Sunday 26 October 2003

Hotel Continuing to Be Acceptable


Hotel Continuing to Be Acceptable, Los Angeles.

The sun is shining, the sky is blue. Yesterday's 09.05 is today's 08.05.

It is impossible for me to socialise while on the road. I have attempted to make contact with friends in this town, but it's not a goer: I have nothing to offer them. My focus is not with them. Rather than send out a body to mouth empty pleasantaries while my attention is elsewhere, better to address what is necessary.

Q. What is necessary for me?
A. To walk onstage & be available to the performance, to the degree that I may.

The question I apply, when asked to do something/anything, or give away my attention, is simple:

Will this support my performance?

My "availability" is becoming increasingly restrained in the external sense, while more is becoming available in subtle ways. The "subtle availability" is exceptionally vulnerable, and the performance conditions that are part of KC touring life might as well be designed intentionally to undermine the little that is on offer.

From ET --

Gerardo Liedo Wed, 15 Oct 2003 14:16:32 -0500 Subject: Biggest audience for a King Crimson show?

Not counting Hyde Park 1969 which is the biggest audience King Crimson has had in all its history? I mean concerts with King Crimson only.

Just curious as We're gonna be 10,000 at the Auditorio Nacional in Mexico City.

Robert Fripp said several times that he does not like bigger audiences he likes small intimate venues.

This is a good example of business acting to undermine performance while not seeing itself as doing so. The business aim would be to make the tour happen, and support the release of the KC DVD. This is not, for me, either a sufficient or necessary aim; but, in a purely professional sense, it is laudable. It may be that the release of Eyes Wide Open supports the tour, but I don't tour to support commodity sales. This, as an aim, reduces performance to a sales pitch. Fine for a record company, death for a musician. I do have my own aim for the tour, and it is not connected to professionalism.

A month or so before leaving for the US, on a transatlantic call with David Singleton from DGM HQ, I addressed two specific issues on this tour: venues in Mexico City & Chicago.

The choice in Mexico City was between a 2,500 seat theatre for two nights or one night in a 9,000 seat stadium. One night in the theatre paid one-third of one night in the stadium. I was asked to choose. My call: two nights in the theatre. But, by the time the tour was being finalised, the theatre had gone. The business rationale is this: the fee from Mexico City underwrites the rest of the tour (which is not a money-maker anyway). The tour is now planned to end in Mexico City, in the stadium.

A stadium is not a space that I would choose to present the music of this band. But, King Crimson will move into whatever space is presented and be prepared to deliver. Part of the writing for this incarnation has taken into account the inappropriate venues that we are sent to: the strokes are broader & more clearly delineated, while the detail is available in performance, if permitted. Whether or not we are allowed to deliver is substantially out of our hands: we are only part of the equation.

In the early 1990s KC were offered a stadium show in Buenos Aires by the established promoter there, instead of a series of theatre performances (that we intended). The promoter knew the business, knew what to do, knew how to do it, and made the arrangements that had to be made to make the business happen. My question was this:

Is playing in a stadium a musical choice?

For some, the answer would be yes. For the Double Trio, a theatre was the better way to go. This was the musical choice. In order to make that possible, Possible Productions was formed by Hernan Nunez and three trusted friends in Buenos Aires to honour the musical intention: they made a tour happen that supported the musical aim. The established promoter did what he could to undermine the tour & Possible Productions: it was an embarrassment to him that a musical event of the year, King Crimson's first visit to South America, was organised & arranged by first timers & "amateurs".

The second venue discussed on the DGM HQ transatlantic call, for this current tour, was Park West in Chicago. A wonderful venue, both small & large enough to get a shot at musical communion. But the size of the stage cannot accommodate two bands with stuff. Trey was also concerned. Despite our concerns, the venue was booked with two bands anyway. From a business point of view, a great idea: two hot bands on the same stage. From a practical point of view, a nightmare. This diary mentions frequently-arising dread, a result of being put in the position of having to address, after the event, the repercussions of a clearly expressed concern that had been overruled.

So, the two situations that I spoke out against, a month before leaving England, had both been set up despite my declared position.

Since 1991 David Singleton & I have exerted ourselves to create a business framework that supports the act of music; while attempting to present, to an interested public, the mechanics & constraints of the working player's life. This present information might be useful to those who, on the outside, find seeming contradictions in the stated positions of RF/KC/DGM.

Now, a helpful post to the KNews Guestbook --

RedBert Posted: Sat Oct 25, 2003 9:32 am Aspergers Syndrome --

The poster suggests that the symptoms of Aspergers Syndrome might explain the manifestations of that most ungrateful & rude guitarist, Grumpy In The Dark.

An alternative approach might be that Grumpy is increasingly concerned, that the dwindling clocktime available to his breathing function & the shrinking of his volitional attention span, are now as subject to trivialisation & active cluelessness as they have ever been. Accepting that this may not change, what changes is how he deals with it. Walking in front of the firing squad, with acceptance, is one valid approach. There are five others, and a sixth that is invisible.

Me, I trust my feet: I look down, watch them walking & see that they are taking me to where I need to be.