Robert Fripp

Robert Fripp's Diary

Friday 08 June 2007

Apartment Quite Acceptable Buenos Aires


Apartment Quite Acceptable, Buenos Aires.


Following morning reading, the beginning-day began with practising, in marked distinction to conventional e-flurrying & computing. And, a reflective practising.

The effect of a bright idea is to undermine the aim which, nominally, it serves.

Morning press I…








Following discussion with Hernan & the Team here, I better understand the strange currents at yesterday’s performance.

When a performer moves into a venue, they walk into an established way of doing things. Part of this is in the venue’s conventions & performance traditions: the kind of performance/s, the audiences who use the space, the nature of promoter (municipal, commercial, charitable); and, on a functional level, the way of doing things established by the people who work there. Simply expressed: a venue is owned by the people who work in the venue. Artists are only visitors (sometimes barely tolerated); the theatre serves the staff’s interests; therefore the visiting artists are expected to act in accordance with the staff’s way-of-doing-things; ie the staff are not there to serve the artists.

When I walk on stage, I own the space. When I walk onstage with The LCG, we own the space. This is an artistic necessity. The stage does not belong to the venue’s electrician. The stage does not belong to the venue’s lighting person. The stage does not belong to the venue’s monitor-mixer. The stage does not belong to the backstage security personnel. The stage does not belong to concessionaires. This may, to an innocent audient, seem self-evident. O innocent!

The venue’s electrician, light operator, monitor mixer, backstage security et al, resent the artist’s assumption of primacy; challenge it in small ways, and sometimes large ways. From my perspective, constant movement, twitching, checking of mobile telephones, wittering conversations & blank staring, contribute the presence-of-absence to a space where the presence-of-presence is central. My performer-response is to move the absence-of-presence offstage, and out of the immediate performance environment. This is resented by staff who assume (on principle or by long usage) that the stage & all around has been constructed to support their own interests. Their (to me, careless) activities are for them legitimate; for us, dangerous.

One of the venue’s people has been moved offstage during our performances.  Why? On the first night, while standing & collecting myself offstage stage right, about to go on, I saw this person directly opposite looking at his mobile ‘phone while moving into the booth directly in front of me. He would have spent the entire performance directly in my sight line. This is only one small example.

The lights on our press call here (Tuesday 29th. May) were awful. Lighting people find it exceptionally difficult to set lights & leave them unmoving. Why? Because lighting people express themselves by moving lights. Who cares if this unsettles the performance? It’s self-expression! What relevance does this have to a performance? Who cares! The lighting person does the lights!

The LCG players are trained in maintaining a sense of presence. Very few venue staff of my acquaintance have comparable training or experience. Performance space is sacred space; and The LCG moves its own space & time into a given situation. This upsets those comfortable with fixed procedures & when the comfortable are disrupted, they disrupt back. Like, last night, the lights in the balcony were switched off against our request, a minor “breakdown” in the event. Those identified with daily procedures, which are removed, feel their identities & very being under threat, divested of power, and react by power-plays that demonstrate their potency. For example: simple problems occur in the power supply, safe storage of equipment becomes surprisingly unsafe, problems in accounting suddenly arise. All of these need to be addressed by the production manager. Unless Hernan had taken on the role of promoter here, we would currently not be performing in Argentina (neither would Crimson have come here in 1994).

12.43  Aims of The House:
developing a new generation of GC repertoire, exercises & assistant instructors;
refining our practice;
codifying & formalising the results of our ongoing work over the preceding 22 years.

Helpful comment: this is what you can do to make money.

A better approach: this is what I can do to make money, if I support your venture. If I don’t support your venture, I make no comment. You seem to know what you’re doing, so I’ll let you operate in the field of your own expertise, speciality & experience; and I’ll do the same in mine to generate funds for you because I support your aim. If I don’t support your aim, and/or have no confidence in your expertise & judgement, I’ll hold my peace & we will all have easier lives: myself by doing nothing, you by not having to counter the negative effects of my witless, dopey, uniformed but well-meaning suggestions.

A Bright Idea: how does this throw the process off course? The “first conscious shock” is where we make a commitment to the process, from ourselves. We become part of the process, and make it part of us. A Bright Idea hands our commitment to another (ie we are not committing), while redefining the aim. So, instead of a GC House where practising & researching take place, RF reforms KC for the RAH (or takes on some other professional undertaking); in both, Guitar Craft is not addressed. Rather, the one person who must necessarily be addressing the Aim, the founder, is stuck dealing with notions that have, at best, only a tangential connection. At the core of this Bright Idea are distraction & irrelevancy; and the likelihood of raising money for the (first) Aim, unlikely.

GC is not a business, although it must be businesslike. There is profit, but none that can be easily accounted; there is equity, but none that can be simply distributed.

This morning I have been out, feeling the currents, seeing possibilities disappear.

12.56  There are 22 now committed to tithing.

15.07 A wonderful lunch, cat nap, and now practising.

17.18  A good afternoon practising. Developing variations: extension.

00.25  A 17.15 lobby-call to the venue I…










What is this? I…




Mr. Beefy is instructing me in Axon-editing.

Dressing room of the English star…


Soundcheck I…










Starring Kabusacki…


The walk-in Soundscapes: heavily ambiguous on the other side of the ambi-line, with new magic numbers (in quad):
42 + 56 (2:3);
49 + 63 (7:9);
with 7 seconds as the basic unit.   

A good show, well received by a full house.

Leonardo is sick & almost fainted onstage, necessitating an unexpected departure of The LCG during the second Soundscapes slot.

Dessert I…






Returning to the apartment I…








On the way home, a large ‘bus of the Argentinian variety came dangerously close to hitting our car. An English scream of terror from the back!

Our driver, as politeness & personal engagement requires, while in conversation with his passengers, looks them in the eyes. If this conversation involves a passenger sitting in the back, then our driver makes eye contact via the rear view mirror; all this while continuing to drive in a (mostly) forward direction. Politeness requires of me that I resist a constant shaking of terror, itself a reasonable response as we drift between lanes in a major Buenos Aires thoroughfare, traffic of the Argentinean kind on all sides.

We are home. Twitch twitch.