Hotel Acceptable, Austin, Texas.
Rising at 05.00…
Patricia collected me at 06.50 for sound check at 07.00 I…
While F&F were rehearsing at the side of the ballroom, Benito Cachinero, Corporate VP of Human resources for ADP, sponsors of APA Congress, approached & asked for his picture to be taken with us; courteously & flatteringly suggesting this was to prove to his family that he was following a “rock star” onto the stage. Proof I…
The gig I...
Just prior to the 08.30 beginning, while I was centering & quietising before our walk-on, a woman came up to me: My boyfriend is a music lover & he’s heard of you. Would you sign this (DGM KC Collectors’ Club free dispersal unit) record? His name is Jeff.
Interesting: yet again, while at a point of maximum vulnerability, this vulnerability is sensed by someone who wants to take - and then pounces! More interesting to this Diariser, now older & not wiser but certainly more experienced, I note: nothing we intentionally take from others comes unencumbered. That is, the tab arrives sooner–later, and it always arrives. Better therefore we pay the tab at the time, or ahead of time; failing those two options, address our debts as soon afterwards as possible, while we remain able to do so. If we feel that life is not quite giving us our due, that the world has not quite recognized our unique & available gifts, let us acknowledge: the life we have is the life we attract to us. We may / may not be its architect, but we assist in its creation.
Superhero of the APA Dan Maddux began the day at 08.30, introducing Fripp & Fripp; and F&F presented We Can Be Heroes For More Than One Day.
From my notes…
PF What is a hero?
RF What does it mean to be a hero?
The hero aspires to three things:
the clarity to see what is required of them;
the courage to accept what is required of them;
the capacity to discharge what is required of them.
Clarity, courage, capacity.
Three categories of hero:
the unlikely, or occasional, hero;
the everyday, or ordinary, hero;
The occasional (or unlikely) hero is one who responds honourably to an unlikely & unexpected event: they rise to an occasion, to a challenge, when it presents itself.
The unlikely hero is called unlikely because their heroism is unreliable: the next time a challenge presents itself, they may not be able to respond heroically.
The ordinary, everyday hero is reliably, repeatably & responsibly heroic on an ongoing basis. Although this category of hero is described as ordinary, such heroism is already extraordinary.
The world continues to run because of the heroism of ordinary heroes.
The superhero is one who directs the way the world runs. The superhero holds the overview of their particular field of endeavour. They hold the overview of the whole of their undertaking. They see the operation of all departments, on all floors, in all the offices of their corporation.
Not every corporation is fortunate enough to have a superhero.
The APA does have a superhero, and today is his birthday - Dan Maddux.
PF How do we become a hero?
We practice acts of heroism.
Two approaches: the extensive & the intensive approaches.
The extensive: the hero does what is possible for them – plus 10%
This gradually extends the parameters of our competence.
We begin with what is possible, and move gradually towards the impossible.
The intensive: to undertake an act of quality.
In Guitar Craft, this is addressed in the Exercise of Qualitative Endeavour.
A third approach is extensive-intensive: we undertake acts of quality on a regular basis.
PF What is an act of quality?
RF An act of quality follows the injunction: honour necessity, honour sufficiency.
Honour necessity is the Rule of Quality.
Honour sufficiency is the Rule of Quantity.
When we honour necessity, we do what is required of us; regardless of like & dislike, and personal interest.
When we honour sufficiency, we use the right amount of the right kind of energy necessary to discharge the function.
We address the economy, ecology & efficiency of the energy supply: the quality, quantity & intensity of energy needed to do the job.
The aim is effortless effort; grace in motion; beautiful strength, that is, a developed callisthenic.
One practical example from my own field: holding the guitar pick.
On Guitar Craft courses this has been presented to perhaps 2,500 people on four continents over a period of 23 years.
It is necessary for the flat-picking guitarist to hold a pick.
Very little energy is required.
This is effortless effort.
Nothing is wasted. The action is necessary & sufficient.
Even if you tried to pull the pick from my hand with pliers, you would fail.
In Guitar Craft we have the Exercise of Qualitative Endeavour. We choose one small thing & discharge it superbly. This one small thing must be available to simple & clear description, execution & verification.
