Business relationships in the creative industry

Business relationships in the creative industry

In 2014, House of Verse began as an interactive, immersive installation exhibition which I piloted in my third year at De Montfort University, to attempt to make people find poetry more accessible. It evolved instantly after feedback clearly favoured the live performance element and snowballed over the last 4 years into a great big variety platform welcoming all artforms. It’s been one of those rides that I feel like I don’t remember getting on, I didn’t buy a ticket and somehow I’m 4 years in to a self-started creative business rollercoaster and piecing together a giant unknown jigsaw. Brain deep in managing the breadth of ‘departments’ of an entire business flying solo is certainly quite the voyage. Discovering just how many sides there are to one business has been wildly mind-opening. FYI, I’ve got it down to Admin, Liaison, Marketing, Finance, Web, Design, Business and Logistics.

Yes, you may call me Jellyfish Circus.  


Managing so many creative souls rustles up a lot of creative and logistical questions. As I experienced working with more and more artists, I learnt that some people require a lot of information whereas others require far less. Preparation takes a lot of time and throughout my 4 years of experience, I have streamlined the information that I distribute to artists and partners to guarantee that they have received what they need to know and feel comfortable when it comes to the event. I have learnt how vital it is for communication lines to be friendly, consistent and reliable. It is very easy to communicate with a few artists; I started with 8 per show. Now I am in touch with up to 50 artists per show so saving time where I can is paramount to fluid coordination.



There was a while where I lived and breathed House of Verse, all thanks to the Crucible Project at The Innovation Centre, DMU, an entrepreneurial programme offered to postgraduates with grassroots business ideas. It was on this programme during an accounting workshop that I met Mahmood Reza, Business Owner of Pro Active Resolutions. I really appreciated receiving support from Mahmood, he is very down-to-earth and encouraging. I had hoped that our business relationship would not end after the Crucible and we kept in touch. After meeting the terrific team at Pro Active Resolutions’ homely office, a three-year sponsorship deal was drawn up and I felt truly blessed.


House of Verse

It felt so empowering to think that such a successful entrepreneur and his colleagues valued my business!

Since then, I have met monthly or bi-monthly with Pro Active Resolutions and they have supported me in countless ways: figuring out strategies, talking through complicated problems, simplifying numbers, keeping me calm when thinking about scary things like finance and tax.

More things Pro Active Resolutions have helped me with:

  • Business planning
  • Thinking about the future
  • Thinking logically and realistically
  • Systems and templates
  • Valuing my time
  • Quoting up jobs
  • Managing professional relationships
  • My personal and professional development as a Business Manager

Working with Mahmood and his team feels like a second family; they are warm and personable human beings. As well as being supportive of me as a Business Manager, I really feel cared about on a personal level which is above and beyond what I had expected. Mahmood is a patient powerhouse of productivity and excellent at explaining business jargon. Maybe, one day I’ll be a jargonaut like him.

A guide to 19th century Venetian blinds and curtains at the Vatican

A guide to 19th century Venetian blinds and curtains at the Vatican

By Aaron Dudfield

I was reading a book recently called The Sociology of the Paranormal, which is a peer reviewed Sage Research Paper in the Social Sciences. It is an academic study, which asks the question about how many people in the world have had ‘paranormal’ experiences in their lives. It includes a study of Deja Vu (some of the accounts of which are not a simple case of ‘thinking you’ve been here before’), Extrasensory Perception, Clairvoyance, contact with the dead and Mysticism. The data is very conclusive stating “that mystical and psychic phenomena occur seems beyond debate”.


It would seem to me that many analytical thinkers would dismiss studies like this in a blink, or try to superimpose some ‘reason’ which is really just guesswork in order to try and shake their validity.


I prefer to remain open minded to the idea of not knowing very much and closed minded to the idea that everything can somehow be empirically tested, when very little is actually empirically testable (and even that which is testable and is closest to the mystical, e.g. in the realm of quantum physics, normal understanding of laws must be bent in order to make ‘sense’ of anything and new bafflements constantly occur).


Here is a list of a few of the videos which have helped me to move away from analytical thinking and towards a much less denialist approach. They have, in turn, also opened the door to the possibility of true selflessness, a non-animalistic humanity and deep security, without the need to constantly argue about trivialities or try to assert some sort of feigned identity to the people around me.


Below I’ve listed a few different ways in which I connect with whatever it is that people connect with which transcends a present state of mind and counters the impotent balderdash of much of analytical science and what I like to call the shouty world (those people who don’t think things are alright and are always perpetuating fear). I’ve tried to add a variety of expressions so that those who have different outlets in terms of creativity and interpretations can connect.

This is a talk by Coleman Barkswith David Darling playing the cello and singing. It talks about how Coleman Barks came to translate Rumi’s poetry, which involves a very interesting and ‘mystical’ experience.


