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Blog: The Creative Process

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PHEW. You know the COMPOSER in Sesame Street? The one who keeps trying to write a song, ends up BANGING his head against the keyboards, then gets inspiration from the letters Q, F and the number 3? I tell you this, he is no mere device for alphabet/numeracy learning, he is a SEARING PORTRAIT of REALITY.

For LO! last night i found myself home alone for a few hours, and set myself down to finish off this Christmas Song I'm supposed to be doing on Sunday, and it was a NIGHTMARE BEYOND COMPREHENSION! Well, it was quite difficult anyway... i started off with my original idea for "The Day After Boxing Day", tried it fast, tried it slow, then listened to some Christmas Songs and tried to do it in a "Rocking Around The Christmas Tree" STYLEE. I changed the verse melody, changed it back, then went downstairs for a cup of tea.

I wrote down in LONGHAND some ideas about CHRISTMAS - previously just writing a mini-essay about what i want to say SPARKS OFF at least a structure and sometimes some RHYMES, but all i got was a complaint about how difficult it is to open the doors on advent calendars (it is!), so went and had a cup of tea instead.

After more Christmas Thinking, and GLARING at my advent calendar, I went back upstairs and tried to write a proper CAROL. This was the shortest between tea INTERVAL of the evening.

Next i returned to "The Day After Boxing Day" and briefly toyed with changing the words and keeping the melody, before doing what i always do in these situations i.e. gormlessly play "jazz chords" (i.e. make random hand shapes and go KLANG!) for a bit, hoping that something ACE will magically appear, for ten minutes, then switching the computer on and SLAYING SOME ORCS for a bit. Then having a cup of tea.

What i needed was a THEME, something to WORK with that would make a song, but something that WASN'T a dreary normal Christmas song about snow and things, because it NEVER snows at Christmas round here. I wanted something TRUE and VALID, but i also wanted something with some GAGS in, and if at all possible something that would UTILISE the huge mob of BACKING SINGERS who'll be coming in with me.

Sat upstairs again (with more tea) I pondered all this, and DESPAIRED of ever getting it sorted - "The only idea I've got is to do something about an Advent Calendar..." and it was at this point that I metaphorically banged my head against the keyboards saying "I'll NEVER get it done, NEVER! NEVER!"

However, it was at THIS point that my inner FOZZIE BEAR wagga wagga'd by, and said "Hey hey hey! An advent calendar, a theme, real things about Christmas, and utilisation of Backing Singers? Wacka wacka!" and POW! Suddenly the first verse was THERE! BOOM! The tune, APPEARED! Five minutes later, VERSE TWO AROSE!!

FULL of JOY i went and did the Washing UP - YES that was how GLEEFUL i was - at which point The Landlady returned. I was telling her the tale of my evening, and saying how i really needed to sort out the chorus now. "It's about how ordinary Advent Calendars don't represent Christmases i've HAD, so this is an Advent Calendar of..." FACT! i thought, FACT! However, what i SAID was "Ooh! AHA! OOOH!" and RAN upstairs to try it out, slightly ALARMING said housemate i do not doubt.

So yes, there it is - verse three eased out later in the evening, verse four finally arrived this morning, and now we have "The Advent Calendar of FACT", fully finished and DONE. I played it to The Wine In My Bottle this morning, and she stopped me halfway throught to say "This is bloody GRATE!" and i must say i had to agree - OOH! I am EXCITED about it now, HOORAH! Also, KERZANG!!

Tonight I'll record a DEMO for the backing singers and get the words out, so that on Sunday they'll at least have heard it more than ten minutes before we're on AIR, and then aroundabout 4.30pm we shall broadcast to THE NATION! WHOO!

I'm all of a quiver - HELLO CHRISTMAS!

posted 15/12/2004 by MJ Hibbett

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