Month: June 2014 (page 2 of 2)

Why am I yet to have a great 3am idea?

As an art student, ideas are very important to me. I have a lot of them. They float into my head at the strangest moments, while driving, at Zumba, while cycling around town and on the edge of sleep at 3am. Some are good, but most are not. I think if they were all good then I’d be overwhelmed. I’m glad that most are not. I haven’t got the time!

Where my best ideas come from

Where my best ideas come from

At 4.40am this morning I woke up and went to the toilet. While I was there, I started thinking about those 3am ideas that we all get and how they seem brilliant at 3am but shrivel up and die in the light of day. Why is that?

I don’t think I’ve had any life-changing 3am ideas: I could fill a wall in detailed post-it note drawings! How about making a giant sculpture out of ketchup bottles? Or I should cover a floor with sand and get people to draw with their feet in it. I could make a video starting my cat and call it ‘a day in the life of my cat’.

Creativity hour

Creativity hour

I’ve had a lot of 3am ideas that seemed life-changing at the time, but I think that more times than not I’ve dismissed them in the morning as fantastical. Not everyone shares my view. On googling ‘middle of the night ideas’ the Internet spews up many websites encouraging ways to harness these creative surges.

I wonder if sleeping on books would induce good ideas

I wonder if sleeping on books would induce good ideas

Picasso, famously, would sleep sitting up with a spoon in his mouth to try to trap those half-awake half-sleep ideas. He was a firm believer in their originality. The hope was that as his brain slipped from near sleep to sleep the spoon would fall out of his mouth and wake him up and he’d leap in the air, exclaim ‘aha!’ and head to a blank canvas.

I don’t think I want to try this, especially given that I don’t have a lot of faith in my ability to come up with good ideas in a semi-conscious state (my Zumba ideas are much better). And anyway, sleep is ace, why disrupt it?


People who fidget a lot burn more calories and need more sleep

This was a thought I had last night in the usual place and it was mainly concerning my own experience. So I wonder whether it applies to other people as well.

I fidget a lot. I fidget all my waking life (even when sat on the toilet given half the chance). I fidget whenever I am forced to stand or sit still for whatever reason.

If I find a few bits of Lego around the house, that Lego is mine for the next couple of hours to play with, hold, twist, turn, take apart, put back together again and drop on the floor and pick up again. If I’m in an audience, I need a pen to twist around, click, unclick, click, unclick, twist. If I’m watching TV, I need my phone or laptop to tap on, or a magazine to flick through. Just this week I found myself fiddling for two hours with a broken hook. Eventually I threw it away but by then I’d become quite attached to it and felt as if I knew its smooth edges, its rough edges where it was broken and its very pleasing shape very well.

Hours of fidgeting fun here

Hours of fidgeting fun here

I think I probably drive those people around me mad with my fidgeting. But I can’t sit still. And I wonder if this contributes to the fact that I don’t put on much weight generally over time. I’m about the same weight I was when I left school. Please don’t hate me though. But I think this lack of ability to put on lots of weight might be because I am constantly on the go during waking hours. I wonder if scientists have ever studied it? Google is my friend and look what I found!

I envy people who can just sit. I admire people who can dose in a chair while watching a film on a Sunday afternoon. I can’t do that (or at least I can’t without a laptop, a book, a pen or a piece of Lego in my hand or on my lap). Traffic jams are a particular issue with me because I can’t just whip my book out or start building something out of paperclips.

The fidgeter's dream

The fidgeter’s dream

My most favourite fidgeting items include: blue tack (hours of fun there), bubble wrap (I am well acquainted with bubble-wrap poppers finger ache), pens (even better with paper to doodle on), the edges of clothing (hems feel particularly pleasing) and lastly, hair. If the worst comes to the worst and I have no pens or Lego I have my hair.

One of my favourite fiddle items

One of my favourite fiddle items

It’s no wonder that by the end of the day I’m utterly exhausted.


As I get larger, people get smaller

This is a genuine ‘weird thought whilst sat on the toilet’. It’s one that I’ve had just now after eating a large amount of Bombay potatoes, vegetable curry, plain rice and tikka naan bread from my favourite Indian restaurant and take away.

Eat me - you will grow

Eat me and you will grow

I was recently speaking to a friend and the thought crossed my mind that she seemed smaller.