A poem by Seamus Heaney: When all the others were away at Mass. This poem brings me to a very present reality. It’s about his mother and him in a moment and in a few short lines he beautifully paints a picture which encapsulates the simplicity and depth of a single moment, where life is lived.


Green River Killer Forgiven: For whatever reason, forgiveness is one of those things that seems to be nearly impossible. When somebody does it, and truly does it, it’s very shaking. This particular video inspires me very deeply. A man who showed total disregard for human life shown mercy.


Another story of forgiveness beyond all seeming possibility. The whole documentary is amazingly eye opening. There are hundreds of these stories. Including the ones described in this article.


This one is for anybody who is interested in dance and the symbolism therein. I believe that this dance addresses all sorts of issues, including those of angry feminism. It paints a beautiful picture of submission and graciousness and I would not consider it to be a performance but rather a sharing of life. The message in it is something I embrace.


Quantum Theory, Consciousness & the Implicate Order

by Dr. David Bohm. A Mathematical interpretation of reality. If you’re more of a thinker, here’s something that might start a bit of a thought path for you.

Alfa Mist – Antiphon – This is just incredible.

Wait for me


I said I’ll try

Just give me one more chance to prove

Mountains I will move


I hear you calling

I’ll wait for you”


In short, anything that helps us to worry or feel fear or division is not something I want to take part in. I want to actively avoid those things and immerse myself in anything that takes me beyond not only that, but into a world where things don’t always make perfect sense. I don’t need sense. I need life.


If I think back on my best times, they were my most insane, not my most sensible. Following the ‘rules’ does not give rise to anything good and especially not creativity. The shouty people have rules in their heads. I don’t want to do that. I was a shouty person for a very long time and it’s so boring! Just love yourself and immerse yourself in good stuff. Don’t fuel your hatred or your anger by watching things that promote division or add labels to anything (I’m not just talking to the supposed ‘victims’, just for the record, I don’t use that language). Hope this helps somebody.


Lots and lots of goodness your way and lots more freedom than that!


Can you find another market like this?

Where, with your one rose

you can buy hundreds of rose gardens?



for one seed

get a whole wilderness?


For one weak breath,

a divine wind?


You’ve been fearful

of being absorbed in the ground,

or drawn up by the air.


Now, your waterbead lets go

and drops into the ocean,

where it came from.


It no longer has the form it had,

but it’s still water.

The essence is the same.


This giving up is not a repenting.

It’s a deep honoring of yourself.


When the ocean comes to you

as a lover,

marry at once,


for God’s sake!


Don’t postpone it!

Existence has no better gift.


No amount of searching will find this.


A perfect falcon,

for no reason

has landed on your shoulder,

and become yours.

The Accidental Feminist Guide of Cinema

The Accidental Feminist Guide of Cinema

by Cynthia Rodríguez

It is no secret that the film industry tends to be quite unfriendly to women both in front of the camera and behind the scenes. TV Tropes, that wonderful encyclopedia of media cliches, includes several stereotypes that have been repeated for decades on the silver screen: disposable women, hysterical women, screaming women, “single women seeking good men”, and — my personal (least) favourite — women in the refrigerator. Outside the realm of fiction, the disparities can still be noticed: in the Oscars, only four women have been nominated for Best Director, and only Kathryn Bigelow has won. A bitter “victory” considering Bigelow’s film The Hurt Locker was your average fake patriotic American Army drama where the “baddies” looked like the son of Mr Patel from the newsstands. Almost like celebrating that we have a female Prime Minister now, ne?

But I digress. As a feminist pop culture fiend, I am always on the lookout for films that are deep and empowering in their own ways, starring multidimensional women and girls, and perhaps critiquing the circumstances in which these people are placed. They don’t have to be films directed by women (I mean, look at Bigelow’s impeccable record: Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty…) or written by women. Heck, they don’t necessarily have to have an explicit feminist agenda. In fact, the most concealed, the better. Like it happened with Mad Max: Fury Road, a bunch of dudes can walk into the cinema expecting super-masculine action but get trolled hard by feminist liberation and, by the time they realise Imperator Furiosa is the main character and Mad Max is just a cog in the dystopian vehicle plot, it’s too late.

Here’s a list of films I’ve found surprisingly feminist and empowering. A lot of them might surprise you:

Yep, Showgirls

One of the worst films of the 90s. Rated NC-17 for excessive nudity, even if half of the time this nudity is not of a sexual nature — literally, people getting changed in their dressing rooms. It depicts the strong friendship between smalltown Nomi and costume designer Molly. Nomi is strong and defends her line of work, and once she becomes famous, she prefers to stick to her values and avenge her friend than to turn a blind eye and stand up as others (quite literally) fall down. Also, that dance move thing with your hands across your face is legendary.

