On this day in 1985 my Father flew from this world with my Mother, St. Edith of the Valleys, by his side.
On this day in 2012 my Diary has Wasps Buzzing and ongoing Endless Grief.
Morning Sitting. Reading, beginning with a private document, and writing with musical accompaniment…
To the top library and visiting my first online DGM Diary postings from 1997.
I Advance Masked – Day Twenty-Three…
Down the garden…
… and now back at the top.
Concert Photography :: Posted by DevlinC on September 18, 2007
CD: Ok, as expected no one’s really coming with me on this.
RF: When we seek verification for our views, where possible we consult recognized authorities in the relevant field. Otherwise, we consult with our peers. Mr. Devlin has consulted his online peers and, mostly, they have rejected his views. Mr. Devlin points our why they are wrong.
CD: Bucket - Are you seriously suggesting that Robert Fripp has a 6th sense where he can tell the exact moment someone has pulled a camera out and taken a photograph, even when there’s no accompanying flash? Come on, Fripp is a brilliant man but he’s not psychic - I’m sure he wouldn’t suggest that he can literally feel a photograph being taken. A psychological sense of not being listened to, perhaps, but that can be for any number of reasons, some of which could be internal rather than external.
RF: There are two big mistakes here:
The first mistake is to assume that the limit of our own experiencing is the limit of the experiencing of others.
The second mistake is to assume that our experiencing within a performance context is the same as in normal, everyday, mundane situations. A performance event is exceptional; our experiencing within it may also be exceptional. Surely, this is one of the main reasons we go to the performances of artists whose work has moved & touched us? In performance (as in athletics) enhanced / extra-ordinary states are acknowledged, allowed for & commonly & described as being in the zone.
Two additional mistakes:
attributing brilliance to RF;
missing what else is on offer.
The sense of not-being-listened-to may be psychological, but my own experiencing of this (which is extensive!) is more instinctive and in the feelings. Can I “literally” feel / sense a photograph being taken of me? I regret having to declare this but, on occasion, yes.
Is what-I-am-registering the camera-shutter moving? Unlikely. As far as I am able to figure it, after many years of reflection, I register the intent / attitude of the photographer. Often, the sense is of something being lost; this rather than an instantaneous and direct knowing of where and how the disturbance / disruption is coming from (this also in many non-performance situations involving the public). More like: the air going out of a balloon, or the tank running out of gas, for no obvious or apparent reasons. Everything is great! So why has something just died? On other occasions:
a slap in the face;
a punch in the face;
a knife in the heart.
If my sense is of something-being-lost, then (reflecting on my feelings and experience, rather than Mr. Devlin’s assurances that my feelings and experience are imaginary and impossible) I incline to the view that something is, indeed, being lost.
Then I move to the question: is the aim of the mostly-surreptitious, non-consensual act/s to contribute to the performance event, artist and audience? Alternatively, might the aim of the photographer be to take something for themselves from the moment? That is, instead of making a contribution, might the aim be to take something – perhaps to give them happy memories in 10 or 20 years’ time?
Is there a difference between being photographed by Tony Levin and a photographer-with-attitude? One who, for example:
acts regardless of no-photography requests;
knows that what they do has no effect on anyone;
knows that their photography is paying a compliment to the performer who has asked them not to pay compliments in this way;
only does a little bit of it anyway so it has no effect on the performance;
and no-one can see what they’re doing, so it really can't have any effect;
and since it gives them good memories as they get older, fuck the performer anyway?
The quick answer is, you betcha!
So, I wonder: Tony isn't being sneaky, and his photography is a positive. So, am I registering the sneakiness and the attitude and the intention to-take-something from-the-event, rather than the photography itself? What contribution does non-consensual photography / viddying / recording make to the performance, performers & audience (other than Mr. Devlin’s compliment, that is)?
Psychic is not a good word to use, nor is ESP a useful term. Our senses can be developed to an extraordinary degree, and to such a degree that a person, not sufficiently trained or practised, then attributes this enhanced sensory capacity to an extra sensory dimension.
I have known a therapist who could smell emotional states; NLP is widely known for its reading of eye movements; and body language is now used in press and news reports as indicative of affective states & intentionality. For the punter, buying and selling is a superb education in reading subtle cues; as is playing poker and vingt-et-un. One small everyday example: when we are in conversation, we can tell if the other person is listening. That is, we have a sufficient degree of everyday sensitivity to experience when the other person’s attention has moved.
