Alastair Creamer is curating this year’s Wordstock. He’s also a longstanding member of 26. He talks to Elen Lewis about music, running out of juice, the bursts of sherbet that are 26 and the importance of being strict about where your inspiration comes from
What’s your day job?
I run Creamer and Lloyd, a small creative agency that pioneers the practice of using the arts to solve business issues and transform people and teams within those businesses. So we bring in poets, film-makers, BBC Radio producers, designers, art historians, DJs, architects, perfumers (to name a few recent collaborators) to work on projects that make a difference within business.
What are your private passions?
I’m a musician by education. That means I gave it up after university! But music is a constant soundtrack to my world. I paint to relax. I read to get away from it all. I write to remember. And now I have a garden to play in.
What do people get wrong about you?
I like to think that people get what they see – which is a lot of flowery shirts and Paul Smith socks. I guess the one thing many people assume is that my energy is limitless. However, I’m like a battery. I run out of juice and need re-charging.
What do you like best about belonging to 26?
I’m very proud of the project publications I’ve been fortunate to get involved with. From 26 Letters to The Bard & Co, 26 Treasures and now 26 Words. What’s wonderful is that these projects are like little bursts of sherbet. Not everything I do is as refreshingly creative and they feed me for the next thing.
How would you describe Wordstock (in 26 words)?
A one-day festival of language to re-energise the soul, invigorate the mind and get your writing fingers twitching! Lots of wonderful guest speakers and linguistic conjurers.
What advice would you offer fellow 26ers on becoming more creative in everything they do?
Be strict about where your inspiration comes from. If you are seen as the creative one by your clients, you must be rigorous in feeding that creativity for yourself. Everything we experience has the potential to be an idea, the starting point for an exercise, a fresh way of telling something dull.
What did music teach you about writing?
Rhythm, pacing and the (now ingrained) ability to listen to what’s around me and what I’m saying and writing. I think also the discipline that surrounded being in a choir at the age of 8. Rehearsals, evensongs, practice and preparation were a constant presence.
What has inspired you recently?
Naturally 7 – a group of amazing singers who produce every sound imaginable that you might find in a band, from drums, to bass, guitar, trumpet, trombone, sax, harmonica – you name it. They opened the Love Supreme Festival last weekend which was pretty inspiring itself. We post our inspirations regularly on our website at Creamer and Lloyd.
What are you working on now?
Helping a global team of innovators become better documentary makers. They see and witness so much, but they don’t yet have a culture of recording what they see and so we’re working with them to create a site and ways of working around that. We’re bringing in two documentary makers (film and sound) so they get hands-on experience of creating materials that can be shared by the whole team.
Tell us a secret
I sprinkled some of my Father’s ashes within a well-known pergola. This was a place he used to come to and he loved it – I even remember walking along the exact route with him one time. So I thought I would bring a little of him back.