It's the season of party conferences here the UK. In the wake of Lehman, and almost by default, politicians of all colours like to call for a rebalancing of the UK economy towards manufacturing. Making things seems, prima facie, a common sense way to help revive the nation. But what if how we think of our history is wrong?
I've never understood how spending your precious time stacking icons of fruits on top of each other does much good for the world. Nor how, instead of watching live music, it is better to watch it through your phone screen, desperately trying to film it over the shoulder of the person in front of you.
Working environments have become more pressurised. With obtaining and retaining business now incredibly competitive, clients are becoming ever more demanding for their cash. However increased workloads in conjunction with reduced response times (further exacerbated since e-mail went mobile) means that employees are rarely given the necessary freedom to produce their best work. Overall, whilst the advertising industry naturally holds innovation and creativity as paramount importance, client pressures typically prevent such a culture from being entrenched into working life, and is instead an all too often an unfamiliar luxury. But what's being done and how can we all make room to be more creative?
It's wonderful to have a collaborator. Sometimes as a musician, or writer, you spend hours at home alone just working on idea after idea, you never really know what's working, you don't know what's good, bad, or just plain terrible. And, I suppose that's why getting those ideas out in front of another human being can be so scary.
This week's Catching the Comet's Tail features musician, artist, and all-round creative maverick Amanda Palmer who is currently touring Europe with her band Grand Theft Orchestra. You may know Amanda from her inspiring TED talk on The Art of Asking and if you want to hear a song about relationships that will bring you to your knees, check out The Bed Song.
Technology has a lot levelled at its robotic feet. Well, scratch below the headlines and you'll find that a) you'd be hard-pressed to avoid technology given that pretty much anything man-made counts as tech and b) there are oodles and oodles of examples of apps, games, websites and hardware helping kids to channel and explore their creativity.