Jez's Blog

The Strange Story of How I Found a New Band

A Salute to My Influences

Celebrating Our Differences

Daring to Use the Four-Letter Word

What Is The Real Olympian Spirit?

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

How an Artist in the Kitchen Revealed my Inner 'Foody'

Synchronicity - an Everyday Sort of Magic

Does This Make You Laugh?

The Magic of Storytelling

How Good Design Serves the User

Learning to Love Creative Blocks

Creating The CLUB

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?

Reflections on Learning and Teaching

The Third in my Triptych of Entries about Thought

Happily disconnected in Cornwall

The Best Way to Sell is to Do Something Well

Life is Good

Zen & the Art of Birdwatching

Creating The CLUB

It’s been three months since The CLUB was launched and I thought that now would be a good time to share with you a bit about how it started. When I began all I knew was that the material would be written for adults (not something I usually get to do much of) and that it would be positive in tone. I have always liked the idea of a publication which tells only good news and I realised that The CLUB was my chance to actually create one.


In a previous blog entry I mentioned that I had experienced a bit of the ‘get back in your box syndrome’ from some people when I’d mentioned my proposal to create The CLUB. This came in the form of responses such as ‘but you write for children, not adults’ and even worse: ‘who’s going to be interested in reading that?’ Comments such as these weren’t exactly encouraging, especially at a time when I didn’t really have much of a clue about what I was doing. To be honest I didn’t know what The CLUB wanted to be, I just knew that it did want to be!  There is a stage like this in most creative projects where the idea is still just a tender, vulnerable seed and it needs a degree of protection because the wrong sort of environment can kill it off. (Those of you who have read my book Some Dogs Do, in which Sid loses the belief that he can fly when his classmates ridicule him, may recognise this theme ).


Like most creative projects you only really find out about what it is you are creating by getting stuck in so it can start revealing to you what it wants to be. Writing about what inspires me was a starting point - I like the idea of inspiration being passed on and the British radio programme called Desert Island Discs, where guests get to choose eight favourite pieces of music to take with them on a desert island, is a perfect example of this. After choosing my own desert island discs for an article, I realised that I could write about other things which inspire me – such as comedy, books and films (coming soon).


When it came to blogs, I remembered an idea I’d had a couple of years earlier: I’d been starting up a blues band with my brother and as each challenging step of the journey unfolded it struck me as a good subject for a story. The possibility of writing a blog now gave me the perfect format for this story to appear in and so the first blog became The Jackals Journal.


But what a bout a personal blog? I knew that I didn’t want to produce just a diary of what I’ve been doing ( why would anyone be interested in that?) so I decided that I’d only ever write an entry if I felt had something of interest to say. But what is ‘of interest’ to you? Of course I don’t know that. All I can do is write what interests me and ‘put it out there’ in the hope that you might find it interesting too.


As the time came to actually build the site, each new piece of writing I came up with (features, poems, reviews) prompted a new set of questions which my editor and technical wizard, Matthew, and I struggled to answer. Where should each piece of writing go on the site? How do you navigate between them? Will the audience understand that if they haven’t read this first? As the months passed by, gradually all the questions found their answers and The CLUB was finally ready to launch.


CLUB Map july 11

Unlike a book which gets published when it is completed, a site like this is always a work in progress and so the launch is, in reality, simply the declaration of a starting point. Every new piece subsequently posted on the site adds to the cumulative effect - like brushstrokes which add different textures, tones and colour to a painting which ‘hangs’ in cyberspace. Since the launch three months ago over two hundred people have joined and this number is growing everyday. I now have maps on my studio wall covered in pins representing each and every one of you and it brings me great joy to see this dot to dot pattern of friends gradually spread across the globe. Membership is now reaching beyond America and the U.K. to other countries such as Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain and Thailand (hello Matana!) Now you have a taste of what was behind the creation of The CLUB you will understand how your joining means a lot to me and I’d like to thank you all for your vote of confidence in this project; without you, it wouldn’t exist.


29th July 2011

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