|| Monday, 9th November 1998
10.21 The Little Horse is back safely in London, rather jet-lagged and catchingup with business.
Sister is rushing about in her normal state of hyper-activity, inpreparation for flying to Taiwan tomorrow.
My day began selecting a place to resume reading Andrew Blake's "The LandWithout Music", and I settled on Starbucks. At one table three women weretalking loudly at each other; on another three men were talking even moreloudly on the subject of sport. But the classical music held me there.Andrew's current chapter is on "Progressive Rock". His account of the period1967-74 is somewhat different to my own understanding, sense and experienceof the time.
Back now to Chez Sister and a series of 'phone calls addressing both themundane and the valuable in the lives of DGM and RF, Travelling Gigster.Bill Bruford is visiting DGM World Central today working with DavidSingleton on a re-mixed ProjeKct One "Live At The Jazz Cafe". Obviously, notreleased yet but about-to-be having-been forthcoming. Hugh has given meinstructions on sleevenotes for upcoming CD sleeves. Pablo Mandel willshortly be leaving after visiting for six weeks.
Vivaldi is encouraging me to continue Hugh's bidding and instructions as myfingers snap like, well, snapping fingers on the keys of this PC. Sister hasnow returned from several chores and we are setting off for lunch and ahigh-action movie.
Sister is packing for Taiwan but is just calling her Chinese-languageteacher for a final lesson.
I have checked the DGM Guestbook, and have two comments:
I report once more upon a common misunderstanding: DGM, RF, KC has nocontrol at all over any of the KC & related catalogue prior to the EGRecords' sale to Virgin in 1991.
So, to questions like "why doesn't DGM release `Earthbound', alternativemixes / takes of KC classics, etc.".
The first reason is that we have no effective control over / access to thematerial.
There is a good second reason. My interest in addressing the past is to:
1. Put the present in perspective;
2. Prepare for the future.
3. Redeem what has gone before, to the degree that it is within my power.
Anything which goes further risks nailing the present flat and disengagingthe available future.
There is a good third reason. The number of committed enthusiasts who havea high level of interest in the past is less than those who are interestedin the present.
I am grateful to all who take an interest in KC / RF related work but haveno intention of being glued to work, however potent, of 25-30 years ago. Oneof the reasons for the work's potency was the lack of expectation and demandplaced upon it.
This in response to: "Why take notice of my / our / ET / DGM guestcomments"?
The first answer is, because they were made in a public forum.
The second answer is, because they were (mainly) directedtowards me personally.
The third answer is a question: if the comment is not worth consideration,and of little value, why make it?
Surely, there is good news and bad news in the history of prattycyber-comments since (shall we say?) the beginning of ET. Part of the goodnews is that little people may actually have effect in the world. Part ofthe bad news is that much of the commentary is ill-considered and madewithout responsibility being taken for the repercussions.
"Accountability" is one of the key principles in current discussions of theethical firm. My preferred word is "responsibility", which extends to allindividual, corporate and social actions whether in thought, feeling orbehaviour.
Sometimes we need particular conditions to experience, and to be convincedof, the materiality of thought; and the power of both goodwill and illwill(in another time, the power of blessing and cursing). Physical actions areperhaps less subtle: if we punch someone in full public view, there is nodenying this action. If we privately imagine ourselves punching someone, theempirical and objective proof of this may not easily stand revealed in acourt of law. In a more subtle and refined context, negative thought and thesmell which accompanies it is apparent.
Over many years I have seen, and felt, and known, the damage caused bymalicious public commentary (and private, but that is another subject).Frequently, this has been in the form of printed words by professionalcritics / reviewers.
Conventionally, artists attacked / mauled / reviewed do not respond tohostile commentary, for several reasons. These include:
1. A reasoned response takes time and energy.
2. The critical public forum rarely provides an opportunity for rights ofequal response.
3. Prose is the medium of the critic, rarely that of the attacked artist.
4. The aim of reviews is rarely the discovery and discernment of what istrue, in debate between informed and impartial adults engaging in a spiritof critical goodwill.
Critics know that artists do not, conventionally, respond to hostilecriticism. The posting of a deliberately unkind review, in this knowledge,is therefore at the least unkind, certainly cowardly, and smacks of thebully.
If any Web visitors share my concern / interests in Right Conduct, oftenfiled under the headings of ethics and morality, how may we find simple,constructive guidelines and principles of action?
Traditionally, all the revealed religions and spiritual lineages provideprinciples, guidelines, codes and rules of behaviour. (Techniques whichaddress the "how" is another matter). Modern tomes on ethics and morals areless revealed, more discovered, involve more argument and more words. Thebooks on my shelves which address these topics are rather hard going andoften obtuse.
So, what simple criteria may a Working Gigster apply to the mass ofinformation and experience revealed in 30 years of public and privatedispute, discussion, diatribe, and uncritical adulation? These are my ownsimple and subjective guides:
1. Morality stems from the insight and experience that we are all thesame person.
2. Kindness / unkindness to others is a sure guide to the quality of theperson.
Unkindness through ignorance is forgivable, but unacceptable. Intentionalunkindness is much harrder to forgive, and carries a high price.
Recently, when filing away the backlog of paper built up during the yearsof the EG battle, I glanced through some early editions of ET from 1993. Ifound Anil Prasad's advice to me, drawn from his viewing of a Sylvian /Fripp video. It is exceptionally ill-mannered. Michael Bloom, a reviewerfrom Boston, suggests I "should ask Peter Gabriel for the name of a goodtherapist. And you can tell the net I said so." (This follows a series ofcomments from Michael on the nature of management, and my dispute with EG,of impressive ignorance). Both these postings were made at a time ofexceptional difficulty in my life, personally and professionally, when myforms of support in both areas were diminished. Fortunately, my practice wassufficient to sustain me through that Dark Six Years Of The Soul, eventhough I didn't call Peter for the name of his therapist.
Both Messrs. Prasad and Bloom are reviewers / interviewers, and both ofthem would come under the heading of "better informed than most". Yet theircomments are impressively rude and I would be surprised if either would makethem directly to my face. So, why make them publicly?
So, as a general answer to the question under "Second Comment", it is this:
I hold any commentator addressing a public forum publicly accountable, andresponsible, for their comments. This is a fair and reasonable quid pro quofor any performer being held publicly accountable, and responsible, fortheir public actions.
Meanwhile Borodin's Second String Quartet reminds me of his effect inpopular light music.
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