All work and little play made Stanley Kubrick an outstanding film director

One annoying thing about creative geniuses I have noticed is that they all work ridiculously hard. This means that if you have a liking for leisure (as I do) and know how to switch off (as I try to), you are never going to be a creative star even if you have natural talent (as do must of us, probably). It takes blood, sweat and tears.  

Stan the man
Stanley Kubrick is a perfect example. The current exhibition at the London Design Museum, Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition (on until 15 September) is going to depress you thoroughly if the great achievements of other people only help to underline just how inferior you are.  

The good news is that if you have a tendency to be a perfectionist, which is often a curse of creative types, this exhibition will make you feel that such a quality is a good thing. 

Kubrick was renowned for his obsessive perfectionism, taking control over as many parts of the filmmaking process as he could. Directing films must surely be one of the hardest of the creative jobs, as it involves making decisions about so many areas – from music, lighting, costumes, make-up, acting, special effects, writing and filming. A whole orchestra needs to not just be directed, but almost created from scratch.  

Huge range
Another aspect of Kubrick that is impressive is the sheer variety of his films, you would never have thought they could come from just one mind. From Lolita to 2001: A Space Odyssey, from Spartacus to The Shining, from Barry Lyndon to Eyes Wide Shut.  

My top exhibit was a prop from my favourite of Kubrick’s films, the Shining. It is the typewriter that the main character Jack Torrance (played brilliantly by Jack Nicholson), sits at constantly typing the line “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. I don’t know why I love the scene so much when Jack’s wife (played equally brilliantly by Shelley Duval) finds that instead of the novel he was supposed to be writing, her husband has typed hundreds of pages with just that one line repeated over, and over again. Perhaps because it taps into a deep fear that all writers have that either a) they will get writer’s block, or b) all they produce is the same rubbish, again and again.  

It is also an ironic line to find so prominent in an exhibition that proves that for Kubrick, an enormous amount of hard work certainly did not make him dull.