Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Ian Grimble and Richard Matthews of Communion Music at 2KHz, Crouch End, London
Martin Creed has caused people to throw eggs at his artwork. He's thrown people into tizzies over what he turns his creative thoughts into. It seems like all of this should be validation for the peculiarities, for just allowing the thoughts to percolate in flowing form, for brewing and then scraping the cream off the top and presenting that cream to others, whether they like it or not. Creed's art seems to be mainly done for himself, and what great art isn't? It's not often commercially viable, but who gives a shit about any of that anyway. He tackles those random questions and concerns that come to him in flashes and he makes them into answers that he can live with. This is the man who, in 2001, entered his piece, "Work No. 227: The Lights Going On And Off," for the Turner Prize (an award presented annually to a British visual artist under the age of 50). The exhibit was nothing more than an empty room in which the lights were set to a timer to flip on and off every five seconds. He was controversially awarded the top prize and as Madonna presented it to him, she said, "At a time when political correctness is valued over honesty, I would also like to say, 'Right on, motherfuckers!'" on live television.
Creed introduces one song here with an explanation that gets to the core of what he is truly like. It's an explanation that is so thoughtful that it feels like bullshit, but then you start to realize is that all we have is our own bullshit to think about every day, all day long, and it's instrumental into making us who we actually are, rather than just another warm thing wearing clothes and pretending to be something more interesting. He explains of the song, "I Like Things," "It was one of the first times I tried to write a song with words cause the first songs I wrote were all kind of instrumental. This one, I thought I'd try to write about my feelings because I think that feelings are the most important things in the world, even though you can't see them. But when I started trying to write about my feelings, I…well, I don't really…I think a lot of the time I think I don't know how I feel about things because I don't often feel something instantly and then later I feel differently about it. So I don't really trust my feelings. I thought maybe if I tried to write the exact opposite of what I feel, maybe that would be closer to the way I really feel."