does alcohol increase creativity

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In this episode artist Sandra Busby from and myself Tara Roskell, the idea medic talk about the experiments we carried out to find out if alcohol increases your creativity.

We are in no way encouraging irresponsible drinking! This is a controlled experiment, done purely for creative research purposes! All done under strict non-laboratory conditions 🙂

The creative experiments

All these creative experiments were carried out sober and then after 4 units alcohol (or 6 units by mistake by Sandra)

• 30 minute sketch of a bottle
• 5 minute sketch of a bottle
• 45 minute (plus time to collect reference) character design from everyday objects
• 1 hour poem from a random word which we chose for each other (we only looked just before starting)
• 20 minute advert based on a product and location we chose for each other (we only looked just before starting)

Tara: Why do the experiment?

You hear the theory that alcohol makes you more creative online and I was curious to find out in a real way if it was true. Not statistics and laboratories, but just seeing how it felt.

I know that I occasionally used to get jobs where I had to come up with a product name or strap line and my partner and I used to come up with ideas after having steak and wine on a Friday night. It made what could have been dull a fun task and we would say anything really silly which probably meant we came up with more and better ideas.
It’s much more fun to try and name a Fire Extinguisher after a few drinks.

So I thought the experiments where we needed ideas like the poems and adverts would be better with alcohol. But the alcohol would make hand eye co-ordination bad and so projects like the character creation and sketching would be worse.

Sandra: Why do the experiment?

Of course we didn’t enjoy this experiment at all! Being forced to drink was all sorts of pants!

I wanted to try this experiment because when we’re kids we have no inhibitions.
I mean I certainly wouldn’t run around my friends garden in only my underpants now!! …Well… not unless I’ve had way too much to drink… which got me thinking…

As adults, we become more inhibited… There is only one medicine for that, well, that’s legal anyway! and that’s alcohol!

So the idea is, if we can let go of out inhibitions again, will it make us more creative, less inclined to care about the result etc…
or will it just make us less able… So we decided to experiment…

Video –

Sandra Busby 30 minute sketches

Sandra 30minsketch sober alcohol creativity

Tara Roskell 30 minute sketches

Tara 30min sketch alcohol increase creativity

Sandra 5 minute sketches

Sandra 5 minsketch sober alcohol creativity

Tara 5 minute sketches

Tara 5minsketch alcohol increase creativity

Sandra 45 minute character from everyday objects

Tara 45 minute character from everyday objects

Tara character alcohol creativity

Sandra sober poem

Word “argument”

This is ridiculous, I’m so not a poet. There is no way everyone’s not going to know it. Particularly as I have such a hard word, I mean argument, really? Now that’s just absurd!
At this point, I’m wondering if it has to rhyme. One side of me says no, yet the other says fine! So which side is right, is it me or I? All we can do, we suppose is try.
So here goes, a poem based on the word argument… I only hope it comes across as both natural ‘and’ fluent.
But wait, says I… are we rhyming or not? I don’t think we can in the time that we’ve got.
That’s ridiculous says me, of course, we’ve got time, to come up with just a few words that rhyme!
But what in the world rhymes with the word argument? I said scratching my head with a look of shear puzzlement.
Well there’s erm and there’s ahh and there’s now let me think? Me determined that this poem was not going to stink.
But alas me thinks that I wins this battle as trying to rhyme such a word leaves me rattled.
20 minutes in and still we can’t think. It’s causing some friction and I’m on the brink. Just who is in charge of this God awful task? It’s me says I, do you really need to ask?
Time is ticking on so we need to take action. This time limit is driving us both to distraction!
Maybe we both should work together,  to come up with something that’s funny and clever. For two halves of brain must work better than one and all of this arguing is definitely no fun!
Half an hour to go and with as much time left, we finally agree on what works best. I’m best with words and me’s best at rhyming and both of us are pretty damn good at timing.
Speaking of which, we have 20 minutes left, which is plenty of time to complete our quest. Too much in fact, as it turns out. We have our poem in 40, so over and out!

Tara sober poem (I wrote 2)

Word “Protest”

I’ve never attended a protest,
Or brandished a sign,
I don’t make a fuss
While waiting in line
But sometimes I’m tested
And rage will pour out,
When time’s been invested
And not cared about
I’ll move up the ladder
As I break through the tone
The Manager’s busy,
Please hold the phone
I will not be beaten
Whatever it takes,
From letters to press threats
I’ll keep upping the stakes,
Until at last
I finally hear the word
I’m sorry, we’ll fix it
Then I know I’ve been heard.