Some people have a natural sensitivity / empathy to emotional and psychological states in others. This is more “emotional intelligence” and psychological acuity than ESP; but for someone out of touch with their feelings, who confuses thoughts with their thinking, this might seem like magic. Sensing and feeling intentionality, and becoming aware of the materiality of thought, develops gradually within a long-term practice; and is a way of measuring the growth and maturing of the practice. If we don’t have a practice, these are only fine and meaningless words.
Mr. Devlin declares: I only filmed for 30 seconds – and no flash! How could anyone know? A good question. What is being said by Mr. Devlin is: I do not have the requisite degree of sensitivity / sensibility to know the effects of my behaviour; therefore,
1. no-one else can either;
2. but anyway – there’s no effect!
I would be more persuaded if Mr. Devlin had posted: I have sincerely engaged in developing a daily sitting practice for 33 years, studying with experienced people in their field; applying myself to acquire discipline and professional skills in both personal and social contexts; and can therefore confidently declare that it is not possible to detect the intentions or actions of others within a specially defined and prepared event in which many hundreds / thousands of people come together with experienced executants in their field to intensify the common experiencing.
What Mr. Devlin says is, subtle experiencing of this kind must be psychic! And Fripp isn't psychic! So he can't have any experiencing like this! By using the word psychic, Mr. Devlin defines the terms of discussion in such a way that subtle experiencing, in an especial event or not, cannot be discussed. Perhaps, if subtle experiencing in performance events has eluded Mr. Devlin, he may have concluded this is impossible for others.
How does a group improvise together? How can each member “know” what the others will play, almost simultaneously? How did the improv from The Great Deceiver come about? A series of happy accidents?
In Guitar Craft Circles we have been practising, testing and developing sensitivity in performance and group situations for 22 years and 7 months. Many students who came into GC with a healthy scepticism, encouraged to accept nothing presented to them without personal testing & verification, have been persuaded by their experience in courses-on-the-road, during live performances, of the tangible nature of intention; and the damage done by Mr. Devlin’s close relatives.
Q: In fields of subtlety and sensitivity, how we do get verification?
A: On a level playing field, we consult our peers. If fortunate, we go to those experienced / acknowledged in their field, present them with our own work and experiencing, and ask them to pass a value judgement; eg an apprentice presenting an example of their work to their instructor / master craftsperson, or other comparable authority. In addition to the recognition and acknowledgment of authority in their field, we assume impartiality and goodwill.
Martial arts is a good example, widely available and within the experience of many. The action seems immediate, tangible - nothing subtle about throwing people around! Experienced practitioners of martial arts are well aware of sensing their opponents’ intentions: if they don’t, they are the first person to hit the mat. They are also well aware that intentionality bypasses what we conventionally refer to as thinking: thinking is too slow. A good batter in baseball anticipates the bowler’s throw: that is, they are responding to the intentionality of the bowler.
The master (apologies for the masculine language) moves energies. This is a very high accomplishment, and the novice who walked into the dojo and declares to the master – what are my rights in this situation? you can’t know what I’m doing – or about to do! I have rights you know – would be advised to know how to fall.
If we have no discipline, no form of practice, we are unable to pass judgement. No shame: but better, we have the wisdom to withhold comment. In the Basement, we have rights! We have the right to present our opinions without a corresponding level of insight, or experience, or practice in the field or subject on which our opinion is being trumpeted forth. And those who don't agree with us, haven’t understood our point of view! And if they have, they’re wrong!
What might we do to discover / develop this sensitivity?
Firstly, we are ignorant.
Secondly, we recognise that we are ignorant.
Thirdly, we acknowledge that we are ignorant.
Fourthly, we move to address our ignorance.
To climb out of The Basement, what is required of us is that change our attitude, our view of things: we adopt a new way of thinking, which requires / enables a qualitatively different way of interpreting our world, our experiencing.
If we are in The Basement, our head is placed where sunshine never falls. If this is our case, the idea that our head is placed where sunshine never falls is a new idea. Before, we were clueless. Now, we know we are clueless. Everything has changed. Now, we may be able to apply ourselves to developing a clue; preferably by finding someone else who has extracted their head from a dark place, has the knowledge and experience of how to do this. But, while we are trumpeting our opinions of the weather from a sunless region, almost nothing is possible.
It doesn't matter that we are clueless; it matters that we don’t know we are clueless, because then we are dangerous.
So, have I had “psychic” experiences? Of course. But to describe my experiencing within a performance as psychic is to try to explain “creative experiencing” in terms that prevent creative experiencing being described / discussed. Are their psychic components? Yes. Have I had psychic experiences within performances? Yes. Extra sensory peception? Yes.
Does this mean I am a better person? Of course not! We are all in the same boat; and, since we are all in the same boat, better:
firstly, to know we are in the boat;
secondly, to know the nature of the boat;
thirdly, to know how the limitations of the boat;
fourthly, to know our personal capacity for action.
