Staff Top 10
Top Ten Oblique Strategies

By: Nick Southall

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Posted 05/15/2007 - 09:48:17 AM by meatbreak:
 I think this is the greatest article Stylus has and will ever publish. Nice work Nick - You are super cool.
Posted 05/15/2007 - 10:58:42 AM by cwperry:
 I can't quite agree with meatbreak that this is the ultimate Stylus article ever, but I did like it and it sparked me to almost buy a pack of the cards (I've wanted them for years), but YIKES?!!? Sixty bucks/thirty pounds?!?!
Posted 05/15/2007 - 11:58:02 AM by meatbreak:
 Stylus writers' high-browed opinions on music all come to a dead end because they are all one finite persons opinion on a finite subject. This is the first thing to smash a hole in the wall. More Eno's doing than Southall's but he gets the credit for doing it and making it a fun read.

But why did you have to do an Eno feature in the weeks that Florenz has been going onandonandonandon about him?! I await her insightful dissection like a moth watching the lamp-lighters shadowy approach.
Posted 05/18/2007 - 05:34:53 AM by meatbreak:
 O.K. I withdraw my previous comment. Well, not entirely, but I think I should elaborate. 'High-brow' was definitely the wrong phrase to use and I realised that at the time but couldn't stop myself from pressing the button. I think I probably meant 'intellectually cultured' or something similar, rather than 'high-brow'. If that doesn't sound too horrific. I really meant that nearly all articles - as I guess should be the case - are not widely applicable, whereas this Eno piece, by the very nature of the cards, is the most constructive, creatively enhancing piece I have ever read on the site. It is more about the subject matter than the writing but I thought that Nick did an excellent job in illustrating each point in perceptive and amusing ways.

The 'smashing a hole in the wall bit' is really to do with the ideas behind the cards. I haven't read many pieces on Stylus that are specifically about improving creativity and giving advice. The Soulseeking stuff (where has that gone?) and the end of year thoughts (some of which were honestly the most moving, personal and insightful pieces of writing I've read on the web) still don't quite encroach on the territory this article covers. There may have been some before that I might have missed, but this piece alone stands out to me as the one that isn't merely a commentary or dissection but one that actually tells people to start again as whatever they are doing, and will ever do, is not good enough and will always need improving.

No piece of art is flawless (because it's been made by human hands) and instead of explaining this on an individual case basis the article (Well, Eno), just says everything you do needs looking at and improving, reimagining and ceaselessly revising. That's how Nick's piece isn't finite. It's about what can happen as opposed to events that have already been. Like I said, that's the doing of the cards and subject matter rather than Nick's writing itself, but his name is at the bottom so he gets half the kudos.

One of my problems is that there is always an element of goat-getting in everything I do. I can't dig into anything without accidentally-on-purpose flicking a clod in someone's eye.

Posted 05/18/2007 - 10:37:44 AM by vohpoh:
 Nick,long time no read! Welcome back. And a fine comeback I might add. It's highly unlikely that these cards will be available where I live anytime soon, so I'll have stick to the online versions. Very inspiring indeed.
Posted 05/18/2007 - 11:43:30 AM by meatbreak:
 The Internet + Mail Order = Availability in an area near you!
Posted 05/18/2007 - 02:11:14 PM by vohpoh:
 Online Shopping in the UK + Unreliable Chilean mail system = 1 month waiting - ?35 + No cards at all! Maybe I should check Oblique Strategies for a better approach.
Posted 05/19/2007 - 03:39:57 AM by NickSouthall:
 Meatbreak, thank you for your kind words firstly, but have you read this piece - - cos that was certainly intended to do what you describe this one as doing.