Everybody paint Brian: Oblique Strategies explained

My life in the bush of post-its

In the BBC’s “I’m In A Rock’n’roll Band”, a strange alternative universe where all genres except heavy rock never happened, episode 4 focused on the Other One, the member who does something no one really understands and thus takes the band to the outer limits.  Brian Eno was predictably tagged the uber Other One, who left his position serving cocktails from behind a sideboard at the edge of the stage to go off and change the face of popular music as we know it.  Typical of Brian’s braniac working methods were the Oblique Strategies, a deck of cards with various inscrutable instructions on them that he designed in partnership with artist Peter Schmidt, and intended to be whipped out whenever in-studio rows threaten to derail creative proceedings.  They range from the merely Zen, “Use fewer notes” to the properly Grashopperish, “Water”, “Do we need holes?”.  The early versions are collectors items but the latest set can be viewed online here.  It’s also available as an i-phone app, like wow.

I heartily recommend their use and that you concoct some more of your own.  Some I thought of were; “Book an Easyjet flight”, “Commit a fatal act of auto-eroticism”, “Constrict the boa”, “Divide the drums by the number of guitars”, “Claim jobseekers allowance”, “Push pineapple”, “Grind coffee”, “Shaddap you face”.  The sky’s the limit.


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