Robert Fripp

Robert Fripp's Diary

Friday 30 October 2009

St Georges Cabin Safely Protected


St. George’s Cabin, Safely Protected From Fire-Breathing Creatures.

Rising at 06.07. Today is a new day. I have never been here before.

Morning Sitting at 07.15.

14.36    Breakfast at 08.00. Comments were invited on yesterday evening’s performance of The OCG II.

One of the TTA sensed the Outer Circle playing while the Inner Circle was (ie phenomenally) playing alone.

One of the Outer Circle, waiting in The Basement of Fremont Abbey while the Inner Circle were playing encores upstairs, was hoping to be called out & up to join them, and was disappointed they were not.

I note now, although not commented on at breakfast, two points: firstly, during the earlier part of the course I had twice called Eye Of The Needle and it was clear that the Full Circle were incapable of playing this with the quality required; secondly, as Curt might have said but did not, all it takes to be reliably on call is 15-20 hours rehearsing a week for 10 years (NB 20 X 50 x 10 = 10,000).

An experienced person, with responsibility to the course, felt violation. A character entered the private space after the performance: it seems they were uninvited, although they claimed otherwise. The person named as invitor was unaware of having given the invitation.

And many more useful comments.

Morning views I…












A meeting with the Guitar Circle Of Seattle immediately after breakfast, discussing inter alia Eye Of The Needle.

This meeting morphed into a meeting with the North American Federation Of Guitar Circles. One of the matters raised was the funding of a full-time GC Office in Europe. The present office is de facto full-time, due to acts of heroism by Mariana & Director Nunez, but support is necessary. The European office also provides for GC activities & Crafties in South America, notably Argentina; which economy makes those of the G7 seem expansive & confident.

Intertwined with this: discussing the commitment of those nominally responsible for the operation & continuity of any organization, and the effect of this on the health of the body to which its officers are nominally accountable.

A story told of the Claymont Society… RF was invited to join the Board of the Claymont Society For Continuous Education in 1982, and accepted. While sending out good wishes to the project, not long afterwards, I became aware that the Claymont experiment was not guaranteed and might fail. This was a considerable surprise: how could Claymont fail? This was Sherborne’s sister school! Founded by JGB! (albeit JGB died on the day that he “signed” the contract to buy the property). Besides, this was hope for the future. It could not fail!

A little while later, perhaps in 1984, I had a seeing that the role of President of the CSCE was a piece of work available to me, were I to accept it. During the Autumn of 1984, attending a three-month Residential Retreat there, I was indeed voted into the Presidency, a terrifying experience.

At one of the Board meetings it became apparent to me, for the project to continue despite its considerable debts & chronic funding problems, it was necessary that the Board members in their entirety commit to the Claymont project, in the form of tithing. Tithing has almost nothing to do with money, and almost everything to do with commitment. This was quite clear: if the Board, those persons nominally responsible for the ongoingness & viability of the Society, were not prepared to commit themselves to the Society in this way, it would fail. When this proposal was presented to the Board, a door opened within the meeting room (at Pierre’s cottage) to a finer world. I had never before experienced an opening to the Unconditioned as “large” and as clearly as this, and of such duration. Then the discussions began about the financial commitments of members & how this made tithing impossible for them… and the door closed. One of the other Board members sensed something was being lost, and called on us to “re-open” the door. It kinda opened a bit, and then closed again. The Society, as I knew it, continued on its downward trajectory during the remainder of the decade, its financial fortunes mainly buoyed by income from Guitar Craft courses. Elizabeth Bennett visited not very long after this Board meeting & smashed the head of JGB.

The Claymont Society continues today, and good people do good work, while the spirit of Claymont that I know & recognize moved elsewhere...
Camp Caravan programs and Camp Caravan brochure (opens pdf).  No doubt, there are variant views on this, of equal legitimacy.

The NAFGC Board will discuss this among themselves. RF will acknowledge to Director Nunez his own commitment.

CF joined the meeting to discuss the Guitar Craft History Project.

The morning’s second congreet morphed into the third, with the Special Study Group at 12.30. Topics of discussion included several items from the earlier two meetings, and the first Call on Thursday at Fremont Abbey - Mother! Help!  What am I doing here? – was considered on three different levels at which it has effect. Doubtless, a sensible person would feel this direction to be a very silly instruction for improvising, even from one who has been extemporizing & improvising in public for 40 years.

Also addressed: TTA repertoire from the point of view of the Tetrad of Musicianship.

Lunch at 13.00. Two members of the course left this morning, one to seize a professional opportunity, with my best wishes; the other because of “an emergency at work”.

Performances at lunch: The Gnarlies, solo Patrick & a poem from Erin.

