Robert Fripp

Robert Fripp's Diary

Monday 22 March 2010

Convento La Pace, Sassoferrato, Italy.



Waking at 06.00 with the bells, rising at 06.10.

Morning Sitting at 07.15.
Breakfast at 08.00.

A wonderful new Gaucho aphorism was announced at breakfast: Welcome the expected.

This aphorism is authentic, and carved on an inside wall of The Basement. It is precisely applicable to the strummers in last night’s Orchestra: pumping away at what they knew & would not leave; because to do so would threaten their sense of identity – they were their strumming! If the strumming stopped, they ceased to be.


09.16 Qualities of time & our experiencing of it…

Creative Time
My beginning & end are not apart
 I Am one instantaneous moment of presence

Time’s Cycle                                                                  Eternity
Welcome the unexpected                                           This is the first time

Time’s Arrow
One thing after another
Welcome the expected

The ways in which we experience time is governed by the degree of our development; alternatively expressed, by our level of being, whatever we might understand by that. Meanwhile, a chainsaw saws outside, and the dogs are barking. In this way, heaven & earth hold hands: heaven beckons to the dogs & the man wielding the chainsaw. The dogs love their bones & the workman will get to have his weekend to himself with his family.

Personal meeting at 09.30.

09.45    The personal meeting, coincidentally, concerned time & our experiencing of it. In this case, writing a personal history where many of the events are, seemingly, beyond recall. One memory has recently returned, retrieved from a pain in part of the body, and linked to a particular unhappy experience in youth.

Meeting Hernan to visit the church at 09.55.

11.52    An outline plan of procedures in the church for the performance. This is an astonishing place, the building at least four centuries old.

The Orchestra met at 10.30.

Three independent Circles within one large Circle. Terrible. Strumming. The conductor found their feet carrying them into the perimeter circle & putting their hand over the strings of one strummer, one of the relentless strummers from last night, to end the sounds that represent a personal disconnection of the strummer from the Orchestra as a whole.

The configuration moved to three concentric Circles, standing. Smaller Circles appeared from within the larger Circles, and began moving; the Orchestra morphing from mainly-static to mainly-in-motion.

12.58    T’ai Chi at 12.15 on the football field.

13.37    Lunch at 13.00.

A performance was presented & someone booed the performer.

Mr. Paolo offered Kindergarten Guitar, but at the wrong time & place. This was addressed & KG is now scheduled for 16.30.

Sandra will be presenting a few Alexander Secrets of her own, at 15.00. These secrets are not hidden at all, and are freely available to anyone without a guitar.

Conventionally at GC meals, comments, reports & observations are presented. However, given the dining room’s size & difficult acoustics, and a reticence among those present to articulate clearly & volubly, this has not been the case on this course. But Mark B was called upon to present his observation from The OCG II performance in Seattle last November. An important observation & report: Mark had realized that he was riffing.

MB:    Much as I am now.
RF:    No! Now you know you are riffing. This is quite different.    Now, you can stop.

17.28    Practising. Resting. Tea. A performance. Someone booed the performance.

Personal meetings: of four meetings, two concerned Chief Feature. This is now four people on three consecutive days that have discovered for themselves, and can articulate, their Chief Features; without quite connecting up the dots & seeing the effects in their lives.


18.25    For the board…

Views From The Conductor’s Podium.

If you know what you are going to play, play something else;
or nothing at all.

After all, why hit the right note when a lot more notes get in the way?

One string is often sufficient;
and sometimes already one string too many.

Rhythm becomes more apparent when we stop playing from time to time.

Dynamics are good, and more obvious when some notes are quieter than others.

If you like to hit things loudly, constantly, relentlessly, consider becoming a drummer.

Loud, endless strumming = death.

Good to listen to yourself;
but listening to others is necessary.

Remain in motion, whether stationary or not:
Stillness is dynamic, and only appears to be static.

Breathing is permissible

The criteria are reliability, repeatability & responsibility.

You are playing with friends;
whether you like them or not,
whether they like you, or not;
whether we know it or not.

If none of these apply to you, a career in artist management, A&R or drumming is waiting.


23.07    Dinner at 19.30 with several performances, one of which was musical. Interesting: how do we know one performance is musical & another is simply fine, but not imbued with the essence of music?

And a first at a GC meal: texting / e-mailing from a mobile ‘phone while at the table & during the meal.
This is probably not the right time, but it is certainly not the right place.
This is probably not the right time, but it is certainly not the right place.

Meeting immediately afterwards with the SSG to discuss its constitution; and how to accommodate new members in a way that is appropriate to their condition.

Straight into a SSG IV meeting, the DU III study group led by Dr. Mike.

The OCG in the ballroom at 22.00. The OCG was waiting in the corridor – there were no chairs set up. The conductor went inside; Tobin led c. 95 players, spiraling into a ballroom without chairs.

Orchestra: when ready, please begin.

Then a wild organism went into motion, Circles, spirals, attracting & losing members. The door opened & The OCG followed Mr. Paolo out & down the corridor, winding around the stairs & staircase, returning with a wonderful whizz-in-motion as the Team snaked down & back into the ballroom; where other motions continued & in various ways until finding a quiescence c. 23.03.

One of the Staff was afraid at one point, when there was a leaping-in-the-air & a primal-pounding of chords. They asked Hernan: please tell them to stop! My favourite point: Mr. Paolo leading the Orchestra snake back into the corridor-to-the-ballroom with a walking-whizz whizzing back out & up the staircase. The low point: endless strumming in 4 at pudding tempo. Clearly, the Views From The Podium has not been much read. So, tomorrow we will ask Fernando the Translator to make a translation & read it at a meal.