I wrote the first quickly so I wrote another one

Tara sober poem

Word “Protest”

I didn’t quite get the number of lines right, but didn’t have time to fix it

I want to protest
When the cashier chats
To her bubble gum friend
and doesn’t even send
a glance my way
When a mother ignores her child
eeking sticky fingers through the store
When the power drill next door
Sings me shrilly to sleep
I want to protest

I want to protest
The client amends
pointless changes round seventeen
And tell them how it could have been
So easy a pleasure
But I say with a smile
No problem at all
Because I don’t have the gall
Make the logo bigger
Who needs a brief
I want to protest

…but don’t need the grief

Sandra poem after alcohol

Word “library”

So this time my random word is library. How in Gods name can that possibly be easy for me?
At least with that word I have no end of reference for words to include in my poem to make sense.
I’ve just read that back and it’s totally crap. 4 units clearly won’t get me a clap. Perhaps I should have another swig or two and maybe somehow that will give me a clue.
Think will pop to the library to look up some poets to find inspiration and help me to flow it.
But I haven’t been in a library for years, that’s actually so sad I should be in tears. For digital reference is popular these days, whereas musty old books are slipping away.
Remember that smell when you open a book? There’s no replacement for that, you can look and look.
The rustling of pages the teeny tiny words, the fancy book binding attracting the nerds!
But who needs a book when we all have a kindle? Well I do for sure for in comparison they’re poor!
Bring back the hand written word I say, let’s not all give in to the digital today! We all need something to touch and feel and cyber space is so far from real!
My poem’s a flowing but is there something I’ve missed? If there is that might be because I am pissed!
25 minutes left and again I am done. This poetry thing has proved really quite fun!
Whether drunk or sober or falling over, I reckon that Shakespeare should now move over. For I have arrived and I’m making my way to poetry stardom..: maybe one day!

Tara poem after alcohol

Word “credibility”

How do you prove your credible,
When you’re unsure yourself,
Imposter syndrome strikes,
Not enough “likes”
But with years of learning,
You still feel the churning
of doubt in your mind

How do you decide
The right path to take
To marry passion
In some sort of fashion
With a way to inspire
And ignite the fire
And thinking in others

How do you know
The thoughts in your head
Can fuel ideas in the mind
Of people that find
Your place in the cloud
When the world is so loud
With shouting voices

You need to believe
Before they can trust
You’ve earned what you know
You can still show
that you can be wrong
and still belong
In this new place in the world

Sandra Sober Advert

Product: Bluetooth Speaker, Place: Ocean

The scene starts in tropical surroundings. There is a man laying on his back on a lilo in his swimming shorts… he is bobbing up and down perfectly relaxed on turquoise lapping waves… There are sounds of seabirds and the water rushing up the beach…

The scene slowly changes and the waves are now crashing against rocks… They get bigger and bigger, and yet as the lilo is riding the crest of huge waves, the man is still completely relaxed and appears to be sleeping.

He is now floating in the middle of the vast ocean… It’s dark, the waves are huge and still the man is lost in his own dreams.

Then from beneath the waves comes a huge whales tail, which crashes down right next to the lilo, causing the lilo to rise up and crash down… Still the man is completely relaxed…

The sea begins to calm… the sun comes up from the horizon and once again the lilo is floating in the shallows in the tropical sunshine.

The scene then cuts to the sound of his wife calling his name…

The startled man opens his eyes and finds he is actually lying on his sofa, fully clothed and listening to the relaxing sounds of ocean waves on his bluetooth speaker.

The brand name of the bluetooth speaker comes up on the screen… with the words… ‘Lose Yourself’

(The message is that the sound from the speaker is of such high quality that you become completely lost in what you are listening to)

Tara Sober Advert

Product: Dog Food, Place: Swimming pool

Idea 1

Owner tries everything to get his dog to go in swimming pool, but he won’t. So the owner puts a bowl of dog food on an inflatable and lets it float in the pool waiting for the dog to swim to get it. The Owner is then distracted by a phone call.

The dog starts getting owners things from the house and dropping them one by one in the pool. Each splash makes the inflatable go closer to the side of the pool until the dog can finally reach the inflatable and grab the food. Some sort of voice-over about brainfood for the more intelligent dog.

