Arriving at Flow

So, after yesterday’s slightly ranty blog, I did as I said I would and tried a bit of painting. It’s probably been about 16/17 years since I last painted. So, I wasn’t holding out for anything spectacular. So, I went for it…….

I started to try and paint a still life, a vase with some Lily’s. A vase with some lily’s……aye, way to find yourself. Of course, it was a load of shite. I would post the evidence but it’s currently enjoying a short stint in the bin before gets a life sentence as in a dirty landfill!

I decided I should just do a quick sketch which I’d try and pull from my murky, defunct artistic brain, and started to sketch out a wee mountain range. That was always a go to thing I would draw. I love landscape, I love its emotion, its colour, it’s terrifying grandeur, and also how it inspires musical ideas……

That’s when the the Flow began. I was fully absorbed for a good 3/4 hours. It kind of found its own life on the page. Now, not that it’s any good. It’s technically fairly rough, my brush control and choice of Pallette aren’t as they might have been. However, it is a process that I think will help me achieve a way forward with life and music. Ultimately, I’m trying to harness a way to find Flow with my music again.

This may work……may not…….we’ll see.

Here’s it so far………

Peace oot creatures of this spinning baw!

Contemplation – The Art of Flow – What next?!?

I’m at a point where I’m wondering…..what next? I’ve had a year where I feel like I haven’t really achieved anything. I mean, things have happened, I’ve done some gigs, written a few tunes, released an album etc. But, this is everyday stuff now. As a musician, this part of what you do, your bricks and mortar. On some level these things propel you forward. You can also perceive it as going round in circles. I am lacking in a sense of achievement. A sense that I am learning, developing, moving forward linearly. It’s a funny sensation to describe. This want for …….well fuck knows. It’s not for want of reward, or award, or awards. The idea of achievement usually ends in the sense of reward. It’s just what that means that I’m deeply thinking on. Through the lack of work, collaboration, creative head butting (in a kind of electro pop soundtrack, pillows tied to the head, wearing superhero jammies, and dreaming of flying to the moon, kind of head butting), interaction with the new, the daunting, the unknown, I have reached a point of limbo. WHAT’S NEXT????

I’ve been listening to the Blindboy Podcast. Having watched many of the Rubber Bandits music videos, I expected the content to be none other than surreal and ridiculous. However, I was surprised by the depth and honesty in which he discusses Mental Health issues, creativity, culture, and how all these things interconnect. He discusses, over many podcasts, how he found his own creative path by finding a way to channel ‘Flow’. The art of ‘Flow’ is a concept recognised by the psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. The theory is that when you achieve a state of ‘Flow’ you achieve an optimal state of motivation and therefore, happiness. The art of Flow is being immersed in your creative calling. To produce creative work sub consciously, without self, without ego. The ability to removed thought from the process, and to just do. To engage in only what lies in front of you.

So, at the minute, as you can probably tell, I’m reading up about this creative process. This is my first step towards something unknown. Sometimes you trip up and land on something that you weren’t aware of before, it gives you a sense of positivity, a feeling of confidence, an idea that this “thing” may guide you towards the “thing” that you’re looking for. Its a stepping stone, or a falling apple. By no means, the final revelation. That perhaps is hypothetical anyway, the final pin point, the grand conclusion.

Superman, Supergirl, Superbeing of sorts, someone I’m sure most of us dreamed of being when we were kids. I remember the dreams you would have at a very young age where you flew like the man of steel. You could feel the wind rush against your face as you sped through the clouds. The feeling that you could really fly. That you could control the SuperYou of your dreams, from the takeoff to the landing. The feeling that you could do anything, or be anyone. I think this kind of regression is important when you arrive at your older self. To look back and feel those feelings again. To be able to remind yourself of the feeling of being at one with the ‘there and then’. It’s an essential part, I think, of finding Flow. As we get older we are burdened with many things that don’t exist when we are younger and care free. Life becomes more cluttered, more complex, ladened with responsibilities and irresponsibilities. It becomes hard to find a space, to find breath in the chaos of everyday life. As I’ve been reading about Positive Psychology, and the art of flow, and strangely, whilst writing this blog post, my mind has taken me back to high school. In particular, to my higher art classes. The cathartic experience of writing this blog has transported me back to the ‘me’ that used to love drawing and painting. Art was, at one time, another passion of mine. If I hadn’t jumped down this rabbit hole, the next one along would have been filled with brushes and paints, and probably an even smaller bank balance. However, I do remember, very clearly, when painting or drawing that I used to channel Flow. It wasn’t a state of mind that I would try to achieve. As soon as I began, it would be an automatic state of mind. It’s an amazing feeling when you’re transported back into the brain of your younger self. To feel, and smell what you experienced all those years ago. Anyway, the conclusion, I think, to one of my longest rambles, is that you should try and look back at what captivated you in a time when you had very few distractions. When Flow was a part of your everyday life. Whether it be playing the trumpet, painting a vase of flowers, running through the woods, or playing with toy cars. I intend on getting back into painting and spending more time outdoors, in the hills and the woods. With the the hope that this will lead me to find Flow and inspiration in my music. So do something that used to ignite your passion, something that will find you completely immersed in its experience. It will be good for your mind and soul. And perhaps, inspire you to leave the path that you’ve been wearing thin.

This is possibly a load of nonsense…… evidence of my lack of attention paid in higher English……….the ramblings of a lost soul…….or a sense of new found hope and inspiration ???????????!!!!!!!!


Bothy Culture!

Social media feed seems to be stuck on loop. Tapping me on the head reminding that I missed a night of joy, community, paying respect, and a hoor of a mighty bus ride home! Another great tribute to a man who could see into the future by looking into the past!

Day 1 – The Drawing of Three

You wake up and feel like it’s Beer O’clock, and you could go a meal that doesn’t involve a bowl and spoon! You know it’s going to be a LONG day ahead of you. You’ve got lots of stuff to catch up on, emails, stuff to learn, things to organise but inevitably you’ll do a circuit of Netflix, look at pish online, walk to the kitchen, look out the window, cower at the unfamiliarity and RPT, and RPT, and RPT. This will only be interrupted by the urge to nap. Which at all costs you battle, if only to avoid the nightmarish theatre that is playing the Hollywood version of ‘this is your life’ in your brain, 24/7. You’re surroundings are strange, you’re used to funny voices, things being back to front and upside down. The ups and downs of ‘the gig’ and you’re day revolving around performing grind to an immediate halt, leaving you feeling like someone’s pulled the plug on your life support. Like all of a sudden you’ve crossed back to the other side. Routine being the thing that holds that world, and your sanity in place. Glueing it together and scooping it up when it starts to dribble down the back of your neck. But you’re home, and things slowly morph back to what you know, and your senses gradually adjust back to the things that comfort you in this world! I will still hate fish, bananas and flip flops, in this world and the other! Peace, love and and a lack of understanding! Ali