Where do ideas come from?

I wrote ages ago about Trevor Beattie’s theory that great ideas are like a £50 note on the floor in the pub. Anyone could spot it and pick it up, but to be the one that does, you have to keep your eyes open. I was reminded of this on listening to Noel Gallagher on last week’s Desert Island Discs. Talking about the creative process for writing songs he said, “I think if I spend too much time thinking about it I’ll take away all the magic. I still believe there’s someone up there and they’re just dropping songs all over the place and if I’m not ready to catch them, Chris Martin’s getting them or Bono’s getting them.”

I’ve always loved the thought of ideas being out there in the universe and being able to ‘tune into’ them – through talent, hard work, practice, experience or whatever. And I also love the idea that once you get into that groove, once you’ve tapped into the right frequency, the ideas will come and keep on coming. Noel Gallagher touched on this too, saying, “When we started that band, for two years we were rubbish. The songs I was writing weren’t great. Until one day I wrote a song called Live Forever and it all changed. And then I wrote another three the next week that were on the first album.” The thought that all the songs he wrote were rubbish for years and then, suddenly, in a very short burst, he wrote one of the greatest songs of all time and three more that all went onto be on one of the best-selling British albums ever, is fascinating. What if he gave up writing before he did Live Forever? What if there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of songwriters who had a Live Forever within them, but did give up before they got there? It’s a sobering thought but the fact is that ideas are out there. Just reach out and grab them before Noel Gallagher does.

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About antmelder
Creative Partner at DDB Sydney; passionate vegetarian; lover of books, boxing and Bruce Springsteen.

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