At a creative level, we are all the same person. And sometimes we can “creatively experience” this with within an exceptional event. Creative experiencing at the large festivals in the late ‘60s was something. There was an innocence to this, with little sense of I have the right to behave in any way I want to! That is, the event had a sense of community.
“Creative experiencing” is immediate. Am I able to know exactly and precisely what is going on in terms of specific behaviours by individual non-contributors exercising-their-rights in the audience? Sometimes yes, but rarely. Usually, the experience is of the performance evaporating; the energy running out; the show just dying, even though the performance “sounds fine”. Everything is good, so why has it just died? Being part of a living performance is to have a sense of being alive within its energy flows: we are part of its health and vigour. When it gets sick, we know!
CD: Also, I thought I made it clear that I wasn’t advocating recording an entire concert and selling it? I actually said specifically that’s not what I’m talking about.
Yes. Mr. Devlin made it clear that his behaviour is personally, not professionally, non-consensual.
CD: RFwhitman - That’s an almost reasonable explanation but I don’t really understand why a professional musician who has chosen a life in the public eye would be so precious about that.
This statement is authentic and convincing: but I don’t really understand. There is no shame in this.
Precious? My concern is practical and pragmatic. My question, as of most concerns relating to performance, is: does this (action) support my performance? If the answer is yes, then mostly it’s fine with me, whether I like it or not. If the answer is this does not support the performance....
Mr. Devlin’s argument seems to be: those who appear in public have no claims to conventional courtesies, forms of politeness, consideration for their views - no claims to any of the rights I demand for myself! – because they appear in public!
CD: Musicians owe their careers and their lives to their fans
My own life and career takes place despite the attention of fan attitudes and Mr. Devlin, not because of them (although Fripp’s toadying to acquire fan popularity has been the subject of a recent comment in the Guestbook).
My financial standing is mainly the result of two factors:
a background in estate agency (being brought up and working in my Father’s firm of Welch & Lock);
the madness of the English property market;
with a possible third: persistence.
It is true that KC fans have supported several record companies, several agencies, several music publishing firms and, above all, EG Management and companies under the common control of EG directors, notably SG Alder Esq., an honest, God-fearing family man (to quote Mr. Alder himself). Some of this “support” reached me, but diluted in extremis. I encourage all interested fans, who feel Mr. Alder owes part of his career and life to their support, to write directly to Mr. Alder on the Isle of Man and demand an equitable proportion of their fan rights, now long overdue.
It has greater truth to say that my life and career is where it is - because I have declined to accept the “support” of fans, noting that Mr. Devlin’s support is nothing I recognize as supportive.
As an ungrateful, heartless, raging, hypocritical and leader of unquestionable venality, I hope and request of Mr. Devlin, and anyone who holds similar views, that they give their support to others. Formerly, I believed public support for my work was that I might continue playing music. Photo sessions, demands for autographs, personal contact, and a panoply of assumed fan entitlements, are nowhere part of my booking contract; nor do my royalty statements contain a list of responsibilities to fans and an addenda of consumer rights.
CD: - that doesn’t equate to the musicians owing something back to the fans, but if someone wants to take a picture? As long as they don’t use a flash and don’t take hundreds plus live video, they’re paying you one of the highest compliments they can give.
RF: Mr. Devlin continues to deny that his behaviour has consequence.
Compliment? What value is a compliment from a man who doesn’t care how he behaves? Mr. Devlin’s aim in taking photographs is already declared: he intends to take away some happy memories for future use.
CD: I suppose for me, being a musician myself, I’d feel honoured that someone would actually want to capture an image of me because they enjoyed what I did so much.
RF: I note the word: capture. When someone captures something of me, I experience loss.
CD: Perhaps when you’ve been in the industry for as long as Sylvian or Fripp you forget that simple joy,
RF: Joy is simple, and playing music always a privilege; but performing to an audient with Mr. Devlin’s attitude is complex, problematic and unrewarding.
CD: but it seems a shame to misintrepret it as being somehow selfish of the audient or disrespectful in some way.
RF: There is shame in being somehow selfish or disrespectful in some way.
CD: Paulwelsh - I’m not sure where all this misunderstanding is coming from…
CD: I felt my original post was very clear.
RF: It was.
CD: The "photographer" in this case is listening intently for 2 hours and for 1 minute of those 2 hours is taking a picture from 20 rows back with no flash, no sound, no problem.
RF: No problem from Mr. Devlin then: only one prick in the balloon.
