|| Wednesday, 2nd August 2000
Quote of the day: actually, from the FT Weekend for July 29/30. A review by Sarah Whitfield of Sarah Jane Checkland's "Ben Nicholson: The Vicious Circles of his Life and Art" (John Murray)
"Like many artists, he was propelled into finding ways to safeguard his freedom to make art, ways that to others may appear uncompromising, even ruthless. And like others of his generation, he took for granted the right to defend his privacy".
How much is conveyed in these two sentences, to those that have eyes to see, of the practical lives of artists who wish to defend themselves & their work from trivialisation at best, and from there even to assassination attempts.
Moving associationally along this morning, I note that the word "eccentric", once a reliable clichÈ, has been replaced by "spiky", even "notoriously spiky", in press descriptions of the Venal One.
Now, from Tony Geballe's DGM Diary for Saturday 8th. July, 2000:
"One of the reasons I joined the GC/DGM diary community is because it is a Community. What a wonderful way to stay in touch with some of my closest friends, colleagues, and fellow-travellers, without having to actually spend time together! Or even be 'phone-available at the same time, much less live in the same city or country. So, I can read a Rumi quote from Steve Ball, Tom Redmond can respond to something in my diary, Argentina, Italy, Germany, England, we can all be aware of what is going on in each others' lives. This is something new and extraordinary. Perhaps not one of the originally stated aims of the diary project, but one which is emerging as important to our work".
Tony is quite right here: building and/or strengthening community is implicit in the Diary aims, but better now to make this explicit. Building community is a current & arising theme within the music industry, as demonstrated by the Napster / Gnutella / Freeserve controversy. There are issues of major importance to artists involved in this: conventional models for making music available to the listening public are going out the window. As one whose teeth are long, and as a Leader of Unquestionable Venality, increasingly I am being approached for quotable quotes on the Napster debate. Given a little time, I'll present them. But right now, this:
The RIAA represents the interests of the majors.
The interests of the majors are contrary to the interests of artists.
The RIAA does not represent the interests of artists, and to suggest this is fundamentally dishonest.
The RIAA does not have the aim of making music available to the listening community.
Napster does make music available to the listening community.
The RIAA does not represent artists.
Napster does not represent artists either.
When music files are exchanged "freely" there is a currency of exchange which is not acknowledged.
This currency of exchange is the work of artists.
The good news: Napster demonstrates the importance which people attach to having music in their lives.
This is legitimate: music is a need in our lives.
The bad news: the public at large is prepared to act illegitimately to serve this legitimate impulse.
The challenge: to legitimise, validate & redeem the clearly demonstrated want, wish, need & intent to share with others music which we value.
This is one of the key points of debate yesterday between David Singleton, Steve Ball & the VRHL. We are continuing this discussion today & looking at how BTV & DGM might be part of this.
Clearly, there are major repercussions concerning copyright. Practice determines law in a liberal democracy. The online strategies of the majors are currently clueless in the extreme: why pay $15.00 for an online CD? This is absurd. With the exception of particular long-term studio projects (like Gabriel) most CDs are hugely overpriced already. A lot of this has to do with high street distributors, who won't accept online distribution at a lower price. But radical new technologies provide radically new ways & kinds of social living. This requires changes in mind-sets of comparable novelty & flexibility, and established institutions don't much wish to change, nor have the flexibility to do so.
Fundamental questions for me:
How does moral development keep pace with technological development?
How may we legitimately serve our legitimate impulses if existing channels are inequitable or unfair? This is relatively straightforward in principle: establish legitimate, equitable & fair channels. However, in practice you come up against vested interests & the industry's "standard practices"; for example, in an earlier time, against expressions such as "this is not the EG way".
So, how to establish a consensus of what is fair and equitable in the transactions between the players in the music system? Here, not only does the artist go up against the industry (always), but also their listening community (often).
The debate continues.
More pivotal meetings continue. A lunch break enabled an outbreak of bibliophiliacal tumescense at Borders, but now I have been summoned back early for more meetings.
Dribble. Dribble. An afternoon & dinner of critical BTV meetings.
In DGM mode, David Singleton has received a fax from a first-generation Crim who has objections to DGM's past & future releases of first generation Crim material. This may cancel the Club release of Hyde Park which has now been tickled, cleaned, vibrated & refreshed. I hope the Crim feels able to make these objections public on this site. His letter is an excellent insight into the ongoing repercussions of the first Crimson, & throws a retrospective light on the nature & operations of that strange group. And, should anyone continue in doubt as to the autocracy & hypocrisy of the Venal Warrior, this is more confirmation of his fallen nature.
Moving along in historic mode, and responding to repeated posters in ET who would love Vincent to paint a few more "Starry Nights" (it was his best period, after all), I would enthusiastically support the creation of a Crimson "tribute" band which would play classic Crim material of any period. I would sit in one of the front 6 rows, alternatively stand near the stage, cheer loudly and shout for "Schizoid Man", "Fracture", "Starless", "Larks' I & II", "I Talk To The Wind", "Epitaph", "Book Of Saturday", "Exiles", "The Night Watch" & "Red" at the very least, assuming that the tribute band restricts itself to 1969-74.
Boy, would I love to see & hear the group that could play these. It wouldn't be King Crimson, but it would be a real hummer of an outfit. Does anyone believe a band of this calibre is likely to happen sometime soon, and be remotely interested in playing the historic material of someone else?
Search Robert Fripp's diary archive.