Sometimes, mid-project, I need to press my own ‘restart’ button. Running with the computer analogy, it’s usually around the time that I can feel my brain’s hard-drive slowing down and the fan whirring a little more loudly, because there are too many programmes running on my desktop. The ‘pizza wheel of death’ starts to spin. Unsure of which programme to force quit, sometimes it’s best just to give in and restart the lot. Time to get a little silly.
Here are three ways that I like to reboot.
1. Put the theme tune from The Goodies on. Turn it up loud. Dance.
2. Go on a feijoa hunt. Feijoas are a seasonal South American fruit ubiquitous in northern parts of New Zealand. Falling only in autumn, I consider it my civic duty to collect kilograms of free feijoas from up north and deliver them to my local Wellington cafe, where they are turned into all sorts of deliciousness.
3. Choose songs for my ridiculous little compilation collection, Super Sax Solos. It’s not that I like the saxophone (though Johnny Depp rocked a good one in the pilot episode of 21 Jump Street). I far prefer its sexy cousin, the clarinet. But searching for Super Sax Solos has the side-effect of super-silly dance solos to awesome songs like Maneater, Get Outta My Dreams and, from my all time favourite movie soundtrack Pretty In Pink, If You Leave by Orchestra Manouevres in the Dark. Also, choosing titles for the compilations is silly fun. Sax Attack. Saxual Healing. Saxy Time. Oh, how the list goes on. Fancy a sax solo tea break? There’s a good selection of videos here.
Another brilliant re-boot technique is the compulsory break. I’m on tour at the moment. It’s an intense creative project in and of itself, but it’s also a fine way to have to step back from other projects and get some perspective on them. I’ve learned from past tours that it is almost impossible to try get other things done alongside the arriving, unpacking, sound-checking, eating, dressing, warming-up, performing, packing down, packing up, getting back on the road. The best thing one can do in the thick of a project is participate fully in the moment, enjoy the daily discoveries of musical companionship, and just sit back and enjoy the view.