CD: Nykfury - All you’ve done is illustrated my point that this is all very one-sided. The performer gets to dictate the rules of the show and if any audience member has any other ideas.. well, they’re disrespectful, unattentive, selfish..
RF: Mr. Devlin is a suffering, innocent audient, being told what to do by a dictatorial artist / venue.
CD: the list goes on.
RF: In the Basement, this is what it is: the list has no end.
CD: I just don’t see how that is the case with one little picture or one short video.
RF: This is the problem & Mr. Devlin has nailed it: I just don’t see. This is how it is, for all of us. The onus of seeing, or not, rests with us. This is our responsibility, if we feel it sufficiently keenly. Or desperately.
CD: I even said in my first post that just filming for 30 seconds made me feel like I wasn’t enjoying the concert as much as I could be but that was a sacrifice I was prepared to make because it’s my enjoyment to sacrifice.
RF: What a hero, what a sacrifice.
Mr. Devlin, more clearly than many posts for a while, has presented (words beginning with “A” this time) an accurate, authoritative, authentic picture of life in the Basement.
He has rights. He makes sacrifices. He is prevented – improperly – from exercising his rights to do what he wants, regardless of the effect on others – there are no effects anyway! And even if there were, it’s a good thing for the artist – even if they don't know it! And why would they think their show was being spoilt? Because it’s not being spoilt! How could it be? You'd have to be psychic to know! And even if it were spoilt, he’ll send his pictures to their website! They should be grateful he took them in the first place! He is advancing their legacy! They would have no careers without him! Without stolen photos, websites would have no photos! Without people bootlegging whole concerts illegally, there would be no download sites! At least, only boring ones!
CD: The other argument is that musicians need people to like them enough to take pictures against the rules in order to have their careers. Without people doing that, there would be no pictures for DGMLive ... indeed, without people recording the whole concert illegally, there would be no DGMLive full stop, at least a severely less interesting one.
RF: Haven’t we just been through this?
Even in a posting of this dopiness, Mr. Devlin manages to descend to new heights, and is awarded a further Clueless & Slightly Slack award. This is a new record: three C&SS awards in two posts.
As recently discussed on the Guestbook, a prime aim of DGM Live is to turn around decades of violation and spoilt opportunities, honouring the injunction:
turn a seeming disadvantage to your advantage;
the greater the seeming disadvantage, the greater the possible advantage.
Firstly, Mr. Devlin need not concern himself to provide us with disadvantages to positively address and turn around: we are already dealing with our quota.
Secondly, acting badly is not the best approach to find ways of acting rightly. Better to begin with the intention of Right Action. Then, we generate / inherit a better quality of disadvantage that, inevitably, follows as an effect / repercussion and reward.
CD: I now have 30 seconds high quality video of the David Sylvian tour of 2007. If he doesn’t release a DVD - which he won’t, for reasons best known to himself - then in 20 or 30 years time that is an artifact that was worth taking.
RF: Mr. Devlin knows better! Mr. Devlin has preserved the legacy of David Sylvian for posterity and encourages us to applaud him for it.
CD: You can’t just ignore the fact that everyone in the room is an individual life that will go on for many decades or maybe just a few days after the event and that there are much bigger fish to fry.
RF: Apologies: this one escapes me. Can we give this one more try, please?
CD: You can’t just ignore the fact that everyone in the room is an individual life that will go on for many decades or maybe just a few days after the event and that there are much bigger fish to fry.
RF: Sorry. Missed it again.
CD: Incidentally, the only time I’ve ever taken pictures of Fripp during a concert was ProjeKct Two at the Jazz Cafe, 1998. What a disrespectful bastard I am!
RF: Perhaps Mr. Devlin was paying us one of his compliments.
One flash killed a P1 performance for me. And Mr. Devlin may have noticed, or not, that following two visits to the Jazz Café (P1 & P2) I have not returned since. This is very much a performance venue for improv, small and intimate, in many ways an ideal venue. So, why have I have not returned in a decade? Clearly, it can’t have anything to do with Mr. Devlin and his close relatives: their actions have no effect.
CD: Although I’ll be happy to share them with you when that concert is made available on this fine site, despite the slings and arrows of being branded a bad audient.
Firstly, for a bona fide audient, listening is sufficient; for a bona fide audient, it is also necessary: for a bona fide audient, it is also their right and obligation.
Secondly, much better that Mr. Devlin had never concerned himself with photography, rather than now use DGM energy in turning-around and neutralizing the effects of his actions – even though there were none anyway! Much better even than this, if Mr. Devlin seeks to support the legacy and posterity of artists, that he acts consensually and supportively from the beginning. I encourage him to preserve the legacy of others more grateful than myself.
19.03 Off to play with my Wife. Yippee!