Robert Fripp

Robert Fripp's Diary

Friday 03 January 2003



Discover joy in the small things.

The sun is shining through a sky mainly grey & full of clouds. But, here in Broad Chalke, the sun is shining although the weight of the mundane presses close. Assuming good cheer, fortitude, a measure of discipline & the sun shining through grey clouds, what is not possible?

Today there is a pile of people here at HQ. Alex is in DGM SoundWorld working on the next Club release; Nicky is visiting to keep our financial books & accounting in order; Laura is liasing in her world of poly-functionality; Hugh is in DGM ArtWorld; and David is in his office waiting for me to join him and discuss the arising & future concerns of the newly-reformed DGM.

My own morning at the desk began with Brahms' chamber music & Peter Ackroyd's The English Imagination: a civilised beginning to a day-in-the-life of one whose experience of the music industry, and its close embraces, is now extensive. Put simply, "civility" and "music industry" are terms that do not easily mingle in the same sentence.

And prior to all of this: two dreams in the night. The first was wonderful, most welcome & the latest in the series of dreams that now enters its fourth decade. The second was profoundly disturbing. My Wife was present in both.


The Afternoon Shift - David & Robert are continuing to compile Soundscapes for Love Cannot Bear.

Matters arising in our meeting at noon: continuing to move forward the agreed settlements with Virgin/EMI & BMG for huge under-accounting; the KC Tourbox for this year's touring; a second edition of the KC Deja VROOOM DVD to make it easier to work; the Vicar's recording plans; developments (or not) for the new DGM website; and more.

The prospective Virgin settlement contract included, in their draft, a confidentiality clause; or more accurately named, gagging order. Presenting this to me is an act of considerable un-wisdom. Surely, if we wish to avoid our behaviour becoming known, better not to act in that manner? Transparency is a necessary condition of the ethical company, but does not banish discretion & courtesy. The gagging order was, for Mr. Alder and his version of EG, an operating necessity and a defining feature of The EG Way. Meanwhile, and a surprise, yesterday the Daily Express expressed interest in featuring the Virgin/BMG audit on its Diary page.


David is editing a Soundscape recorded at StudioBelew one morning in 2000 before anyone else arrived. Now for something completely different -- Amy at the DGM Shop in Los Angeles forwarded this e-letter of enquiry to me on 18th. December:

Dear Mr. Fripp,

My name is Andy M. I'm 22 and the obvious is yes, I am a Crimson fan. But my letter does not revolve around questions relating to the band or any of its members or what they are doing currently. After all, that is what all those fabulous websites are for. Rather it is a letter that deals with me trying to understand you better as a person.

Prologue: I have been recently reading letters and peoples opinions regarding their experiences with you and a lot of them stated that it was an unpleasant one. They utilized many negative adjectives to describe you as a person and I was honestly appalled. This experience has provoked me to further my studies as to why people criticize you and I knew for certain that there must be a valid reason for your actions . After I heard all these stories, I've decided to consult your thoughts and feelings. After all, one mustn't look at one side only, but both. So I have read a few of the responses you wrote to people with letters that assaulted you, and I must say that I do agree with what you are saying.

Since your way of speaking is quite complex to me, I was forced to re-read the passages a multitude of times. But I am still a little confounded. Anyhow, I just have a few questions to ask and if they are answered than I will achieve complacency and a solid final understanding to the mechanics of Robert Fripp.

The working/touring musician has a very tedious job. After a concert, there are many fans that would like to meet you, etc. It is very understandable that the fan would love to meet you, yet indirectly they are selfish about it.

Meaning that they don't take into consideration that the musician is tired and would like to take a break, or perhaps see Vernon Reid perform. Given, signing an autograph isn't much of a task, yet a hundred is.

Same goes with questions. In your take, what should this fan do? I'm certain that you don't dislike your fans, no? You speak of there being right times and right places for conversation, however these fans do not have the option at their disposal of calling you up and asking you to dinner, or the privileges that an interviewer might have from a prestigious magazine. What is a loyal audient to do? Maybe they should write a letter as I have done so. But what is your take on this?

Much has been spoken about the relationship between audience and performer. The performer has the responsibility of producing music while the audience's responsibility is to show respect towards the performer. To listen, enjoy it or to get drunk is their own choice and not a imperative function of the audient. How does one tell that audience/performer relationship is working properly,and does lots of name screaming, whistling and excessive clapping necessarily limits itself to the only sign of a successful performer/audience relationship? What is your view of a good relationship between performer and audience? What are the symptoms of a good relationship?

Epilogue: answers to these questions.

This wraps up as to what I have to say, and thank you very much for your time. Perhaps we can have dinner sometime. (laugh) I hope this letter was appropriate since i have never written sent "fan mail" to a musician that I enjoy listening to.


Andy M.

Dear Andy,

Please believe the very worst that is said or written of me.

If members of the audience believe me to be unpleasant, they are less likely to approach me. This holds the main advantage for them that their expectations of a warm response will not be unseated when I decline to engage. This has the advantage to me that I will be allowed my space and privacy.

This holds the main advantage for an audience that I am more able to remain available to the music, and performance, than if I engage in personal exchanges. This has the advantage to me that I am more able to remain available to the music, and performance, than if I engage in personal exchanges.

This has the advantage for us all that within the act of music we might better discover that we are, in an intimate yet utterly impersonal way, the same person. And believing me to be a fallen and ungrateful creature has the prime advantage of being closer to the truth than seeing me in any other light.

Sincerely, R.


Soundscapes from Newlyn Church on December 6th. 1997, a performance organized by the same Peter Willis that I was visiting yesterday, are weaving their magic. The greatest characteristic for me, at the moment, is their capacity to escape the flow of time. The second main Soundscape we are now listening to is used, transposed, in The Power to Believe IV on the new KC album.


Hugh was the last to leave, at 19.00. I am awaiting David's return.


The Late Shift has begun. We are listening to the second half of the Saturday afternoon in Newlyn.


David & I have decided that Newlyn Church is worthy of an album all to itself - Being And Becoming. This is a coherent and unfolding performance "that holds time at bay" (my words) and "has its own sense of time" (David). "It renders time meaningless" David continues, optimistically seeking to clarify his position as The Vicar leans through the door and pulls a face at our weighty descriptions.


A through-view of Love Cannot Bear is now underway, following a call from the Sistery Sister at home in San Francisco.


I have found it hard to enter the World Financial Center after being inside a church at Newlyn in Cornwall. In this church, time is different. Sorry to return to that.


A discussion on a possible new DGM Website. The Vicar is in the adjoining office preparing a diary entry for this old-model website, cutting edge when constructed in the Paleolithic. David & Robert are Soundscaped enough for today: our conclusion is to proceed with Being And Becoming and then to approach Love Cannot Bear. Soundscapes seem to mature well, even to grow stronger as they mature. But enough of this, or The Vicar will return to pull faces at me.