Sucker Punch 

Zach Snyder’s dream movie about a group of girls locked in a cabaret/mental institution/realm of death and destruction who plot a way to leave their captors through the power of erotic dance, sorority and subconscious fantasy fighting. The soundtrack is packed with girl power: Björk, Skunk Anansie, Emiliana Torrini, Alison Mosshart, the film’s own Emily Browning, most of them covering iconic rock anthems originally written and performed by men. To those who see Sucker Punch as Zach’s wet dream come true, it might be weird to know that his wife Deborah was a producer. Once you see it as the accidental feminist masterpiece it actually is, it all makes sense.

Mean Girls

Yes, there is a lot of girl-on-girl hate and gossip, but there’s also love and camaraderie as Cady Heron finds herself. She may have started as a Trojan Horse aiming to destroy “The Plastics”, but the more she gets to know them, the more she knows their circumstances and the more she knows they are as flawed and insecure as everyone else. The film, co-written by Tina Fey, also shows that every single High School clique has its own inner conflicts and that, after quite a cheesy session at the school’s gym, a lot of rivalries can be mended once we stop tearing each other down.

Josie and the Pussycats

OK, on to the hardcore shit. The ill-fated live action film adaptation of the cartoon series not only was extremely femme-centric and Bechdel-approved, but it was a sharp critique on capitalism and the fusion of marketing and media. Brand logos as aggressive wallpapers, potentially racist agenda prioritising Rachael Leigh Cook’s Josie over Rosario Dawson’s Valerie, TV hosts as pawns of The Powers that Be, and tons of MK-ULTRA imagery and concepts. A surgical deconstruction of pre-9/11’s American teenage entertainment.


These are just a few examples of films that may look shallow or objectifying, but once you get to explore them through a critical eye, you’re blown away by their feminist magic. Also, you can see them with your more “basic” friends, relatives and darlings. Gee, I haven’t even gone further and talked about accidentally positive queer and trans/non-binary led films. Maybe in another post.


Any other examples you can think of, beloved readers?



In a couple of weeks on the 27th February Carise Zangerle-Murray will be the musician in Danni Spooner’s performance ‘Alienate’ a mindful and meditative exploration into the cyborg culture and being a digital native… Offering insight into the wonderful connection between nature and technology…

Danni and Carise originally developed the piece during a residency at Lake Studios in Berlin last September and are now building it further for a performance at the Attenborough Arts Centre as part of the fabulous Destress Fest (huge Thanks to G Sian).

Carise has been going on sound journeys with keyboards of late, becoming quite attracted to the instrument and finding a lot of magic in applying her drumming rhythms to keys. A new musical adventure for Carise.

Stay up to date with info and RSVP on the official Facebook event here:

See more of Carise and Danni’s work on their Instagram pages:
Carise: @folha_ame
Danni: @dcatnni

MmM by Danni Spooner

MmM by Danni Spooner

where do performance ideas come from? where to start?

like most things in life, i cannot answer this in full. and i cannot answer it in short. so, what i will do is grab some coffee and attempt to give you some kind of insight into how the fuck to make work.

the sun, the leaves, the mind, the caterpillars, the winding endeavours of your parents DNA that you hold in your fingertips are all places where performance ideas can come from. they are also starting places. one thing that is also certain about these is that they are all big. massive. these things are all such big ideas and starting places that you are going to need a tip.

think of any of your initial ideas as THE MAXIMUM.

yep. they are the maximum because they are large. they are weighty and hold a lot of information already. information that you may not be aware of yet. information that needs to be delved into, explored, judged, made opinions of, let go, sieved, refined, redefined in your mind and then plop wow you’re at stage two of the tip.

so basically, stage one of the tip is a realisation. a realisation that your initial idea is THE MAXIMUM. because it’s massive. you couldn’t possibly start with such a massive idea. it needs to be simmered down, taken off the excitement overload boil and you need to take your favourite singular piece of rice out of the idea water and name it THE MINIMUM. that’s next. choosing your minimum.

THE MINIMUM is a specific and special aspect of your initial idea.

an example of this may be:

1. i want to look into technology
(has the realisation that technology as an idea is a MAXIMUM since technology as a subject area and idea is very large)
2. i want to focus on how people behave with the cameras in their mobile devices.
(for some reason this is your special focus and therefore your MINIMUM)

so your minimum is the piece of rice you take out of your idea water and all the other pieces of rice are other minimums that you are deciding to ignore because you just really love your chosen piece of rice.

getting to the minimum may be hard. it takes research, it takes enough guts to actually choose something and say “OKAY THIS IS THE ONE”. and once you’ve said such mighty fine words (words that i’m now going to refer to as the ‘call into making art work battle words’) you want to delve into your minimum and find another maximum.

