Farewell Elephant Talk

From: Mike Dickson
Date: 15th February 2007
Title: Farewell Elephant Talk

So farewell then Elephant Talk.

It has been a long time in the coming, but Toby, Dan and I could see the writing on the wall for this one for some time. Moderated e-mailing lists are really a thing of the past, and what with web-based forums and the very impressive pages of the DGM web site it seemed that it was time for the elephant to pack up his trunk. All quite sad, but things have to 'move on', as the glorious and venal leader would have us say.

I can still remember when I was about fourteen in 1978, buying 'Earthbound' in a second hand shop because I had read great things about King Crimson in a book on Genesis. At that time the people in that band seemed so far away and the enjoyment of music such a distant thing from its creator.

Now we have - or maybe expect - the ability to be able to get in touch with the people who make the music to which we listen. I have been around the list for some time, way back to when it was 'Discipline'. Even then it all seemed so far away, but it was very fulfilling to be able to get in touch with real people who love the music of your favourite band as much as I did, and to chat about them and (dare I even breathe it) exchange bootleg tapes.

When Toby declared that ET was going to die unless a new distributor could be found then I jumped at the chance. I wrote to Toby explaining how it could be done and - without even waiting for a reply - wrote a bunch of programs that would administer the mailing list by e-mail and send out the digests and bulletins automatically. Fortunately Toby agreed to my proposal and I was suddenly in charge of administering and distributing the newsletter. In time I would eventually moderate the newsletter in Toby's absence; more programs were written.

For all that it's a mailing list, it has very much been a labour of love. As the Bishop of Southwark nearly said so recently "it's (part of) *what I do*". There have been many high points in it along the way, such as getting first dibs on getting to the playbacks for 'Epitaph' and 'The Night Watch' at the Hotel International near Hyde Park. Not only did I meet the people from King Crimsons Mk I and Mk III, but at the latter I also made one of the most important contacts in my life and met up with the guys from Streetly Electronics who were demoing the 'Red' era Mellotron at the event. It took little persuading me that this was the one moment I had been dreaming of since the teenaged Dickson was listening to my gatefold sleeved albums in my bedroom in my parents house in Musselburgh. I bought a second-hand Mellotron from them and have never looked back; *that* has opened a lot of doors for me, which perhaps ironically included a visit to Toronto with the guys from Streetly at which one Ian McDonald was present and who stayed with us in our hotel suite. Talking with him about his music and his brief tenure in KC was fascinating; to talk with someone whose musical creativity laid out a new path followed by so many others was quite an experience.

Other high points include our notorious April Fool issue as well as the early days of the list when it was interesting to take part in discussions about new releases, particularly 'THRaKaTTaK' which owes at least some of its existence to the membership of Elephant Talk who asked for the release of more live improvs. I can also remember a certain thrill hearing us getting a name check in 'ProzaKc Blues', although reading the lyrics revealed that thrill was perhaps a bit premature!

Low moments have been few and far between, but contributors attacking some band members as well as almost getting roped into the same lawsuit as Robert have to loom large. But despite that I never for once thought that the game was not worth the candle. I remember that the fourteen year old me didn't know anyone else to whom he could talk to about KC and certainly had no other way of hearing less-than-entirely-legal recordings of them. If ET can brought people together under the umbrella of King Crimson and Robert Fripp then we have succeeding in doing what we all set out to do.

My great and sincere thanks to both Dan and Toby, both of whom have been a pleasure to know and work with. I hope we have the opportunity to do something together again in the future and even actually *meet* some day!

So farewell then Elephant Talk. It's been a great few years.

Mike Dickson
Elephant Talk Admin and Distribution

Mike Stok