The only way to win…

It’s my birthday today. Any excuse for reflection, you know me. It’s been a pretty good year career-wise, really, but I have higher hopes for 2017.


My installation ‘Dance with me’ is now live at the Lowry in Salford, and you can go and check out my little dark temple of dance (a room of LED panels, thermals and audio) alongside work by three proper artists, until the end of February. This is quite a Big Deal for me. I mean, seriously – to the point where it’s unlikely I’ll go much further in my art career. The Lowry is a major international gallery; the three other artists are actually famous – one of them is a Turner Prize nominee. The show is loosely themed around the work of Rambert, the UK’s leading dance company. In terms of art gigs, the only way is down from here. In about a year and a half I’ve gone from no art profile at all to showing alongside Turner contestants. Not sure what to make of all this, to be honest.

I have no idea how to keep up the momentum or even whether I want to. From my sample of one (me) it seems that it’s rather easy to escalate oneself in the art world, but very difficult to get paid in accordance to time and skill.



I’ve decided that if my lifetime of making stupid stuff has made me an expert on anything, it’s creativity. So I’ve started a new website, a weekly newsletter, and ramped up my podcast output, with a new focus on inspiration, creativity and motivation.

The podcast is a colossal amount of work. Highly enjoyable though it is, I can’t stress how much effort is involved, for what is still a relatively small number of listeners, and no money. Each episode takes at least one whole working day to make. I feel absolutely insane doing it sometimes, given I keep talking about trying to be more businesslike and not give everything away. But bear with me, there’s a plan.

This is it: increasing the output of the show to two episodes a week for the next 2.5 months will boost listener numbers, increase the likelihood of getting featured on iTunes again, and therefore bolster my chances of getting a sponsor to cover my time for possible future episodes.

I am banking on the idea that three months is long enough to find out whether or not something is working. It may not be! But I have a history of pushing on projects that show no growth at all for years and years; it’s time to make some changes. I’ve decided to knock that habit on the head and only keep things alive that are really working. It’s brutal and perhaps foolish, but hey – meet new, Business-Me. No more years of dead-horse-flogging for me.



Speaking of which, Hack Circus magazine is coming to a close soon. Issue 11 comes back from the printer tomorrow! And we’re aiming to get #12 out before the year is through, and I still have a couple of paid ads going if anyone’s interested? I’m already looking forward to the last thousands disappearing from my account at the end of this year, and feeling so rich next year without that quarterly bank haemorrhage.



After #12 is out, I’m giving myself until the end of January to see if I can get the podcast to take flight, and whether all the creativity/motivation coaching work I’ve been doing converts into anything paid.

What I’m doing differently now is putting a deadline on everything. I’ll try anything, but there will always be a pre-prescribed limit to my efforts. If I do nothing different, I know for sure that nothing will change. But planning for failures before they happen makes it all feel a lot better – and setting a strictly time-limited success criteria should help. After all, it’s a gamble, and everyone knows you should always limit your spending power at the casino.

I’ve never planned for anything in my life, but finally this feels like my kind of planning.

Last year the HC crew toyed with the idea of running a workshop called “How to turn over a casino”. The trouble –as we learned over the course of HC, and as everyone has learned with the global politics developments this week –is that the house always wins.

There is one way to win, though.

Be the house.

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