One photo a day until I meet Jonathan Harris

31st March

It was only by the skin of my teeth that I actually made it onto the plane.

After my first flight was delayed, they told me that boarding for the connecting flight had already closed.

"I'll see if I can get them to reopen it", said the lady at the connection desk.

I clutched my envelope containing Bill Drummond's cut-up artwork and prayed for another miracle.

After what seemed like a small eternity she finally smiled and handed me a boarding pass, apologising that I wouldn't have my preferred isle seat as there were none left. I thanked her profusely, explaining that I was simply happy to be on the plane and then rushed off in the direction of the previously closed departure gate.

This completely accidental seat allocation turned out to be surprisingly providential. Upon seeing me pull out a book by Albert Camus, the man sitting beside me introduced himself as Derek Pigrum - Artist Researcher. His succinct debut kicked off a marathon of enthusiastic conversation that made us both forget about our cramped circumstances and transformed what would have otherwise been a gruelling 12 hour flight into an inspiring and animated exchange.

Derek wrote a book called Teaching Creativity. He specialises in teaching the techniques of what he calls "multi-modal notebooks". These are notebooks that combine more than one 'mode' or form of expression - for example not only written words, but drawn pictures, diagrams, maps and even pasted-in found objects. It reminded me of the other night when I was looking at Galileo's Wikipedia page. I was reluctant to shut the browser down as it was displaying the page from his notebook which showed the first recorded observations of Jupiter's moons. I thought how I would love to make a collection of my favourite notebooks, most of which according to Derek could be described as "multi-modal". In my list, alongside Galileo's, I would certainly include the notebook's of Leonardo Da Vinci, Casey Neistat and of course the inspiration for this project Jonathan Harris. Derek told me about some other notebooks that would be good to add to this list, like those of Paul ValĂ©ry and Alexander Pushkin.

We also talked about artists studios. He explained how their apparent disorganisation can actually be very important to the creative process. He gave me the example of the Irish painter Francis Bacon who's studio was a complete mess, but which worked very well for him. I wondered if Bill Drummond's studio was messy and what it might look like now that he had my photo stuck in front of his work table. He told me how artists studio's could often be quite small and I agreed that this was indeed the case with Eric Satie. It made me think of the only White Stripes song that I ever really liked: Little Room.

The conversation went on and on. We talked about how acts of creativity might be assisted by chance or coincidence and influenced greatly by whatever is 'at hand' in the moment. We talked about the role of technology in creativity, and especially about how computers might be best adapted to help rather than hinder these processes.

And we kept talking. The day turned into night as our aeroplane sped relentlessly past the sun and then towards it again. Periodically I would look around to see if anyone else was interested by whatever subject we happened to be discussing. I heard one man arguing with his wife and I saw another man completing a Sudoku puzzle.

As the rising sun came into view once more, we fastened our seat belts and prepared for descent. The interruption of the pilot's voice over the loud speaker and a final lull in the conversation gave me time for one last thought:

I wonder who I would have been sitting next to if my first plane had been on time?