City of Sound is about cities, design, architecture, music, media, politics and more. Written by Dan Hill since 2001.

Worth a good claret

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Some insights in an article in today’s Observer on inspiration (led there via Rob Annable’s mobile phone). Leaving aside the hefty preamble there’s a few snippets I found interesting. Predictably, I enjoyed contributions from Will Alsop and Steve Reich:

“Inspiration cannot be relied on and it certainly cannot be waited for. Those who announce that they are sitting and waiting for some imagined thunderbolt to arrive as if from nowhere are deluding themselves and us of their capability and talent. Inspiration or insight, for me, comes from working. Admittedly this can take the form of staring at a blank page for hours, but more often it occurs because I am adding noise to the system. Noise takes the form of making marks, often not understood, with paint, print or anything close to hand in order to exercise the imagination. My work does not start with logic as this can be acquired later; it comes from desire. When there is sufficient noise in the system, I can sometimes walk through the space in a dream. I do not believe in creativity – it sounds too close to God – but I do in inspiration. It is a wonderful feeling and worth celebrating with a good claret.” [Will Alsop]

“The more hours I put in sitting in front of the piano or the computer actually trying to compose, the more inspiration occurs. It rarely happens unless I’m actually hearing the sounds I am working on. It’s the sounds themselves, the chords, the harmonic progressions that inspire me. And when I come up with a great one, then the inspiration leaps out at me. I agree with Thomas Edison: he said it’s 99 per cent perspiration and 1 per cent inspiration. Basically if you put in the time focusing on your work, there’s a chance inspiration will strike.” [Steve Reich]

It’s like a bumper Rodcorp ‘How We Work’ session.

The Observer: Divine Inspiration


3 responses to “Worth a good claret”

  1. John Maxwell Hobbs Avatar

    Very nice choice. The Alsop and particularly the Reich comments reflect what I was after with my Daily Ambience project – trying to take the preciousness out of the creative process. It’s much easier to capture inspiration when it comes if you are creating regularly.


  2. L. Avatar

    Did you notice that there was not a single scientist amongst the people interviewed? Not particularly creative thinking about who to interview!


  3. Matthew Whitfield Avatar

    Will Alsop makes some potentially, or, rather, superficially interetsting points in what was admittedly a sketchy vox pop piece. I find myself moving with Alsop towards a curious relationship of mortal to his God. Which is to say, I want to believe in him, in what he says, beause it all sounds so plausible and arresting. But then that image he creates – of the random movement of thought across paper, of the claret – quickly degenerates in my mind into that of a slightly pissed man sloshing around some paint and making no sense whatsoever. But that it were true, that the sheer act of work were enough to produce the goods. I want to believe in that, and in him, but when I search my soul I know that it feels unsettled; not true. Oh Will, why have you forsaken me?


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