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How did I get here? And where does all that creative inspo come from?

Just had a whoosh of inspiration. It happens now and again.

Got me thinking, where does all the inspiration come from? So, I thought it might be fun to take a little mystery tour down memory lane to find out.

I’ll go chronologically, just to stop myself whanging about in a million and one directions at once.

A little journey to meet the characters and events that inspired a creative career

1964 – 1974:

Dad was my hero; mum was my rock. He lived in a fantasy land; she doodled flowers and faces.
An only child, they had the time to lavish me with the nurturing attention every nipper needs.

They instilled in me a love of nature and the great outdoors. We holidayed in Wales and on the Yorkshire Moors. We rambled around the Peak District. They got me into bird watching, and drawing and being nosy about how the world works. They paid for subscriptions to part-works, ‘The World of Wildlife’ and ‘Speed & Power’.

Reading, board games and ‘making your own entertainment’ were a big deal. Culture meant everything from Count Basie to Strauss, The Rolling Stones to Tubular Bells and The Generation Game to The War of the Worlds.

They were firm, but fair. Good values were important. Mum was my Sunday School teacher, but the fanatical end of religion was never a thing. I was encouraged to explore, be open-minded, be happy, be me. In short, I had fantastic role models.

Like most kids, TV was a big deal. Notable mentions:
– Bill and Ben (the nonsense language was music to my ears)
– Noggin the Nog (dark and mysterious Norse tales)
– Hector’s House (“silly old Hector”)
– Roobarb and Custard (the music, the colours, the chaos)
– Tom & Jerry (again, the music, but also the out-and-out creative ingenuity)

Roobarb & Custard, Dracula Lives, The Cat in the Hat – the blog of Jonathan Wilcock

– A compendium of short stories that was read back to front a squillion times
– Anything by Dr. Seuss
– The Famous Five
– Beatrix Potter (a particular soft spot for Squirrel Nutkin)
– Treasure Island (this was the most hypnotic, scariest story for me)

– Dandy, Beano, Beezer, Topper, Whizzer and Chips, Sparky…
– TV Comic, The Avengers, Dracula Lives, Planet of the Apes, Spiderman…


I was still obsessed with reading and TV, but writing, drawing and music were now the main focus.

– Created my own comic books and short stories
– Drew and drew and drew (mostly weird fantasy worlds, superheroes and monsters)
– Wrote stupid songs and poems
– Read lots of horror, anything from The Day of the Triffids to Psycho Comic

I guess every kid has that moment when music enters their life. One minute it’s just part of the background of your lifescape – T.Rex, Showaddywaddy, Mud, Roxy Music, Bay City Rollers – next minute it’s an obsession – Queen, Genesis, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath.

Jaws, T.Rex, The Good The Bad & The Ugly, The Day of the Triffids – the blog of Jonathan Wilcock

I dumped my violin (grade 4 if you were wondering) and bit by bit, pieced together a drum kit.

I played every second I could between homework and bedtime. Poor old neighbours. I joined brass bands, wind bands, orchestras and jammed with anyone and everyone. Me and my long-haired mates formed a rubbish school band, ‘Psychophagus’. Music tastes centred around classical and rock of all flavours, from Gong to The Groundhogs.

Props to Mum and Dad for putting up with the noise and driving me and my kit all over the country.

Top albums (the ones I nearly wore out):

– George Gershwin, Rhapsody in Blue
– Gustav Holst, The Planets Suite
– Sibelius, Symphony No.2
– Queen II
– Tangerine Dream, Rubicon
– Led Zeppelin, Physical Graffiti
– Black Sabbath, Vol. 4
– The Groundhogs, Split
– Deep Purple, Made in Japan

Top movies: Spaghetti Westerns, 007, Hammer Horror, Spielberg…

Top gigs: Led Zeppelin, Queen, Tangerine Dream, Genesis, Brighouse & Rastrick Brass Band…

Top telly: Ripping Yarns, Space 1999, Starsky & Hutch, The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin…


The art school years.

