Robert Fripp

Robert Fripp's Diary

Monday 15 December 2003

A day gentling with The

A day gentling with The Horse in Canterbury.

DGM SoundWorld Two.

This is a significant moment: the first Tone Probe session in the new DGM SoundWorld studio.

Honouring the aphorism play is at the heart of creative endeavour we began our evening by returning upstairs to SoundWorld One and playing a DAT of a track, recorded by David several years ago when the DGM studio was based 100 yards down the road. It is a very playful & good-spirited track, with more than just a smile on offer: it smiles, laughs & quietly disturbs. And it has not dated. David suggests this is "because it was never of its time". The track features the mellotron played by Ian on ITCOTCK & myself on ITWOP.

So, we have begun as we intend to continue, then.

The DGM years of being a new-style record company, that simultaneously suffered the burden of being expected to deliver old-style benefits along with new-style benefits, stifled the free play of playing. The Tone Probe years, of filling the gap between KC what-is-available & KC what-is-necessary, had the same effect. Now, Tone Probe is back in the business of play & playing.

Q. How do you know when something that claims to be serious is actually serious?
A. It is accompanied by humour.

Back in DGM SoundWorld Two, our first downstairs project is to prepare the Second Edition of Frame By Frame. It is now over 12 years since David & I compiled the First Edition. At that time, in 1991, Endless Grief was in full, appalling & ongoing mode. My professional life had been undermined: my income stream (along with the income stream of other artists) had been diverted from the EG Music Group into Athol & Co. to support the collapsing affairs of managers Messrs. Alder & Fenwick. The prime focus of my attention had been diverted from music, Guitar Craft, and most of everything else, to discovering & addressing the details of EG's abdication of professional responsibility & gross impropriety. This is a story waiting to be recounted at greater length.Also since 1991:

the digital domain has been transformed;
the entire KC classic catalogue has been re-mastered;
there are an additional three KC studio albums & two more KC incarnations;
the Collectors' Club has hugely extended the available live archive;
copyright restrictions on the material have lifted;
licensing relationships have changed;
professional relationships have changed;
the structure of the music industry has changed.
And now there is DGM.

Last year, while re-mastering ITCOTCK with Simon Heyworth at Sanctuary in London, we made a significant discovery. We were using the best-generation master tapes then available in the Virgin tape stores (Virgin, because the catalogue had been sold by EG to Virgin in the horror years). Among the pile was an anomaly: a tape of Side Two. It seemed to be an earlier generation of the album than the one used to generate sub-masters (for the tape-to-vinyl process) in 1969. The anomaly turned out to be the originating first-generation master, the mixes taken directly from the 8-track recordings, used for all the original sub-masters (some of which were, sadly, used to generate sub-masters in turn).

This is as close to the multi-track as it gets.

Simon managed to trace the missing side (which had lost its label) and, while I was recently Crimsonising in the US, made a state-of-the-art flat analogue-to-digital transfer. He sent the transfer, with considerable excitement, to DGM HQ to await my return. This is the version we are now playing.

The sonic quality is astonishing. Tape hiss (which doubles with each tape generation) is minimal. While I type this, listening to the mellotron on ITCOTCK, two feet from my left hand is the actual mellotron being played by Ian.

22.06 Moving along to the Krimson News guestbook --

Joined: 08 Apr 2003
Posts: 123
Posted: Sat Dec 13, 2003 8:55 pm Post subject: Damn, SE...

-- I remember accidentally seeing Madonna years ago (circa 1982)...she was opening for one of my fav bands at the time (A Certain Ratio), and her small audience of fans (about 50 to 75) was totally into her. Me? I thought the recorded music and silly dancing was totally jive. I thought ACR completely blew her set out of the water, and I never even though about Madonna again until I saw her on some awards show a few years later singing "Like a Virgin".

In 1982 Madonna was on Warner Brothers, as were Crimson: we had moved there in 1981. Liz Rosenberg, who later became Madonna's PA, was a Warner publicist at the time. While visiting the Warner publicist corridor on West 53rd., I bumped into Madonna. Liz introduced us & we shook hands. Madonna smiled: she had the edge that stars have & successful professionals don't.

Madonna (a recent signing) had no management. Paddy Spinks, Crimson's manager within EG, was well-regarded within Warners' & Pad was approached with a view Madonna being managed by EG. Paddy sent a record to Mark Fenwick at the EG office in London. A month later, and no reply, Paddy asked Mark directly if he had listened to the record. No: EG weren't interested, reportedly, because women are always a problem. Perhaps their management of Toyah (1983) was an acknowledgement by EG that they had missed the boat a year before.

And now, Six Degrees Of Separation at work --

1. Madonna's English estate is Ashcombe, Tollard Royal, some 10 miles up the Chalke Valley from DGM HQ.
2. Ashcombe was the rented home of Cecil Beaton between 1932/3-1947/8. When Beaton's 15 year lease expired, Edith Olivier took Cecil house-hunting along the Chalke Valley & showed him Reddish House. Beaton bought it and lived there until his death in January 1980.
3. Toyah & Robert lived there between December 1987 & July 1999.
4. DGM was based in Reddish House Cottages before moving 50 yards down the road, also in July 1999 --
5. Which is where David recorded his playful & good spirited track, with more than a smile on offer, on the very same mellotron played by Ian on ITCOTCK & myself on ITWOP --
6. The mellotron that we are currently listening to and is within a stretch of the hand typing this.

