Thursday, 17 November 2011

Room to fail

Time to play
Inspired by an article by Heather Peace in today's Guardian entitled, "No more can a detective sing," this is really an ode to the creative mind and hard work.

Her discourse is around the reasons why the BBC are unwilling to re-run The Singing Detective to celebrate its 25th anniversary, and the state of the BBC today. The bit that really got me thinking was the idea of giving writers time to be nurtured. And time to do a lot of work. She writes, "Writers are not born brilliant; they need to learn their craft by doing it, the same as any other artist or worker. New writers need room to fail." And she goes on, "Potter himself required years of writing Plays for Today – when he was permitted to explore and offend in the name of art and free speech – to develop the skills which enabled him to create The Singing Detective. Without those early hits and misses, he would never have risen to such heights."

So along with creativity and imagination, the other ingredient for great work is prolificness. I am always struck by how the greatest artists are often the ones who do the most. Ok there are a few exceptions, but just think of Picasso's relentless productivity and David Hockney's constant excitement about new and different ways to 'paint'. I can't wait for his Royal Academy exhibition in January with huge canvasses as well as iPad drawings.

It is so vitally important to give people the space and time to think, explore, mess around - and indeed in the great words of the goddess Nike, "Just do it." This is what we risk in these days of cuts, efficiencies, league tables and unemployed youngsters.

I was minded of a link between the BBC's nurturing of new writers being on 'the brink of extinction' and the genius of Picasso - the Attenborough brothers. Two great influencers and leaders of our time. Peace says in her article on the demise of single dramas and new writing,"David Attenborough wouldn't have let that happen when he was a controller."And just stare in jaw-dropping amazement at what he's inspired in The Frozen Planet. Richard, not only impressed his talent and leadership on the film industry but has also created an astonishing collection of Picasso ceramics started with a piece he bought in 1954 for £3. And they're from Leicester. Like me.

Let's hear it for those who value the creative spirit and allow themselves and their fellow playmates the time and failures to succeed.