Being exposed to a bunch of arty-farty creative types was pure joy. I wasn’t the only weirdo in the village.

It was great learning about new music, film, art, comics… Here’s a quick run down of the people I met and their own obsessions that enriched my life:

– Rich: Heavy Metal (the graphic comic) and Soho’s ‘Dark They Were and Golden Eyed’
– Wayne: Kiss (his bedroom was a shrine)
– Darrel: Adam and the Ants, skinny black jeans and cider
– Nick: Echo & the Bunnymen
– Aftab and Keith: Man Ray, Irving Penn and Eve Arnold
– Alex: The Wedding Present, The The and jumble sale rummaging
– Paul: ’50s film noir and ’80s straight-to-video trash movies
– Ben: Dario Argento
– Des: Jean-Paul Goude, Hip-hop and funky beats
– Lemmy: Devil-may-care fearlessness and Motörhead (no coincidence)
– Riz: Humility and folk rock
– Tony E: All the great advertising Copywriters (and copywriting in general)

Adam Ant, Man Ray, Grace Jones by Jean-Paul Goude – the blog of Jonathan Wilcock

My universe expanded to embrace jazz, new wave and reggae; typography, photography and filmmaking, and a cast of characters with all sorts of wonderful creative urges.


A career in London’s ad land. A whirlwind of highs and lows.
Worked with amazing photographers including Andreas Heumann, Gered Mankowitz, Dave Stewart, and Clive Arrowsmith. Was guided and partnered by a gaggle of generous/potty Creative Directors, Art Directors and Copywriters. Worked on huge brands with massive budgets. Hit rock bottom and climbed to a few doddery heights. It was a heady time that I was privileged to be a part of, but my liver was glad it came to an end.

– Joined Ronnie Scott’s
– Hung out at Freud’s, The Lamb and Flag, The Dog and Duck, and The Phoenix and Firkin
– Lived in Herne Hill, Camden, Tooting and our (Mrs. W and I’s) first house in Surrey
– Got married in Jamaica
– Built a recording studio (dance music and dub reggae)
– Set up Friday-night Paint Club (even had a few exhibitions)
– Put together an illustration portfolio (no one was interested)
– Full-timed, freelanced and worked for (I’m guessing now) about 50 different agencies

Ren & Stimpy, Ronnie Scott's, Max Headroom – the blog of Jonathan Wilcock


– The Dice Man
– Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
– The Wasp Factory
– The Bridge Across Forever
– The Shining
– Rough Guide to India


– Ren & Stimpy
– Max Headroom
– Twin Peaks
– Bottom
– Vic Reeves Big Night Out
– Brazil
– Withnail & I


You know what it’s like. It’s all a bit of a blur. Much of the memories of the last two and a bit decades may have happened in the ’80s or ’90s. Who knows; who really cares. But, here’s a short list of the sights, sounds, smells and cultural knick-knacks that’ve added depth and character to the mix:

– Leftfield at Brixton Academy
– Pavarotti at Verona’s amphitheatre
– Grooverider in some weird basement in Brighton
– Jah Shaka at The Rocket, Holloway Road
– Aphex Twin in Battersea
– Wandering in the Himalayas
– Snorkelling off Koh Phi Phi
– Sunrises over the Gower and the Mandir at Prashanti Nilayam
– Moving to the coast
– Ross Noble at The Apollo
– Momix at Sadler’s Wells
– Oliver Samuels at Catford Theatre
– Reading The Bhagavadgita
– Playing in a 400-strong samba drum band
– Discovering haloumi

Leftfield, Ross Noble, Sunset in Sussex, Jah Shaka – the blog of Jonathan Wilcock

And that – life and the people who occupy it – is where creative inspiration comes from.

Thank you to all the gorgeous humans I’ve met along the way. And the rest I’ve yet to encounter.

Wishing you all a life full of wonder and beauty.

Love and patience.

Jonathan x

Jonathan Wilcock (that’s me) is a Senior Freelance Copywriter.
You can drop me a line here, or email