Robert Fripp

Robert Fripp's Diary

Saturday 20 May 2000



Well, as Pat said before the gig, twenty nine to go. My comment in the pre-stage fistication was this: "Mistakes will be made". And "FraKctured" was the impressive train wreck which I have been promising. Also impressive were the recoveries, and the acceptance of mistakes being made with good humour, without judgement. The group enjoyed themselves.

Adrian was superb. I noticed a change in his relationship with the group today: I won't say more about this, at least for a while, until I see this commented upon by others. Trey's playing on "The Deception Of The Thrush" was exceptional; Pat a hero throughout. I tried hard to keep up with, and didn't always succeed.

George was being kind to the audience yesterday: there were very little people at the soundcheck / dress rehearsal - Belew & Gunn little people. George pulled the volume back for them. We learnt from yesterday: repositioned Adrian's extension speakers, recalibrated monitors, a new set list from Adrian.

BootlegTV were filming the show.

The audience were superb & supportive, and all that one could ask for.

My Sister was a force of nature at the merchandising table. I took her water, to say hello: "I don't need water - I need fives. Here's a hundred". We were brought up in trade, you see.

A good pal of mine, and a genuine music enthusiast, visited this Diary and read Andy Gill's recent review of TCOL. My pal has a family restaurant which is excellent, and also functions as a quasi-gallery by displaying artworks on its walls. The parents have retired and the restaurant revibrated & relaunched.

This is from his e-letter, reproduced with permission:

What interested me were your comments in your diary re the 'critics'. As you know we have recently refurbished the restaurant, and having engaged as PR company to explicitly raise the profile of the restaurant in our immediate area we were naively looking forward to visits from various 'food critics'. We (our chefs my brother and myself) were naively expecting a fair crack of the whip. Hello, wake up and smell the coffee bro, that's just not where these guys are at.

A very popular London mag sent their reviewer and a photographer to do their thing, we knew who the photographer was, obviously, but we did not know who the reviewer was. This is not a problem as we would not do anything other than what we normally do as this would not be honourable.

We were astonished at the review when it appeared. We were described as interlopers, the fact that we had been successfully trading for 38 yeas at the same location, which they knew, seemed to be of no interest. The content of the menu in general and the food that they ordered also seemed to be of no interest, a la the description of the solo TG did not actually play! He went to some length to describe a dish which our chefs did not cook and I did not serve. He did have some very complementary things to say however it seemed that for each positive comment there had to be an equally negative one, this must be something to do with that post Newtonian critical law, the third I think, which states that 'for every positive critical statement the is an equal or greater negative critical statement'. One can therefore assume that critics are part of the general forces which operate in the universe to increasethe general level of entropy or chaos. In order to produce a reduction in the level of entropy some degree of work or energy must be expended. We at the restaurant expend that energy or do the work in order to transform a particular set of patterns at any point in time into another set of patterns, the critics seem to want to reduce that new pattern and the act of transformation to an energy state or level of coherence lower than it original. The difference in this is absorbed by the critic in some way, they feed, no pun intended, on this difference in much the same way that a parasite feeds.

I now have a increased sense of empathy with you. When ones efforts are negated in a way which does not acknowledge the intention, the effort and the result one is left with a hollow feeling, sadness and a sense of loss, well I was at any rate.

We were then reviewed by a critic from a national newspaper, I happened to be dinning with the chef's partner on the table opposite that evening, and it was very clear that she was enjoying here evening. The review said as much, she had some doubts about the chocolate and mascarpone tear drop, but she stated that this was a personal thing to do with chocolate and mascarpone. A much better review, its easier to like a review which goes in ones favour, obviously but he entire tone was different. She did not imply that Kennington did not deserve such an establishment, she did not presume to tell the chef what he should cook and how he should do it. The piece was well constructed in that she described her experience of the restaurant on that evening with her likes and dislike, what was different was the fact that when dealing with objective she stuck to the facts and when dealing subjective she stuck to her clearly stated opinions no more no less.

Critics in general hold themselves up to be arbiters of that under critical scrutiny, I'm trying to work out if this is part and parcel of being a critic or something which is ascribed to the act of criticism and critics by those of us who are the subject matter of their endeavour, or the consumers of their product. The latter is easily remedied, the former would require a consciousness shift I am unaware of how to assist in happening. So we at the restaurant will continue to do what we do in the best way that we can while remaining true to the principles established by my father in 1962.

Ian Wallace & John Trevethan have both e-mailed on last night's performance, and both of them comment favourably on the mistakes. As an audient, I don't wish the performers to collapse; but I love to see the recovery. This is a test of the quality player. (May I comment here that my own pitiful twitchings at the "FraKctured" train wrecks does not put me in this class).