wars : Episode 4 – A New Hope$775,398,007
Star Wars : Episode 5 – Empire Strikes Back$538,375,067
Star Wars : Episode 6 – Return of the Jedi$475,106,177
Star Wars : The Clone Wars$68,282,844
Total Box Office Revenue$4,277,000,000
DVD Sales$2,900,000,000
DVD Rentals$875,000,000
Kenner (1978-1985) 90 Figures / 300 Million Sold3,850,000,000
Hasbro (1995-2011) 15 Collections5,537,000,000
Other Collectables2,720,000,000
358 Published Titles / 76 Different Authors$1,820,000,000
Video Games
130 Games Released$2,900.000,000
Other Sources
Television / 4 Seasons of Clone Wars$4,500,000
Related Star Wars StatisticsData
George Lucas’ Net Worth$3.6 Billion
Random House sales from the first book release of Star Wars$200 Million
Revenue last year from games and toys$1.5 Billion

Global War & Video Games:

Dice Games is responsible for the video game above. It looks as though game developers are pushing the boundaries further with war gaming and with highly entertaining effects. Although war is not supposed to be taken lightly, games like this do aclimate players to violence which could be helpful in an alien invasion or an unfortunate proxy drone war between competting world powers. Certainly land invasions that are piloted by people sitting in their pijamas is on the horizon in our near future as a species. I hope to not be a civilian victim of a drone attack in my lifetime though, so lets work on world peace people! Interesting that Dice is Swedish.

Kung Fury Proof That Low Budget Can Equal High Quality (no more excuses for the creative elite)

Kung Fury is a visual feast for the eyes. Built by Swedish based Laser Unicorns, the 30 minute feature is quite possibly the most entertaining action satire since Kill Bill. It’s impressive what can be done with the right post-production effects….This film proves that good visual effects are now within the reach of modestly financed organisations. There is a diminishing viability of the  excuse that your creative ideas cannot be realised because of technology constraints and therefore bringing your effects into reality is more feasible than ever before. The only constraint is time and the limits of your imagination.

SimFarm: How to learn best?

There are so many things that can be learned from playing SimFarm. The value of money, planning etc. The game is not dogmatic either, it doesn’t tell the player how to best go about planning out a farm. But I wonder if that freedom allows those kids to discover how best to build a farm. Since the game does not provide competitors to directly copy from, players do not realise that they can squeeze in another crop of oranges if they time it right, for example. I would think a tutorial on how to build the best farm would have been helpful or at least some computer generate competitors in order to provide context and reference points….

Cut Out Of Big Ben For The Crafty Mind

This Is A Cut Out Of Big Ben

Here is a really fun print-able cut out of Big Ben that kids will love as well as creative people of all ages. It’s a compact version but with a colour ink or jet printer at the highest quality, an A4 sized piece of paper, some scotch tape and scissors you can be the proud owner of a model of Big Ben. Big Ben is certainly a symbol of London, Britain and maybe democracy as well. And it’s really easy to make!!

Download MeOR print the following out. 

The Big Ben Paper Pop Up

Share this Cut Out Big Ben On Your Site

After some playing around, patience and about 15 minutes of time, you’ll have built your very own Big Ben. It’s pretty much all you will need. The final product should look something like the following:

Free To Share This Big Ben Cut Out

Good luck!

Try a paper cut out of the Eiffel Tower.

Top 15.5 Monty Python Sketches Of All Time

The Best Monty Python Sketches

You really should play all these sketches below at the same time ;-P The following are the best Monty Python of all time….Curated by a team of monkeys we found behind the Apple Store at Regents Street, London. What makes these sketches so special? Well, they are the most viewed Monty Python sketches on youtube and these are the sketches (probably) that even the novice fan should be familiar with. The rest of the sketches not included are either formula derived or unfunny/dated. Enjoy!

Monty Python will be doing their London live show this summer so there is ample reason for a post about their revolutionary contribution to British & world humour.