22.20 ITWOP is now loading into SoundWorld Two's G5 & Logic: Pictures Of A City: I don't envy Jakko dealing with the guitar parts on this.

23.16 David has gone home. An early night for Tone Probe, then.
Associational moving along -- Emory replies to Rogadiare --

Joined: 08 Apr 2003
Posts: 123
Posted: Fri Dec 05, 2003 2:37 pm Post subject: RudeCraft

"Exaggerated recoil from camera flashes and refusal to take a bow or wave are other examples of the drive-to-greater-rudeness that has steadily been developed over the last 30 years or so."

So are you implying that there's a whole 'nother batch of aphorisms we haven't seen, related to the art of RudeCraft --

Joined: 19 Mar 2003
Posts: 40
Location: England
Posted: Fri Dec 05, 2003 2:25 pm Post subject: reviving a dead thread as usual

It's not quite true that Robert Fripp has failed to develop an effective strategy for dealing with unwanted fan attention. He has a very effective method of coping which is well documented in his own diaries: rudeness.

The strategy I adopt for dealing with unwanted fan attention is to decline offers to engage. Is this a secret? And, for me, the strategy is mostly effective. For many years before this I frequently attempted to engage, and to engage reasonably, when facing fan situations and people who were eminently unreasonable. These encounters are mostly unreported & unknown, although several have been posted (such as Mike Dickson's).

Very briefly, a working generalisation on fan encounters is that they end unhappily:

1. For the fan, if they do not get what they expect & demand;

2. For the public figure, if they:
i) decline to humour the demands & expectations of the fan;
ii) humour the demands & expectations of the fan.

The responses of those who seem determined to engage, despite much available evidence that encounters with Fripp are not likely to go well & their offer/s being declined, are frequently heated. The declining-to-engage strategy seems to be mainly interpreted as:

1. Rudeness, as with Rogadaire;
2. Rejection (they only wanted to say hello after all, as with Matt The Tri-Cranial & his pal Hurt Brat, Zen master);
3 Disrespect (for those who have parted with their hard-earned pay & their associated consumer rights) as outside the Chicago hotel on this recent tour.

The reactions of those whose offer-to-treat has been declined tell me more about the posters than about Fripp. The reactions of others are not my responsibility, nor am I prepared to take them on board as if they were.

The Happy Gigster's Guide To Fan Encounters has this useful advice -- Fans have rights & the Gigster does not: this is The Golden Rule.

So here, one more time --
The reactions of others are not my responsibility;
nor am I prepared to take them on board as if they were.

It surprises me that Rogadaire has seemingly failed to recognise a strategy on clear display for years.

Whatever I write on this subject is unlikely to convince anyone who has not had my experience, nor is willing/able to put themselves in the place of another. But, a short comment in response to Rogadaire's Exaggerated recoil from camera flashes and refusal to take a bow or wave are other examples of the drive-to-greater-rudeness that has steadily been developed over the last 30 years or so --

There is another Golden Rule, this time in The Conventional Guide To Gigsterism which states that the performer must absorb whatever the public throws at them. This is an ancilliary clause to the show must go on. This cliche is so widely known that audiences do not expect, nor anticipate, that a performer might do anything but catch the offal thrown at them; and gratefully absorb any violation, bad manners & unfitting conduct offered them.

I have, reasonably and at length, argued my position in public for several years. The main difficulty in principle, for those who disagree with my view, is not that they disagree, but that (in a Crimson & RF context) photography & recording are knowingly and deliberately non-consensual actions. This is indefensible. I don't agree and people will do it anyway don't work as arguments, explanations or defences.

There is no way of getting around this: intentionally non-consensual behaviour offers violence.

I experience this violence, often in subtle ways (and frequently in unsubtle ways as well).

Whether posters, such as Rogadaire, accept that my experience is actual, rather than imaginary, is also irrelevant. I experience my experience and, as I get older, am better able to explore that experiencing. Public performance is increasingly hard to bear, and increasingly damaging. Something like, arriving at a dojo for a tai chi tournament & finding myself embroiled in a bar room brawl.

In response, I have given myself permission to defend myself, where necessary.
If I have to walk offstage to avoid photography, I have permission to do so. If I feel unable to acknowledge an audience where the violation threatens me, I have permission to not acknowledge the audience.

This is accompanied by a deep regret that the focus of my musical life, now for over 42 years, must move elsewhere. This is because I am no longer able/willing to absorb the effects of the care-less-ness that is at the heart of public performance in contemporary commercial culture. The dopey & unreflecting comments of Rogadaire demonstrate the difficulty (impossibility?) of attempting to engage in public discussion on the subject.