Thursday, August 06, 2009

You Freaks Get On the Bus

I have noticed as of late that Fripp has been expounded more than usual about Guitar Craft attendees being a little too off kilter to participate. He politely calls them "loonies." Like the time, during a Guitar Craft course, he awoke to find a young man in his room staring at him. For some reason, Fripp attracts weirdos. The whole thing started with that freaky cover for their first album. Rumors of satanic practice and heavy LSD use abounded; all of it preposterous. But still, you kind of set yourself up with that band name, album cover, and music that's experimental. It's not like they called themselves Lovely Lads and avoided freakdom altogether.

From my own experience of a four day GC course, I cannot imagine someone with a tenuous grasp of reality being able to handle the ten day courses. I was a musician of 36 years experience with a master's degree and I found the pressure enormous. Fripp takes you through the paces of his guitar system- utterly alien with it's own tuning, method of holding a pick, and the introduction of advanced rhythmic and ensemble techniques. In short, it is sui generis.

Evidently, more loonies are taking these courses.
"it may be that there are others who aren't suitable for the OCG who attend. i intend to address this formally in the near future. the quick answer is, we don't have professionally accredited behavioural psychologists & therapists on our staff. so, our required standard of participation is normal-abnormal. "

Translation: we ain't got head shrinkers, man. We gots to screen the squirrels.

"hernan & i discussed, at the airport before i left, the problems we have with disturbed characters on courses. the amount of energy needed to contain one person, and europe has had compulsives, paranoids, manic depressives & substance abusers as regular attendees, has undermined what i see as our proper work. we accept everyone as they arrive, but the standard of acceptance is now normal-abnormal."

Line them up when they get there and put them into N and ABN groups. Tell the ABNs that they are going on a little field trip first and promptly drop them off at the airport. Politely refund their money and say, "Take care. Shine on, you crazy diamonds."
"There is drug & alcohol damage. Circuits have been fried. I don’t see this as frequently as I used to, when drug use was widespread among many of the young people who attended courses: almost as if I have a right! there are no consequences! Participants nowadays tend to be more mature, and less druggy. Possibly our clear statement on drug use is part of the falling-off of drug-using applicants."
Anyone who could go through a GC course stoned to the bone and does well, has my admiration.
"It was once, seemingly, believed that there were little or no repercussions from regular drug use. What I see, standing in the middle of the Guitar Circle, is a dis-connection between the mind & the body: they don’t quite seem to talk to each other; co-ordination is not. The body is, usually, able to move in established patterns but unable to grasp & respond to new patterns being presented. The mind holds a pattern & leads the way: the mind leads the hands. Or, as often on this course, not."

Every form of refuge has its price.

I once taught a student at the university that was clearly on something. No matter what transpired the week before, the kid came in the next week a complete blank. No matter the simplest exercise or chord, he struggled to get it. Slowly, the light would go on, but then next week, it was as if we had not had that lesson at all-a complete blank.

I eventually asked him point blank if he was using. His answer was no, but his mind was in perma-fog. Sad. He dropped out. Big surprise.

Everything I saw at the Guitar Craft session suggested to me that Fripp has control over every aspect of his life and he lives it as a meditation. His mind is keenly focused- abright, glowing thing to behold. I feel that he is intellectually vain in spades. I would lay any bet that he has never, ever taken any recreational drugs in his life.

Perhaps he should start.

In order to handle the freaks.

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