The Last Lecture

In 2007 Professor Randy Pausch, a terminal cancer patient and Professor at Carnegie Mellon University, delivered his last lecture titled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”. Sadly Randy passed away several months later, but what is clear from this incredibly moving, funny and inspirational lecture is how full a life he lived in his 47 years on Earth and how he was able to achieve all his childhood dreams (even the seemingly impossible ones). It’s becoming a bit of a cliche but in todays disposable world we do seem to place far too much importance on money and material goods, whilst forgetting we should do the things we enjoy each day, especially when these acts can also enrich the lives of others.

 

JC @ The Lowry, Manchester

I was lucky enough to go and see Mr Jamie Cullum perform at The Lowry in Manchester as part of his Momentum Tour last Sunday… and it was incredible!

First things first, the support act that evening was a BBC Introducing Act called The Lottery Winners. I went to take my seat not really knowing what to expect from them and was really surprised. They were brilliant (so brilliant in fact that I went away and bought their 3 songs available on iTunes)! I’m not usually the biggest fan of guitar based bands… for me they too often seems to be a focus on volume rather than quality, but this was not a criticism I could level at The Lottery Winners. The description on their website sums up how they sound pretty well, “Born in Salford and raised on romance, The Lottery Winners can be found pottering somewhere in-between the blithe of the Beach Boys and the suffering of the Smiths“. I also think a big part of how quickly myself, and the entire audience it seemed, warmed to this young act was down to the frontman’s  ability to talk and joke with the crowd in a genuine way.

Moving on to the main act and JC played a mind blowing set lasting just shy of 2 hours and 30 minutes. Supported by his usual band (who are all incredible musicians in their own right, as demonstrated by numerous instrumental solos) Jamie’s set was the perfect balance of his newer ‘pop’ hits and covers of jazz standards. There seems to be fewer and fewer artists today who sound just as good, if not better at a live performance than in the recording studio, but Jamie is definitely not one of these; the energy, passion (and a little craziness) that he puts into each performance is astounding. This is the third time I’ve seen him live (the first was way back when he released TwentySomething) and he is just getting better and better!

The evening ended with everyone on their feet dancing around to These Are The Days and Mixtape before leaving after an amazing solo encore performance of What A Difference A Day Makes. If you’ve got tickets to see him in the near future, you’re in for a treat… if not, buy some!

Hack A Banana, Make A Keyboard

So you may be thinking I’ve gone mad with a title like that, but bear with me!

I recently stumbled across this wonderful video of a TED Talk by Jay Silver (an inventor/creative/teacher/eccentric and so on) that completely blew my mind! I won’t spoil what he’s come up with and demonstrates in the video but I will say that I completely agree with him when he says that we, as adults, really limit our creativity because we think we know what everything in the world does (or should do). As we grow we become constrained to only seeing how things are “supposed” to work, not how they could work. Take a pencil for example, give one to an adult and they’ll probably draw something with it… give it to a child and they’ll come up with tens or hundreds of other brilliant, unique ways in which it can be used. I guess the best way to unlock this thinking in adults is to give them the freedom and time every now and then to just pick an object and mess with it, without constraints or fear of being told what they’ve done is a stupid or pointless idea.

Anyway, enjoy the video, and I hope it makes you think twice about the way things [could] work… I certainly did.