“Who needs this?”

There’s a lovely piece by the equally lovely Robin Ince about creating things and asking yourself a simple question: who needs this?

It’s something I think about a lot, and like Robin says “my favourite thing about the arts is the potential of connection.” When I write a book or a song, what I want to do more than anything else is to connect with somebody.

I’m very lucky in that I sometimes get to see those connections: sometimes I’ll play a song and see people react to it, or I’l do a book thing and get to talk to people afterwards. I’ve joked that the latter is very dangerous, because it can make you think you’re Bono. But to have someone tell you that your book (or any other thing you’ve created) has been meaningful to them is an astonishing, beautiful thing.


What I love to see is arts and artists that are full of love, that enhance, that make people feel happier to be alive, that offer people new ways of thinking and being.

The older I get the more I feel the same too. I’ve done the hack work, the low hanging fruit, the lazy gag and the easy laugh. But while there may be money in it there’s no skill in it, no fun in it and no love in it. As Robin puts it:

I think there is more bravery in showing love than shouting hate.