Post-lunch washing-up detail. While tackling the Ballard Dishwashing Behemoth of Terror & Antiquity, Pablo came in & took over. I felt: Yes! I am released from this task of becoming able to operate an industrial-scale dishwasher from an earlier era! Then Pablo disappeared, and I returned to operating the Behemoth, without attachment to its thundering, steaming process.

Also noted: the default instincts of a co-kitchen-worker in dealing with arising situations, and which are very different to my own.

Meeting at 15.15 with those on this course who are participants in the current GC At A Distance.

16.35. It is interesting to be on an At-A-Distance undertaking when several of those people are physically together. A question: what is the distance?

The distance is geographic: the distance is in the outer world. In our inner world, and where there is commitment to a common aim, there is no distance. When we make a serous commitment to the AAD project and take a decision that we know & recognise – yes, this is something for me & I commit to it! – then in reality, at a certain point, we are the same person. This we can rely upon. What we may not be able to rely upon is our experiencing of that reality. It is not guaranteed that we are aware of our impersonal-yet-intimate contact with other members, for example by seeing other participants’ faces pop up in our Morning Sitting; although sometimes they do. In the Tetrad of the Group, this unity is referred to by the term at the top: this is where we are the same person. At the bottom, there are the bodies of the rank & file; noting this is also a Tetrad of the Individual, of ourself, of our personal group as it were.

A question was addressed to RF: Does it matter that moving attention through the body takes place on the points in the hour that have been specified; that is, accurately?

Surprisingly, I heard this answer: Objectively, yes. In constructing an interior architecture, if we develop regularity, something else becomes possible.

Meanwhile, better not to beat ourselves up if we miss a specific time. Sometimes life is so hard, we lose track of time & our relationship to it. So, even having some sense of life in the right hand is already an achievement. In the case of being swept away in the turmoil of daily living, good to have a default strategy for when we come to, wake up, arrive – we bring our attention to this default position.

Meanwhile, better not to beat ourselves up if we miss a specific time. Sometimes life is so hard, we lose track of time & our relationship to it. So, even having some sense of life in the right hand is already an achievement. In the case of being swept away in the turmoil of daily living, good to have a default strategy for when we come to, wake up, arrive – we bring our attention to this default position.

Question to the AAD Team: What are the one, two or three things we notice when we begin to look at emotions & feelings? For the first time in these two AAD meetings in person, comments were short, direct, immediate, succinct. My sense was of actual experiencing being described.

A few words indicative of our feeling lives… We can tell our bodies to stand up: 1,2,3,4 – stand up! We can tell our feet to beat one time, our hands to clap another, while counting a different measure. Can we tell our feelings to have compassion? Joy?
Can we hold a picture of someone we really dislike & tell ourselves to hold love for them?

The tetrad (as presented this week) describes different qualities of musicianship & different ways of relating to time. It also describes different qualities of feeling. The key point of application for us is indicated by the horizontal axis, which indicates separation and holding two incompatibilities simultaneously.

Rough words, roughly spoken, roughly indicative, once again on this course.

Tea at 16.00 provided merchandising opportunities of a significant, even stupendous, order.  And conversation with CF re: the GC History Project site & constructing a “Facebook” network for GC participants.

Two personal meetings at 17.00.

House of Guitars at 18.00. When ready, please begin. Three areas of improv emerged, moving to the Full Circle Whizz. Duo displacement whizzing was introduced, then triple displacement, then triple displacement with return. This is an exciting development, and we have not even moved as far as quadratic displacement whizzing with return; but our time was up.

Dinner at 19.00, cooked & served by the SSG. No-one began eating until all were assembled, including the cooks, and the Grace was said; this followed by an Accepting Silence.

Meeting afterwards with Curt & Jaxie to touch base on Seattle Guitar Circle arisings at the end of this project; and possible future arisings.

Final Meeting of this course at 21.00.

22.44    Many considered & feeling-rich comments on the course were presented, with a depth of insight & experiencing that suggests a level of maturity.

One comment: from a member of the Outer Circle who, at The OCG II performance on Thursday, had noticed themselves moving out of riffing & towards extemporization. This is an exceptionally important observation: we only notice we were in The Basement when we are out of The Basement. It is rare that this is noticed so clearly & presented with this clarity.

My own personal highlight: in directing attention within the body. We can trust the power of directing-attention, and not concern ourself with the effects of this. So, rather than paying-attention to the sense-of-presence-of-life within the body, pay attention to directing the attention. This light-touch attention-directing has given a radically different, stronger & more-direct-experiencing of the inside of this body than I have previously known. Direct the attention without concern for the arising-sensation, and the sensation arises. And it only took 35 years to get here.

Not mentioned, but continuing to resonate, from a comment by a member of the SSG (my words):

It doesn’t matter much where we begin;
it matters very much who we become.

At 22.36 & 40 seconds the Course was declared completed, in a loud & positive fashion by all present.


It is raining. But today it has been warmer. St. George has delivered.