Idea 2

Scene with dog lying by pool on beach towel in sunglasses and munching on some dog food. Suddenly little dog faces appear around the side of hedges wearing shades and Hawaiian shirts. “Pool party!” one shouts. Table of dog food buffet appears and a dog DJ. The first dog sighs and says “who let the cat out of the bag”. Silence and they all think ‘cats’ and then carry on eating and partying. Voiceover who needs cats when you got Party-dog, the gourmet dog food.

Sandra advert after alcohol

Product: Dog Treat Toy, Place: Fairground

A male dog trots into a pet shop alongside his owner and there are lots of female dogs in there. A white poodle with a pink bow, a Chihuahua with a little glittery collar on, and lots of other precious girly dogs.
The dog trots passed all of the female dogs, ignoring their obvious interest. All the while in the background, the song ‘It’s got to be perfect’ by Fairground attraction is playing.
As the lyrics play on, the dog, with tunnel vision continues past all of the female dogs to the toy section and sniffs past lots of toys until he finally comes across king of all dog treat toys. The Kong!
As the final lyrics play ‘it’s got to be perfect’, he picks the Kong off of the shelf with his mouth and puts it in his owner’s basket while all of the other female dogs look on…

It’s got to be perfect, it’s got to be worth it, yeah
Too many people take second best
Well, I won’t take anything less
It’s got to be, yeah, perfect
Young hearts are foolish, they make such mistakes
They’re much too eager to give their love away
Well, I have been foolish too many times
Now I’m determined, I’m gonna get it right
It’s got to be perfect, it’s got to be worth it, yeah
Too many people take second best
But I won’t take anything less
It’s got to be, yeah, worth it
It’s got to be perfect

Tara advert after alcohol

Product: Lipstick, PLace: Outer Space

Idea 1

A Hot man walks into a bar and sees a beautiful woman, wearing no make-up (natural look).

Green aliens land and the female strange looking alien walks into the bar. Everyone gasps in horror, then she puts on the lipstick. Suddenly in every man’s head, she is the most beautiful woman in the world. Voice over, luscious lipstick makes you out of this world kissable.

Idea 2

lipstick flying around in space. Made to look like a rocket ship. luscious lips give you the moon and the stars glittery shine

Idea 3

Astronaut Tom’s wife kissed his glass bubble mask just before he entered the capsule. It would be 6 months before she would see him again. But that luscious lipstick kiss would stay with him until he returned. Voice over – Luscious lips guaranteed the worlds (or maybe universe’s) longest lasting lipstick.

Derek Lee – Poems

Sober word “medicine”

My friend Derek Lee from also had a go at writing a poem both sober and after alcohol

It is not high literature. It is a long poem for me. The ideas and structure seemed to flow more easily than when I was sober, and I finished with 15 minutes to spare. I had close to a whole bottle of wine.

The Poetry Doctor

A grey October sky
Stretches across the afternoon.

All is quiet in the office.

Rivulets of tears
have changed the geography of your face,
like scars in the landscape
marking your vulnerability.

I am the poetry doctor,
prescribing potions and lotions
to salve the most painful of emotions,
medicine that cannot be found elsewhere,
a few couplets and stanzas to be taken
three times a day,
with wine.

After alcohol word “magazine”

There is a rhythm to my life,
played out in a six-eight beat;
early morning sees me
wandering down the street.

It is Thursday,
my favourite day.
I know she will be there,
ready to serve me with her
special smile.

A special smile for a
special customer.

The magazines on her stall
like cards held
by a player with a winning hand.

Do I have a winning hand?
Lucky in cards, unlucky in love –
that’s how the old saying goes.

I have never been in
either game,
so what do I know?

I buy my magazine,
my Thursday treat,
tremble a little when she gives
me my change.

The smile is there,
but what does it mean?
Something learnt in her
customer care classes?
A shared understanding
of the world?
Sympathy, a gentle knowing
that my life is
so fragile, so empty,
an unchanging beat in an
unchanging key?

I want the life the magazines promise.
I want the fame and the glamour,
the fast cars and big houses,
the foreign travel,
to be noticed, to be cared about,
to be loved.

But these are not the magazines
I read.
For me it is Taxidermy Today.
I guess I’m stuffed.