Spanish Inquisition Sketch

Basically a commentary on the absurdity of humanity but then twisted an additional right angle to really be a gag about presentation, pomp and surprising entrances.

The Argument Sketch

A unique business model that never took off. Do arguments have to abide by logic or are they contradictions? An argument is a definite set of premises to position a conclusion. So there is an educational value in this sketch as are many arguments and…Monty Python sketches for that matter….

The Spam Sketch

The float in at the opening is quite strange. …he idea that an ingredient could be listed in a dish multiple times for comic effect was certainly innovative and original in the English language (we can’t assume that this hasn’t occurred in other languages). Likely the inspiration for the Hamburger sketch on SNL, the Spam sketch emphasizes the strangeness of spam as a food group of its own.

I have no idea what this is other then it is very English.

The Ministry of Silly Walks Sketch

This is perhaps created to emphasize the absurdity of bureaucracy and the intellectual hobbits that comprise most government departments. It’s mostly silly however and visually strange. The point being that government grants are wasted sometimes. Or no point really at all. Who knows.

The Philosophy’s Football Sketch

Clearly demonstrating that philosophers aren’t really interested in understanding reality as much as they are interested in hearing themselves think. They don’t really interact with the ball until Socrates scores as you can see. Also reiterates that Greece and Germany have produced the world’s most important thinkers.

The Philosopher’s Song

A live performance in Hollywood. Kinda of fun.

Election Night Sketch

Probably makes the point best that politics is not particularly interesting in the 20th century. The talking heads are also funny. The process for declaring a winner in British elections is rather novel relative to other common wealth countries such as Canada. The differences between British and Canadian elections is worth a further post in 2015….

Upper Class Twit of the Year

A commentary on twits who are often upper class or acquired their wealth prior to their being born (inherited). Not an easy problem to solve considering that some upper class twits are useful because they have capital. What is a twit? The most plausible example is those who suffer from the Dunning Kruger effect.

The Lumberjack Song

Perhaps a commentary on how we as human beings tend to mis-allocate ourselves in the wrong profession etc. It’s also about British Columbia and the vastness of Canada which at the time had a population of 23 million people which is roughly half of Britain at the time. Also is about the idea of of gender expectations in an era before that was appropriate.

Hell’s Grannies Sketch

You wouldn’t expect grannies to be a problem but there you have it. Bolton’s grannies are funny because they play with the idea of what should be expected of grandmothers. Perhaps this stereotype of the quaint old granny will change in the future. Making this sketch less amusing.

The Silly Olympics

The olympic games are completely absurd. Period.

The Dead Parrot Sketch

The classic complaint sketch. The sneaky sales man, the strange customer; the resting bird. There is a morbid element to this sketch but generally, it’s just really really strange.

The Self-Defence Class Sketch

This is a commentary on bad teachers / corporal instructors who clearly suck at their jobs. It’s also about military stupidity which channels immense energy and concentration. This class seems to have taken a turn for the worse when the instructor starts killing his students.

The Travel Agent Sketch

Selling people travel was something done in the 20th century in a face to face interaction. Rather absurd today. This client appears to rather ramble on and on to the irritation.

Nudge Nudge Wink Wink Sketch

This sketch is about the prudishness of British culture. The perverted questionary just kinds of pursues a line of questioning that is funny. Perhaps is funny how we as human beings tend to take I minds in the direction we really want to take them no matter what the conversation….

Monument Valley Game – Meditative App for iPad

Monument Valley is highly engagingMuch like Myst circa the 90s, Monument Valley takes your through puzzles in a whimsical journey through a kind of visual forest. It’s kinda of relaxing but also challenges your brain to solve problems in a logical process. All of which is overlayed with a visually stunning interface. The music cadences accompany you as you play, like casino c-major, but in a Deepak Chopra aesthetic. I highly recommend getting this game on iPad.

This game is basically a form of meditation after a hard day at the office. I have found my productivity improves and that I have more restful sleeps after playing this game. Here are more visual examples of Monument Valley:

This App is Meditative Monument Valley

Amazing Video Game Monument Valley