Journal Posts: Magick

In Which He Learns To Play The Cards He’s Dealt

Posted 5th January 2015

Brian Eno, the co-author of "Oblique Strategies"

Mr Brian Eno, the co-author of the “Oblique Strategies” cards

Would you trust all your biggest creative decisions to a strange pack of cards from the 1970s?

If you answered “definitely not”, you should probably look away now. But if you answered “yes” or “maybe”, then stick around. I may have found a cure for your January back-to-work blues.

“Oblique Strategies: Over One Hundred Worthwhile Dilemmas” is a set of one hundred cards. The cards are designed to help you think more creatively under pressure.

Each one contains an aphorism, that offers you an escape from your creative panic or rut. Examples range from “think like a gardener,” to “tidy up”, and “honour thy mistake as a hidden intention”.

Pick a card, any card. . . 

Messrs. Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt first published “Oblique Strategies” in 1975. As these two celebrated creatives explained:

“They can be used as a pack (a set of possibilities being continuously reviewed in the mind) or by drawing a single card from the shuffled pack when a dilemma occurs in a working situation. In this case the card is trusted even if its appropriateness is quite unclear.”

On the advice of my creative partner Mr Daniel Adie, I’ll draw a new card every morning for the next month. What’s written on the card will guide my creative thinking and decisions for that day. I’ll report back each week on my adventures.

Play a hand yourself

You can buy the cards online if you fancy having a go yourself.  You could also try the app, but in all honesty the digital version seems to miss the point. The physical cards have a Tarot-like feel that’s a big part of their attraction. And, as my friend Dr Michael Aspinall pointed out to me, “there’s nowt random when a computer’s involved”.

Today’s card?

“Give the game away.”

Thanks for reading.

Mr Simon Armitage’s Radio 4 programme on “Oblique Strategies” is well worth a listen.

Mr Daniel Adie is a comic book writer and Twitter Sensation™. He’s also a rival wizard of mine.

Dr Michael Aspinall is an engineer, international athlete, and co-author of two cookbooks for runners.

In Which He Ventures into the Woods Lovely Dark and Deep

Posted 24th December 2014

Prep work for a project on forests and magic

Rough Sharpie sketch of a stag

Here’s a rough sketch of a stag I did with a Sharpie yesterday. It’s prep work for a project on forests and magic I’m planning with international fine artist Mr Dean Melbourne.

We’re not sure what shape the project will take yet. So we’ve decided to follow Mr David Lynch’s advice and listen to the idea. Hopefully it will lead us to some strange and enchanting places.

I’ll keep you updated on our progress. In the meantime, have a very Merry – and magical – Christmas.

Thanks for reading.

You can discover more about Mr Dean Melbourne here. Instagram fan? Then feel free to follow him.

In Which He Joins Forces With an Evil Empress and Creates a “Build Your Own Haunted Wood Kit” (Available Now, Enquire About Shipping)

Posted 31st October 2014

Haunted Wood

Either the Earth’s grown a new moon, or I need to lay off the ragwort

Hallowe’en is the perfect time to hang out in a Haunted Wood. You can mingle with the mythos, or catch up with your cackling chums around a cauldron. Better still, you can relive your teenage glory days and get immortalled on cans of   “K-thulhu” cider.

Hold on though, what’s that you say? Not everybody has access to a Haunted Wood?

Well there’s no need to flap, my little vampire bats. Evil Empress Caitlin Watson and I have been busy creating a “Build Your Own Haunted Wood Kit”. It’s ideal for all you urban-based evildoers. So wherever you live in the city, here are the ten things that’ll turn your Hallowe’en home into a genuine Forest of Doom:

1) Spectre seeds

2) Young priest

3) Old priest

4) Bucketful of dank mist

5) Gramophone playing scratchy 78s

6) Black cat or dog

7) Rowan detector

8) Will-o’-the-wisp

9) A Banshee candle

10) MDF mini-gallows

You may be interested to hear that we’re working on an illustrated version of our “Build Your Own Haunted Wood Kit” too. To secure your copy, please contact Johnny@eustondoyoucopy.com.

And if you’re not following Caitlin on Twitter, you really should. She’s @WantonItalics.

(Note: Please curse responsibly. Always test dank mist on an inconspicuous area of carpet first.)

Categories: Magick