Robert Fripp

Robert Fripp's Diary

Thursday 31 January 2002

Guitar Craft Levels 1 & 2 - Convento di S. Maria della Pace, Sassoferrato, Italy


Hernan has dropped in to report on the rehearsals & preparations of The LCG last night, and how he sees the performance tonight.

At breakfast the Level One character responsible for ringing the morning bell stood up and apologised for failing to do so this morning, offering to do the dish washing this evening as a gesture of apology; and promising to “try to do better” tomorrow. But this is not enough. A point of reliability cannot fail and then promise “to try to do better” – the reliance upon that reliability, the trust one places in a point of certainty, has been broken. This is a terrible thing, and very very hard to repair. It is possible to repair it, but not in one day. I find I have no reliance at all upon this man. So, tomorrow there will be another person to ring the wake-up bell. The first volunteer was Markus, and he has the job.

Now a Level One has knocked upon the door: he didn‘t sign the sign-up sheet, so is it possible that he adds his name to the sheet? That is, do I mind if he joins the other 2 characters that didn’t sign up either and have now already distorted my plans for the morning. Time to get sharper: the boat is soon leaving. We know the boat is leaving, we see the boat ready to go, we have been invited to be on board, and offered tickets. What use, as the boat sets off, to arrive at the dock and look pitiful?

12.27  The hands. The hands.

12.55  The mouths. The mouths.

13.29  A tasty lunch of beans and salad, both in generous proportions, as is fitting for a performance day. Hernan announced auditions for anyone from the Level One & Two teams that would like to take a shot at joining the performance. He is holding auditions at 17.00.

14.06  Glancing out the window while playing Eye of the Needle I noticed a funeral cortege wending its way down the hill, slowly, a column of cars following the hearse. Somehow, this felt appropriate.

15.57  More hands. More faces.

I have just called Mary P, a Work Wrinkley of many years acquaintance. Mary is now in her eighties and her eyesight has failed. I have called in to report, as I do regularly. Mary says that, in her present position, the Work is remarkable. She is looking at acceptance currently, she says. I will visit her at the end of March.

16.51  A significant development: a letter of authority for Hernan. This is the first of its kind.

18.01  The following is going onto the board, to accompany an excerpt from this course journal of Monday 28th. January above (on attention, from the breakfast comment by a Level One student). The Crafty Life is culled from the files I have been sifting and collating…

GC (UK) IV(A).
Red Lion House

The Crafty Life.

If music is a benevolent presence constantly and readily available to all, how are we constantly and readily available to music?

We need to be present to music. This implies, we have to be present to ourselves. So, how?  If we disagree with the possibility that music is a benevolent presence, we have to be present to disagree. So the question remains: how can be we be present? This leads to another question: who is present? And perhaps the best I can say is, that what is present is my attention. Where my attention is, is where I am.  And, to all intents and purposes, it is who I am. So, if my quality of attention varies, I become a different quality of person; even, perhaps, a different person completely. If whoever my attention once was, once decided to practice attention, then my practice will involve noticing where my attention goes.  

And I will notice:

i)          Where my attention goes;
ii)         My noticing of where my attention goes.

Have I become two people? The quick answer is, that as far as I can tell, obviously yes. The long answer is, at least two people, and sometimes no people at all. Sometimes I am a romantic person; sometimes I am a gregarious  person; sometimes I am a solitary person. Sometimes I am a sensuous creature, living only for cheescake and exotic French confectionaries, washed into my eager, waiting body by cappucinos laced with cinnamon. Sometimes I am an intellectual, pursuing the secrets of the universe by the arrogant presumption of my cerebration. Sometimes I am a nesting person, defending my home against all intrusion. Sometimes I am a revolutionary, prepared to force what's good for the unready world upon it, whether it knows what's good for it or not. These, and many relatives in a large family of disparate but related characters, play upon the stage of my life. These characters are related by one main, common factor to them all: my noticing of them. And whereas the characters in the forefront of the action upon this stage change as the drama of living unfolds, my noticing remains the same: it is noticing.

Perhaps, I am two:

i)          A noticer;
ii)         A family of strange pedigree.        

Am I able to divide my attention between my thinking, my feeling, and what I am doing?  What are the different kinds and qualities of my experiencing? Is my experiencing a reflection of my attention?

My presence is where I am. Absence is where I am not.  A present moment is the measure of my presence in time, in which my attention is engaged. It is the "when" and the "how long" of who I am.

 In playing a musical instrument there is a directness of response.  We have a reflection of who we are, also when and how we are. There is no argument, no clever justification or explanations for a bum note: we were not present. The music is a reflection of who we are, a true and unblemished reflection: a fine mirror.

 18.30  Hernan & Martin have dropped in to report on the audition: each full group has an honourable contribution to be made this evening, with several good individual contributions which aren’t appropriate for the performance. I have placed this on Hernan’s guitar…

To Whom It May Concern:

This is to confirm that Hernan Nunez enjoys my confidence.

Robert Fripp
Founder, Guitar Craft.
Thursday 31st. January, 2002;
Convento di S. Maria della Pace, Sassoferrato, Italy.

18.37  Being is the degree we can hang together in the different worlds of the journeyman, craftsman, master & genius. The higher dimensionality is unbearable to someone whose station is in a less subtle world; something like, walking on the grass of a 3 dimensional world pierces the feet of someone from a two dimensional world. The degree to which we can hang together is the degree to which we can access higher worlds, or different states of being.

19.58  A tasty dinner with two visiting guests, women friends of Crafties.

Over lunch I asked Hernan for his sense of the silence that visited at the beginning of this course. He felt it was from this place, the Convento. I asked Hernan whether he considered it might be Elizabeth. No, he said, this silence was from the Convento. But, Hernan had seen Elizabeth here quite clearly, twice, during morning sittings on the summer project last year. Alessandro had seen an older woman at a sitting and mentioned this to Hernan, who asked Al to describe her. It was Elizabeth. Hernan also saw Elizabeth at a sitting in Berlin of a Circling Weekend in November 1992.

Hernan & Bettina made a strong connection to Elizabeth during her invaluable visits to the Red Lion House between 1987/89. She was, and clearly is, a strong supporter of Guitar Craft.

Meanwhile, Bettina was awake most of last night, connected to the buzzing of this course.

20.52  We are awaiting the arrival of the Secretary of Culture, and I’ve been drawing up the schedule for tomorrow & personal meetings.

22.36  Following honourable presentations by the Level One & Level Two teams, The League of Crafty Guitarists (director Hernan Nunez) made their debut performance.

This was the first performance by The LCG since April 1991, when it was knocked out of its orbit by Endless Grief, and the first LCG performance to feature tango (danced by our Argentinian tango couple). A clean & honest Eye of the Needle; plus strong Gaucho covers; a good introductory circulation with multiple stacking; and strong small group pieces. The LCG walked into the ballroom at 21.41 and left, after encores, at 22.21. A strong and promising beginning to this next stage in GC & LCG performance life.

Guests are now snaffling magnificent and large portions of tiramisu in the dining room. Coming up the stairs past the notice board, a Crafty from the Level One was photographing the board. Bummer. This felt so out of tune, and felt out of tune, because it was stunningly the wrong thing to do; and particularly at that moment. So, I had to take down notices from the board: they had been violated.

Anyone reading this without a sense, based in conscience, of how out-of-tune the action was, will not feel how & why this simple act carried with it an intent: to take, without payment, something at the heart of this Guitar Craft course. The act was wrong; the intent was fundamentally flawed. Sadly, this has caused damage which will be hard to repair.