Just now, on the toilet, a memory of this thought came to me and I wondered whether she had lost weight or had I in fact put on weight? I’ve noticed this phenomenon before. I generally stay around the same weight but I do notice small fluctuations in my weight based on various factors such as pregnancy and diet and when I put on weight (Japan added more than a stone), the people around me seem to get smaller, and when I lose weight (breastfeeding babies is the best diet ever), they get bigger.

I wonder if anyone else has noticed this oddity of life? Now when I perceive that the people around me are shrinking I start to panic and stop eating chocolate. When I see them shrinking I feel cheered and reach for the chocolate.

This will make you grow even bigger

This will make you grow even bigger

The world is full of meaningles straplines

Recently I’ve noticed that the world is full of meaningless straplines. I’ve always known they were there, but until last week I didn’t really stop to read and analyse them. They seem to fall into two main categories: philosophies for the meaning of life or persuasions towards a way of life via a product or service.

Before I go on, I should add that I’m worried that I am not completely fulfilling the aim of this blog: writing about weird thoughts I have while sat on the toilet. This new interest about straplines didn’t come to me while on the toilet, but, rather, while on a train (and not on a train toilet due to previous bad experience – see last entry).

So here are some recently spotted straplines that annoy, amuse and / or interest me:

At Stafford Station I came across this one:

  • Staffordshire University: The home of great minds
Sunny Stafford

Sunny Stafford

This intrigues me for a number of reasons. Firstly, I am a student of Staffordshire University so I ought to be flattered that this strapline indicates I have a great mind. Thank you, Stafford station! Secondly, this might imply that other towns which contain great upstanding educational establishments do not house great minds. Or if they do, perhaps their stations also ought to declare: Exeter University: The home of great minds, Bath University: The home of great minds. Then where do all the dunces live? On the roads between these towns?

At Crewe station I saw this one:

  • Virgin Trains: Everyone home safely everyday
Travel by Virgin, you're safe in their hands

Travel by Virgin, you’re safe in their hands

This one annoyed me because it is clumsy. It is the ‘everyone’ and ‘everyday’ combination that I stumble over. And is it true? Not sure it is. It should say ‘Virgin Trains: Everyone home at some point and hopefully in one piece’.

I then also came across this one:

  • Staffordshire: The creative county
Only creative people here

Only creative people here

No offense to the lovely Staffordshire but I’m not sure it is renowned for housing more creativity than, say, Oxfordshire, or Nottinghamshire, or Devon. I reckon if a scientific study was to be carried out on the total creative output from the counties of England that Staffordshire might fare quite well, but would it come top? It may be the home of great minds but are they creative great minds?

Later at home after my train journey, upon scanning Facebook I saw this one:

  • Happiness has no formula

What does that mean? Happiness is not a science. Of course there is no formula. Although five tonnes of money might help, mixed with eight acres of sunshine and three kilogrammes of smiles from passers by.

My hometown’s strap line is:

  • Shrewsbury: The original one-off
There is only one Shrewsbury

There is only one Shrewsbury

Do not ‘original’ and ‘one-off’ mean the same thing? It’s almost as annoying as ‘very unique’.

On Monday at college I saw this one:

  • Stay hungry, stay foolish

So the home of great minds (i.e. Staffordshire University) can only keep its crown if those minds keep eating?

Here are some famous (and less famous) ones that irritate me:

  • Apple: Think different (sound advice but what does it have to do with iPods, iPhones and Macintosh computers?)
  • Tesco: Every little helps (oooh I really don’t like this often heard strapline)
  • Gillette: The best a man can get (that’s quite a claim)
  • Honda: The power of dreams (airy fairy and meaningless)
  • HSBC: The world’s local bank (is there a branch in Iwatsuki?)
  • L’oreal: Because you’re worth it (this tops the worst)

And finally, local governments make the best straplines and here are just a few:

  • Ashford Council: Best placed in Britain
  • Chorley Borough Council: Making Chorley Smile
  • Christchurch Council: Where time is pleasant
  • Dartford Borough Council: If only all Councils were like Dartford
  • Durham Council: Altogether better
  • Knowsley Council: The Future is Knowsley
  • Somerset County Council: Opportunity when you want it, help when you need it

I’m going to go live in Knowsley or Dartford. I can’t decide which is the best place to be.


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