|| Wednesday, 9th December 2009
Monasterio Monjas Dominicas,
C/Mare de Deu del Roser 2,
Sant Cugat (08174), Barcelona.
Rising at 06.10.
Morning sitting with the 30-Minute Sitters.
Breakfast at 08.00. Comments presented on last evening’s House of Guitars (I did not present my own). The morning’s work called.
AAD participants with Martin & guitars at 09.30 in the ballroom.
Attending this meeting, and looking over my right shoulder as is my practice, I noticed a Fripp characteristic or two whose appearance surprised me: I know them well but was surprised they came out to play.
Kitchen Team with guitars at 10.00.
Personal meetings with Beginners at 11.00 At one time, nearly all of my personal meetings were like this. Today, there were two good meetings among them (clearly, a subjective view).
This was the end of the middle.
T’ai Chi at 12.30 marked the transition.
Lunch at 13.00 confirmed the transition.
House Meeting without guitars called for 14.30. This marked the beginning-of-the-end. Comments were invited & several presented. Then – The Socks. For the first time, The Socks have provided an impartial & disinterested selection of performance teams, to present a performance for the House tomorrow evening at 21.00. It was suggested that perhaps one Sock would provide performance teams for a presentation at 09.15, the other Sock for 21.15. Finally, it was agreed: Two Socks & one performance at 21.15
Each of the Beginners has two groups / performance units, one from each Sock, plus a full-group piece. There are two soloists.
Tea at 16.00 with tasty things, including a large amount of money nuts (unshelled peanuts). A performance trio – The Smoke Of Old Stogies – chose to play by the top table. One guitar found its soundhole ideal for the placing of monkey nuts inside the guitar; actually, quite a few monkey nuts.
Preparations are continuing for tomorrow’s performance.
18.11 An American Crafty, who participated in the course at Raft Island last October, e-mailed recently with comments. From my reply…
Each course is unique, each course is a multiplicity of courses. So, whatever the course was for you, is as valid as "my course". My own approach is to arrive, with an aim or two or three, and see what is possible. Then the course takes on a life & lives of its own, and I respond as I am able. What happens is pretty much outside my capacity to control.
The centre of gravity of my own work is increasingly towards supporting those who have a measure of competence. The standard of the Beginners here at Sant Cugat is so low that I am despairing of how to be useful.
One of the strengths of The OCG is that, whatever level of competence on the instrument & quality of personal presence we are able to bring, we have opportunities to contribute & participate & shape what is taking place, to our own degree.
Taking this into a public arena is risky. Long experience suggests that members of the public have limited degrees of patience, attention & support available, for ventures that fall upon their ears from outside the mainstream. So, it is useful during the unfolding event to have available something which can invite back wandering ears. At Sant Cugat for The OCG I last February 27th. we had ZUM. For The OCG II we had the TTA team comprising the inner circle.
You feel that the performance at Freemont Abbey, that the OCG was a toy, a gimmick, even a joke, and the real work presented, and the real ‘music’ was solely Tuning The Air. This is not my view, even a little. From your perspective it became a vehicle to present and promote Tuning The Air, to put them on the map, so to speak. This is not view either.
One of my declared aims was to support the work of the Seattle Circle; and I feel the performance did that. But that wasn’t the extent of the course, nor the only focus of my interest.
I felt that the “Gnarlies” were perceived as less than, unaware and unawake, a nuisance, and most strongly, not good enough, by many, especially the TTA team. Personally, this sense that there is, in GC, a cult of personality, of chosen or anointed ones, and tolerant condescension for the rest…
Clearly I don’t speak for others, including the TTA team. For myself, I don’t have much resonance with these views, while agreeing that cluelessness & dopiness is as part of Guitar Craft as anything else in the world.
My own primary difficulty stems from not knowing how to help members of the Team where there is little basic competence in, for example, counting & circulating. Even after more than 24 years, a familiarity with C major into 3 octaves in the first five positions continues to be an exception rather than a basic skill. Similarly, counting in 5 or 7 while circulating in time is not complex, yet remains an exotic accomplishment for many. What to do with this? Well, very soon, this will no longer be my responsibility!
… there were many moments of beauty and ‘music’ in our House of Guitars… and many wonderful moments too over the whole period, in addition to the disappointments, opportunities missed & mistakes that were not-quite-the-teachers they might have been.
And now a time is coming to an end.
Thank you for coming to Raft Island: I was happy to see you there, not quite knowing if we would meet again.
18.20 The letter addressed came from a good person, who took care presenting their deeply-felt views, based in experience & participation.
Strangely, the issues addressed feel one with recent public polemics in this Diary. Those polemics have addressed inter alia commentary that was under-informed, clueless, dopey, rude & unkind; and an intentional abuse of trust, carried out over a period of time, professionally-based with personal resonances. The intentionality of blogspace / Guestbook commentary is mostly un-intentionality, in distinction to the calculated actions over time of Endless Grief.
Yesterday, during a personal meeting, I found myself with a man whose brain was fried: he had no head. Alternatively, the head he had was not much connected to his body. Prime difficulties when talking to someone whose brain is fried by drugs are, firstly, they don’t know their brain is fried by drugs; secondly, they believe their brain functions & perceptions have been enhanced by drug use.
Somehow, these feel part of the same.
T’ai chi 18.30.
23.12 Dinner late at 19.15.
Meeting with the SSG at 20.15.
The Beginners in the Ballroom at 21.00 continuing their preparations.
Meeting with the Kitchen Team in the Chapel at 21.00. An exercise was introduced to support focused work in the Kitchen.
The meeting continued immediately afterwards with guitars: 21.35 - 22.25. A new figure was presented, 12/8 grouped in 5+5+2, cross-picked over 5 strings:
Dining Room I…
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