Wednesday 07 September 2005

DGM HQ The degree to



The degree to which any music form may develop is governed largely by the listening community's state of receptivity. This, in turn, is strongly influenced by the nature of the larger society. The nature of the larger society is significantly shaped by its media. Terror!

A small example from my own professional life - the toxic hostility of the English music press during the 1970s & 1980s - has recently been returned to my attention while proof-reading the inlay booklet for the about-to-be-released Second Volume of The 21st. Century Guide. From the ever-reliable Two Gills:

John Gill (Sounds, May 23rd. 1981) reviewing KC (as Discipline) & the Lounge Lizards performing at the Haymarket Theatre. The result was an emotionless, arrogantly clever-clever music, a lack of personality in inverse relation to the talents combined up on the stage. It was a shock and a shame that such musicians could join in an exercise of egg-head-wanking. The audience prostrated themselves before Fripp's poorly-disguised ego. I walked out halfway through in the hope of keeping the sparkling memory of the Lounge Lizards fresh in my mind. It's no disclaimer when I say it was a performance of shining virtuosity, for virtuosity means zilch when you're playing passionless, hung-up music.

This is one of John's more positive reviews.

Andy Gill (New Musical Express, October 3rd. 1981 reviewing the Discipline album): It's all technically tight and ship shape, as you'd expect, and will no doubt be a source of some excitement for those who get into a lather over lightfingered fretboard work and similar musicianly virtues. It's also incredibly dull and pointless, like a film that sacrifices plot and characterisation for flashy special effects and stunts. No real risks are taken, and not an ounce of authentic joy or anger cruises its pedantic grooves. Andy is the author of an all-time favourite reviewer-comment: music is too important to be left to musicians (2000).

When a society moves on, even by one generation, and looks back with a measure of maturity & distance, how terrifying to see how thinking & agenda under discussion were being directed & shaped by our media & info channels. This is only one small example, within my own domain; one where people do not die as a result of egotistical, witless commentary and careless judgements made by characters pretending to an authority which, to be authentic, requires generosity of spirit, in addition to breadth of knowledge, wide experience & insight.

It strikes me that both these writers dislike musicians. I wonder why that might be.

10.20 The Morning Shift: mixing a small, quiet voice -- the guitar solo from yesterday's Evening Shift.

12.21 In my inbox:

Subject: New Book about King Crimson - Spain

: My name is Y and I am from the Canary Islands, Spain. I am writing to you to let you know that we are writing a new book about King Crimson in spanish. Luckily, It will be finished in two months and we would like you to have a look with us and discuss a couple of issues... before it gets published.

I am living in London and my mobile number is :: Looking forward to hearing from you:

My reply:

if you were interested in my opinion, i am surprised that you did not contact me some time ago. had you done so, i would have suggested then that you take no further interest in your KC book.

for your book to be of any value, you will necessarily have had to make contact with a significant number of the KC members. if you are contacting myself at this late stage, i assume that you have also not made contact with the other members, past & present (as did, for example, sid smith when writing his own history of KC). if this is so, i wonder what addition your book will make to an understanding of KC. if your book is more a musicological analysis than a history, you will have necessarily contacted dr. andrew keeling. i have not been contacted by dr. keeling in this regard, so i also assume that you have not.

so, what is your aim in publishing the book, please?

you appear to assume, on your side, that i might be willing to read & comment on "a couple of issues". i am not sure why you feel i am available to this. if my opinion were of value, as suggested above, you would have made contact before.

13.07 Love Cannot Bear is underway in SoundWorld I. Here in SoundWorld II we are listening to the end part, lunchtime performance, of The Second Day at WFC, November 29th. 2000. Given what followed, this is poignant in the extreme.

23.51 An afternoon visit to Salisbury to repair two pairs of spectacles, then buying large amounts of level T cleaning products for application in the dirty, dirty DGM office.

The Evening Shift & Love Cannot Bear, followed by a discussion on the Vicar's plans. David left recently. Now, the floor beckons.