On a Guitar Craft course at a retreat house of the Claretian Fathers in Los Molinos, Spain, at the beginning of the decade, I presented this example with the claim that, even with pliers, the pick would not be pulled from between my thumb & first finger. A smart-arse left the meeting room & returned with a pair of pliers – and was unable to pull the pick from my hand.
PF Why is an act of quality important?
RF Because this is how we transform our sorry world, one small act at a time.
The first principle is: Quality is ungovernable by number.
So, a small act of quality is as big as a big act of quality.
In the Gospels, we have the Parable of The Widow’s Mite.
In the World of Quantity, her donation was worthless.
In the World of Quality, she gave all that she had.
The second principle is: Quality spreads.
An act of quality moves out in to the world, and has effect in ways we’ll never know.
We will never see the results & repercussions of an act of quality, we may be confident that Right Action will have Just Consequence.
PF If this is true of the individual, does it also apply to a corporation?
RF An act of quality is true. A Company that acts truly, or rightly, will be an Ethical Company.
The Four Pillars of the Ethical Company are:
Recognisable features of the ethical company involve these attributes:
transparency + straightforwardness translate as honesty;
accountability + owning-up equate to responsibility;
distributive justice + fairness we understand as equity;
common decency we recognize as goodwill.
Honesty, responsibility, equity & goodwill are the Four Pillars of the Ethical Company.
In the music industry, the Four Pillars are notable by their absence.
PF So, how do we practise being a hero?
RF Every day.
We don’t become a hero by accident. Heroism requires practice.
We begin when we get out of bed in the morning & our feet hit the floor: our day begins with clarity, definition & certainty.
When our feet hit the floor, we say Hello God! - whatever God may be for us.
In our Speaker Instructions we are asked to avoid Religion & Politics as sensitive issues. So, if the APA is God for us, when we get out of bed & our feet hit the floor, we say Hello American Payroll Association!
We call on, invoke & invite what is Real & True & Good to enter our day.
As our head hits the pillow, our day ends with clarity, definition & certainty.
Before our head hits the piilow, we say Goodnight God! - whatever God may be for us; with gratitude for this day in our lives.
But before we say Goodnight God! we recapitulate the day. We go back through the events of our day, in reverse order.
PF: Why recapitulate? Why reverse order? Why the whole day?
RF: Nourishment, unseating mechanical mind, holding the overview.
We recapitulate the events of today, that we may better digest our experiencing; and nourish our tomorrow.
Reverse recapitulation unseats associational thinking & the hold of mechanical mind.
We are training ourselves to hold the overview of one whole day.
PF Is being a hero a lonely occupation?
RF It can be, but not necessarily.
If a music lover works in a major record label, this may well be a lonely life.
If a respecter of artists works in an artist management company, they may well feel lonely.
There is the Heroic Group.
A group forms in service to an aim.
A common aim is closer than blood.
The members of a group wish for each other what they wish for themselves.
The synergies of Group Heroism:
One person: a solo.
Three people: there are 6 forms of interaction within a trio: ABC, ACB, BAC, BCA, CAB, CBA.
Four people: 4 separate trios: ABC, ABD, ACD, BCD, each of which have 6 forms of interaction.
Six people: the sextet contains 4 distinct quartets & 16 distinct trios.
The support of family and friends. They are not directly part of our heroic undertakings, but offer goodwill, support & kindness.
The first 15 years of my touring life, at least, would not have been possible without the support of my Mother & Sister.
Following the bold claim that not even pliers would remove the pick from between my thumb & first finger, Superhero Dan Maddux mounted the platform with a large pair of Robopliers – and failed to remove the pick from its effortless purchase.
We were followed onto the platform by Sr. Cachinero, Lenora Billings-Harris and Tim & Kris O’Shea with a luncheon break at 11.45.
Returning to #2607, the view is grey I…
Off to Salon E for more F&F.
20.18 The fourth floor…
F&F began just after 13.30 & presented Good To Great, with Q&A, for an hour.
Back to the Ballroom for the final Pre-Congress meeting at 16.00-17.00 with Michael Kerr presenting a very funny closing keynote.
A final conciergerie-visit with Patricia & her friend Bob, then back to packing & e-flurrying.
A good visit & an honourable third stage of Fripp & Fripp.
Search Robert Fripp's diary archive.