Robert Fripp

Robert Fripp's Diary

Sunday 22 April 2012

The Orchestra Of Crafty Guitarists


The Orchestra Of Crafty Guitarists V –
Special Performance Project
April 15th to 23rd, 2012

Foresteria Sorelle Povere di S. Chiara
Monastero s. Maria Delle Grazie
Corso Vittorio Emanuele III n. 68
01010 - Farnese (VT), Italy.

Rising to a grey day at 06.29, a nine-minute lie-in.
Morning sitting at 07.15.

Breakfast at 08.00. Comments and observations invited on yesterday evening's performance and anything else of relevance.

John H was unhappy that he was unmoving in one seat for most of the performance, until eventually The Guitar Circle Of Europe made its pre-arranged transit. Why was this?

The original intention was for The GCE in the Outer Circle to move regularly, to reposition itself towards the audience. The Leader of that Circle made a mistake, that’s what it was and that's what it is.

Various comments regarding the audience.
The children appeared to enjoy the improvs, the elderly did not.
The King Crimson pieces went down exceptionally well, with enthusiasm for them from the audience continuing to build. Perhaps at a certain point this could become scary?

From Romain: the power of the Walking In.

As regards the music, we can only accept responsibility for our playing; whether music comes to life or not is significantly out of our hands. In respect of the Walking In, for this we can accept responsibility. The audience may know little about playing an instrument, but they know a lot about walking. So, walking with presence is something to which they can relate.

The collecting, before sitting to perform: the audience seemed uncomfortable with this and were restless. Then something changed and they seemed to accept what was happening.  Similarly with the applause and The Hold. The audience appeared content to wait until hands returned from the guitars to the leg.

One woman wanted to clap. She clapped once, was alone, and stopped. The conventions of performance are well-established, and to move another way can create discomfort in an audience.

Mr. St. Petersburg commented on the difference between the dress rehearsal, The OCG improvs in the house, and the performance. He was surprised at the difference an audience makes.

English Chris was very happy to be part of The A Team, the team preparing the venue. While clearing the confetti and the detritus of previous social occasions, he felt that the space was loved by the community.

The hat for donations was well placed, by the narrow flowing-out near the exit door. Donations are not compulsory, but they are necessary! is one way of describing that approach. The contents of the hat are going to the priest after our Italian-type-PRS fee is paid.

The nature of the performance space was difficult: the two concentric Circles, in the middle of a rectangular space with audience at one end by the entrance doors, and onstage at the other end. How to encourage connection? This was partly the intention behind the revolving Outer Circle, that the audience saw a different player with every transit and the player a different part of the audience (if the player were looking). Within the moment things do not go as planned, someone forgets, someone falls asleep, a member of the audience is more concerned with photography than being an audient, and we make an accommodation. Enlarge this to professional contexts such as stadia, some shows are very tightly regimented with sequencers and computers so nothing can go wrong. Even then, things do go wrong. But, even more disastrously than things going wrong, there is little room for things to go right, or even righter than we could possibly hope for - so the Music gets up and flies away, carrying us with it. Professional control is a primary reason for the poverty of professional performance.

These and another good comments presented.

One of the team has taken to staring at me. I am wondering what he sees, and wondering what he's looking for.


10.23    The A Team is at the venue with Promoter Nunez, organising the return of the venue in good order to the priest. Actually, in very much better order.

Returning to my office after breakfast, terrible smoke in the air. Where was this coming from? Going down the stairs to the outside door, two smokers were standing smoking at the open threshold; the wind blowing their smoke inside and through the building.


14.10    Two personal meetings this morning, one with the longest-running Special Study Group, the SSG that addresses the Decision Exercise. We have three GC SSGs currently working with this exercise.


Lunch at 13.00 with comments on yesterday’s performance.

The preparation of the space was critical. This is not possible in a professionally-mediated performance context.

Hernan commented on the difficulties involved in touring an ensemble of this size. Hernan spoke more of his role than is usual. I note: most of what our Director does is invisible.

A few words on future possibilities from both Hernan and myself.

14.25    Supports for the course...


The Frank Sheldon designed GC Cushion, manufactured with superior quality components by the GC Office in partnership with Gaucho Productions…


… and the Beaudoux GC Pro model…


… leant to me for the course by Javier. The third support is tucked between the strings: the Hiroshi Iketani guitar pick.

18.07    Tea at 16.00 with tasty chocolates from Mikael’s Mother. And hot milk for coffee on the top table. Wow.

Meeting at 17.00 in my office with Hernan, John P, and the Announcers to address language-versions of written material on the OCG  and GC  sites. Also addressing the possibility of introductory courses to the Guitar Circle in Poland and Estonia. Dr. Margus has e-mailed me today, supporting the possibility of introductory courses in Estonia.

In a subsequent meeting with Hernan, John P, and Alessandro, I mentioned the notion of The Universal Symphony, and played some initial themes. These were met with some interest by my pals.

Hernan has come up with a simple explanation for fans of why Fripp doesn’t sign stuff, such as the book clasped by the fanatic at yesterday’s performance, waiting to pounce all evening. This is delivered with a straight face to fetishisers and, Hernan suggests, is accepted as convincing: The genius doesn’t sign! We must forgive him!

So, an ordinary, normal-abnormal person who declines to sign is mad. But for a genius – well, that explains it all. They’re mad already.

20.57    Dinner at 19.00 with two performances. The first was by The Brothers Of Zum with the two Zum members present plus Mikhail, standing in for Fumihito. This was a neo-prog–funky-soul piece in 7/8 written by Shinkuro. Lots of fun, impressively well played. Then a quartet that meets regularly in France, and an honourable performance of a piece made freely available by Mr. Stormy.

Tiramisu for desert, with enough seconds to have people running from their tables.

My own final meeting with Director Nunez at 20.30 to cover final details of this course, current arising matters, and looking forward to new excitements.

Final meeting for 21.30.

23.08    The course completed in spirit yesterday night, with comments in the dining room over cheesecake. At the formal final-meeting, thanks were given to those who have made the course possible, noting most of their work is unseen. Few comments were presented as much had already been commented upon and observations reported. Those who have left already were spoken for. The Course was declared completed at 21.52, the shortest-ever final meeting that I recall.

A Future Project presented: Gary Goodman’s .007 string was distributed to particular seats in the Circle, with the suggestion that the NST 1.2 tuning – C,G,D,A,E,A – be investigated. Had Garry’s string been available in 1985, C,G,D,A,E,A might have been NST 1.1

A few words of practicality.

A final personal-meeting with Dr. Mike, discussing future possibilities, and a together-visit to the Gaucho Store in the dining room. Salespersons Hernan and Queen Vicious were making available a good selection of goodies with trade going quite well.

Goodnights were made, returning to a cold room.