Jug & Snail - a quick diversion into creativity

I’m working on a new album, which very few people will listen to. I’m not being intentionally obscure with my music, I’m just doing what feels right and hoping that someone, other than me will like it. So far, the number of people who like what I’m doing is small but steadily growing. That’s fine with me.

Creativity is a funny thing though. When I was very young, at school I was given a maths question. “Make up 25 pence from a variety of coins.” Despite knowing that the only coins available were the 50p, 10p, 5p, 2p, 1p and (now defunct) 1/2p I gave the following answer. “One 7p, one 8p one 4p and one 6p.”

I can still remember the befuddled look on the teacher’s face. This was not, she tried to explain, an answer that worked. I understood that she believed me to be stupid, or wilfully difficult and since I knew I wasn’t being the latter and didn’t believe I was the former, this moment became something of a watershed at school.

In a project around the same time we were asked to create pub signs. My classmates made paintings of ‘The White Horse’, ‘The Kings Arms’, ‘The Red Lion’. I made a sign for ‘The Jug & Snail.’ Again, more befuddled looks. Quite a number of my classmates explained that you couldn’t have a pub called ‘The Jug and Snail’ because (and I’ve heard variations of this argument many times since) “you just can’t.”

Don’t get me wrong. I have given many stupid answers to questions out of sheer ignorance or lazy thinking. But a healthy dose of surrealism and a shaking up of expectations is a wonderful thing. My daughter was asked, at her nursery, what she wanted to be when she grew up. She said, “Snow White. And when I’m older, Tinkerbell.” On their form the nursery staff wrote down, ‘Ballerina.’ I don't think this will bother her.


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