this ‘another maximum’ is not the same maximum that you started off with though, so don’t be fooled or confused or even put off of by this tip. the second maximum comes from your MINIMUM. the second maximum is what you discover is inside your minimum. it’s the exploration of your minimum. it’s what you find out, it’s further research, it’s your process within your minimum, your relationship with it, you know.

finding this second MAXIMUM is a journey. you’ve chosen your piece of special rice and you’re going to put it under a microscope and find that it’s made up of many things. maybe you will enjoy this inspection. maybe you’ll regret choosing such a piece of rice and want to dive back into the idea water to choose another piece. but do not! keep with it! and if you’re enjoying it; good for you.

so to summarise, i guess, here’s the previous example developed:

1. i want to look into technology
(has the realisation that technology as an idea is a MAXIMUM since technology as a subject area and idea is very large)
2. i want to focus on how people behave with the cameras in their mobile devices.
(for some reason this is your special focus and therefore your MINIMUM)
3. my focus on ‘how people behave with the cameras in their mobile devices’ and I are going through a process. we’re learning. we’re discovering. and I’m going to use this well refined focus to create work (another MAXIMUM)

I hope some, if any, of that made sense to you. But, basically, MAXIMUM > MINIMUM > MAXIMUM.

It’s like that idea that we all have a universe inside of us, yet we do not realise the universe inside of others. just ourselves. or something like that.
your ideas are the same.
little rice universes. with galaxies inside.


Ninja Bob’s Top Picks

Ninja Bob’s Top Picks



Hello, my name is Ninja Bob, and for my blog I thought I would share a few of the things which I am currently listening to, and rate really highly!

1. Onra – Chinoiseries 3

Discovered this guy on the House of Verse trip to brighton… An exceedingly helpful record shop worker (bongo records btw) pointed this out and within about 30 seconds of listening to it I was hooked! The story goes that the guy went round Asia collecting records and other forms of music which he then digitised and sampled using an MPC.. Classic beat making and a great finish.. If you like J Dilla or Madlib I bet you will like this!

Best time to listen to this:

When you need some inspiration

Fav tracks:

Pearl Song


The Storm



2. Souljazz presents new york noise:

This album is a classic example of a vinyl collectors travails.. I bought this over 6 months ago from waxworks vinyl shop on queens road on a whim and it sat unopened for the best part of those 6 months! When I finally opened it I found an incredible collection of early/mid 80’s new wave/post punk tracks (think talking heads and poss a bit of LCD soundsystem). The bass lines on some of the tracks where so funky that I felt like I had been possessed by “old greg with his magical box of funk”

Best time to listen to this:

Getting ready to go out to a gig

Fav tracks:

Liquid Liquid – Optimo


Bush Tetras – Can’t Be Funky



3. Age of L.u.n.a:

Not got a fav album as they haven’t done one yet! But I have a great deal of respect for this Hip hop group hailing from London, their style is very much in the mould of ATCQ and other conscious Hip hop groups of the 90’s which is complemented by a beautiful female singing voice from Daniella-Louise Thomas. Not sure if they will ever make it big but it’s great to see a modern day uk act putting out this style of Hip hop.

Best time to listen to this:

Saturday afternoons

Fav tracks:

Blow Me Away


Feels So Good



4. Mr Jukes:

Found this gem on amazon when I was searching for funky/soulful stuff in the mould of childish Gambino and Anderson Paac. While it’s not as good as either of those albums (tbh not much is!!) the album I discovered was a patchwork of interesting ideas, great collaborations and funky grooves.. It’s an odd album in that it’s done by Jack Steadman from Bombay bicycle club, and includes Charles Bradley, De La Soul, Lianna La Havas, Bj the Chicago Kid and a few other guests! And it covers all sorts of genres ranging from Hip hop through jazzy electronica to funk and soul but it works which is all that counts!

Best time to listen to this:

Anytime.. It’s a classic all rounder

Fav tracks:

Angels / Your Love feat BJ The Chicago Kid


Someone New


(The original is actually better than this live version but i couldn’t find a link to it 🙁 )


Guilty pleasure:
Bruno Mars: That’s What I Like

Play this at the basement a lot, and everytime it gets me bopping.. I don’t care.. I LAV ITTTT!!!!!!

Fav banger:
Gotta be Phantasy & Macky Gee – Transition 

Starts off bouncy then gets even bouncier!


I know I’ve neglected the indie/psych/shoegaze stuff on this list but I ran out of time, to redress the balance i will leave you with this this little number..


Can’t do this blog without mentioning Too Many Zooz.. I supported them last week and they totally blew me away. It was like being at a rave, and they had the crowd completely spellbound for a full 90 minutes. Have so much respect for those guys and what they are doing.. There sister band Lucky Chops is rather good as well.. Check out this vid from them.


Much love to everyone. 🙂


Ninja Bob.