Jez's Blog

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Watching The Olympics Opening Ceremony

How Good Service Turned into a Speed Trip

Blurring the Line Between Fact and Fiction

How Creativity Keeps Moving On

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Synchronicity - an Everyday Sort of Magic

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How a Kiss Missed Its Target at a Posh Do

How Bob Dylan refused the Box labelled ‘Protest Singer’

The ‘Get Back in Your Box’ Syndrome

What’s all the fuss about?

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The Third in my Triptych of Entries about Thought

Happily disconnected in Cornwall

The Best Way to Sell is to Do Something Well

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Zen & the Art of Birdwatching

The ‘Get Back in Your Box’ Syndrome

I’m driving west to Cornwall and as usual, music is helping the monotony of the long journey pass more easily. I’m listening to songs which a friend of mine has written and recorded for a musical he’s been working on for the last few years. He gave me the CD last Sunday during a walk in the park; we’d ended up sitting outside a hilltop café in the rain, huddled under umbrellas with our tea and scones, overlooking a misty panorama of the Surrey hills.


My friend is in a transition period; over thirty years ago he started the original Beatles tribute band and he’s been managing and touring with them ever since. This has been a real success story; they began with rare gigs and audiences you could count on your fingers and toes and now they play all over the world to crowds sometimes in their thousands (the last time I saw them it was at a packed Albert Hall in London). But like all artists, my friend doesn’t want to be tied down to one artistic endeavour, however successful it may be. A few years ago the idea for this musical came to him and as he described the challenges he’d faced getting it off the ground, we talked about what you might call the ‘get back in your box’ syndrome. This refers to how some people like to put other people in boxes with clearly marked labels on them saying  ‘this is what you are, this is what you do.’ (I experienced some of this attitude when I was starting up The CLUB). But of course human beings are far too complicated and wonderfully diverse to conform to such labels. There have been a few cases recently of artists, who are famous in one field, branching out successfully into others disciplines: we have actors who sing  (Gwyneth Paltrow and Hugh Laurie) comedians who act (Russell Brand) actors who write (Ethan Hawke, Emma Thompson) and so on.


Artists have an inbuilt impulse to go on growing and developing, which takes them into uncharted territory. Artists are compelled to ‘follow the Moose wherever it takes them (my wife, who is Danish came up with the phrase by mispronouncing the word ‘muse’). A great example of this is Picasso: he had so many different styles during his life time that if you look at books of his work it’s like encountering ten totally different artists. I recently saw an article about the great man during the last years of his life; he was living in the south of France and still painting furiously in his nineties (a typical day found him working on about seven paintings - many of them of his latest young wife!) Apparently the art critics had dismissed him as an eccentric old man who was past his prime and no longer producing anything of any artistic value. After his death in 1973 those series of paintings were recognised as being masterpieces which opened up whole new areas in modern art. I love the fact that he was doing this just before his death.


Late Picassos


So if you have a dream or a vision, never let anyone tell you that you can’t make it a reality. Here’s to ‘Following the Moose’ wherever it takes you and to my friend’s wonderful musical; who knows, maybe one day you may get the chance to see it for yourselves!


11th June 2011


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