Tuesday 20 June 2006

Breakfast Room, Hotel OK, Rome.

10.04

A comment has been made re: my (frequently critical) comments about live performance. So, why write and comment about performance?

1. To seek validation from others of my perception that conventional live performance, as is customary in the life of the professional touring player, is nonsensical, destructive and almost completely unmusical.

Comments made in 1974 on the existence-cessation of King Crimson, essentially that the life was mad, at the time received almost no support and validation from the other parties involved (other than the implicit agreement of David Cross). This was not the only time that I have felt myself to be the only sane man in the asylum, sure proof therefore that he was, himself, a bona fide loon. Without validation, his perception of given-reality as inverted must itself have been inverted.

2. To persuade others, with whom I have a close personal and professional relationship, to refrain from pressuring me to undergo, yet again, a process  which they know to damage me, physically, emotionally and psychologically; and yet act as if they have not heard, and/or not accepted, or ignored, my re-iterated statements to that effect.

3. To present, to interested members of the listening public, the practical concerns and daily arisings in the life of a working player; whose belief is that the stupidities, inanities, dishonesties and carelessnesses, and fundamental exploitation of the player by the music industry, might otherwise be perceived as exaggerated reports by a failed and embittered player.

The experience of performing in English churches and cathedrals during the past two weeks has reminded me, and sharpened my sense, of what playing music might be like. Specifically, how it might be like where an act of music is not mediated by commerce; nor subject to the interests, expectations and demands of its representatives; and where the performance space supports those who aspire to what is true and what is real, whether playing or listening.

First Hypothesis: The music industry acts to prevent music unfolding.

Second Hypothesis: Audiences at musical events act to undermine music unfolding (eg with alcohol, drugs, recording, viddying, photography).

Third Hypothesis: The professional musician co-operates in the undermining of the musical event in exchange for attention to:

1. their personality and egotism;
2. their person; eg social / sexual relations;
3. their personal wealth and financial standing.

There are exceptions, and they are rare among artists, audients and industry characters. These exceptions act against gravity and inertia. Mostly, this is for a limited time period. Any positive act generates a negative in response. Any act generates repercussions, which have to be addressed. And those who act against gravity are themselves also subject to the forces of inertia and gravity.

10.40   At 10.05 the Noise Pollution Unit was ignited and set to Witless Pap – Destroy! Destroy! This followed a relatively blissful non-NPU quiet of eighty minutes’ breakfasting experience. Beethoven String Quartets were on the Noise Cancellators for personal delight, accompanying my reading of Anthony Blake’s Ways Of Higher Intelligence. But after 10.05 Noise Cancellators and Grumpy Ludwig, He The Lead Poisoned, became personal protection while diarising.

12.04   Room With A View…

Practising. Making the accommodation and extension from Soundscaping-mind to becoming part of The League Of Crafty Guitarists performance team.

13.56   A salad lunch at the Basement restaurant next door, listening to Soundcapes from St. Paul’s, London. This is quite something.

And still no online in the room. John is defeated, and this suggests the fault is probably with the hotel, whose staff themselves seem baffled by the technology.

23.54   The Team are off to a restaurant; I’m back at the hotel and changing strings.

This evening’s venue: Sala Santa Cecilia, Auditorium Parco della Musica.

Roman ruins left exposed…

 … between the 3 auditoria of which Sala Santa Cecilia is the largest…

… a large concert auditorium of 2300. This recent construction was, I am informed, the (then) building site where KC played in 2003 (a show killed for me by constant photography).

Corridors…

… to the Room Of The Director I…

II…

 

III…

The Director’s Room has enough room for The LCG, who have been provided three smallish dressing rooms. I have asked that, in future, they be given the large room. But Fripp is The Star, after all, and the room is nearest the stage.

Stage I…

II…

III…

IV…

The League of Crafty Guitarists I…

 

II…

III…

IV…

V…

VI…

VII…

VIII…

IX…

X…

A few words at the Fisting:

It is not possible to play music, so let us not concern ourselves with that.
It is possible to be played by music: let us concern ourselves with this.

Before we began, Crafty Alessandro walked onstage and, very courteously, requested no photos. He was applauded.

A respectable attendance of perhaps 1200 - 1300. The audience were exceptionally generous. The LCG performed honourably and were very well received, justly so. Throughout the performance, a sense of goodwill was tangible. If all audiences were like this, my performance life would have been very much a different experience.

As a younger player, rock audiences were the right place for me to be; and King Crimson the right band for me to be in, playing to those audiences. Perhaps, this was mainly a function of age - young players performing to young audiences the music of its generation – plus time and place. That was a time in the world, and rock music had power in its moment. Now, an acceptance: I’m not a player for contemporary rock audiences, nor festivals. Tool’s audience, last Wednesday in Hammersmith, was a very strong rock audience for a very strong rock band, but not an audience to which I could present any music that currently holds my passion.

This is another time in the world, and rock music no longer flies on the particular octane that once powered it.

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