Elephant Talk #1251 (as text)

18 February 2007

Date: 14th February 2007
From: Jakub Misak
Subject: Robert and the dread amateur photogs
> > While it's certainly Robert's choice to walk off the stage because
>> > > someone makes the mistake of *gasp* photographing him without
>> > > permission, by doing so he's also giving the finger to all the
>> > > members who behaved correctly, not to mention paid good money to see
>> > > perform. What a lovely message, to punish everyone in the audience
>> > > the dastardly deeds of an individual.

Robert's intention is not punishing anyone. Actually, when he walks off the stage in such occasions, he's being generous to all attentive audience members. Because he cannot continue in a worthy way anymore. He feels the performance is dead and he's unable to do anything about it. So instead of presenting a dead, worthless performance, he quits.

I remember him disagreeing with the traditional "Show must go on" attitude - in his opinion, show doesn't have to go on if elementary conditions are not met (which may be a number of things - venue, sound, audience attention etc.). Because no performance might be a better option than miserable performance. He is very sensitive to these things and he still has high standards (despite all the problems with touring in Europe etc.) - to him, musical performance is a sacred event where music comes to life as an interaction between the performer, the audience and the venue. That's where the power is. This has nothing to do with money - the "paid good money to see him perform" refers to a purely professional performance. But Robert's aspirations are much higher than that - he's not there to present a professional performance, he's there to serve music. So when the necessary conditions are undermined and music cannot come to life anymore... Walking off the stage is a honorable, honest and respectable way to finish the event.

R.I.P., Elephant Talk.

Date: 12th February 2007
From: Richard Heath
Subject: Anagram

It took a while to get this! At first I thought maybe it was a reference to a reharmonisation exercise - but you'd have to forgive both spelling and grammar to accept 'cords rewrote'. A little perseverence though brought 'Tower Records' - and a quick consultation with the LP sleeve reveals that as the location of the recording.

I'm sure this will be one among many posts to express sadness at the termination of ET, though I suppose it is sadly inevitable. Over the years the list has been illuminating, stimulating and occasionally infuriating. Very many thanks to Toby, Dan and Mike for all your work.

Best wishes

Richard Heath

Date: 12th February 2007
From: Mike
Subject: Stop Press?

If this is the last newsletter of ET, I just want to say it has been very entertaining and an enjoyable read. I will certainly miss it. I always enjoyed what others like myself had to say about the world's greatest band and it's very talented members. So long ET...and thank you.


Date: 12th February 2007
From: Kevin Brunkhorst
Subject: Fripp, Photography etc

Let's kill the photography thread forever, no? [ Oops! -- Mike ]

Everyone who knows Fripp knows he doesn't want to be photographed with flash while playing. I understand why. Some don't. If Fripp walks off the stage for that reason, the audience is being punished. Perhaps the audience is supposed to punish the photographer.

And yet there are many photographs of him performing. Many are on the DGM Live website. Why not simply look at them? And Fripp loves to take snapshots. On his website are lots of pics he's taken: out of hotel windows, in hotel rooms, in his living room, in the backyard, even in the mirror. Pictures of parking lots, cars, beds, bookcases, fireplaces, light poles, flowers. Who needs more?

While we're at it, let's look at some evidence: Fripp does not suffer fools gladly. He doesn't have to. 40-odd years of being moderately famous in rock music have inoculated him against attention from strangers. He doesn't need it. He can probably afford to 'retire', and in the (now obsolete) conventional music-business model, he mostly has, because he picks his work, rather than being a victim of it. Good. He's 60 years old. Rock music is not known for intelligent people.

But then, he could've been a realtor. Then he would've taken pictures of houses and lots.

We can tell by reading that he likes coffee, sweets, reading books, and taking pictures (and reading e-mail, apparently, since he does a lot of it). He's private and yet keeps an online 'diary' in which he tells you more than you will ever know about most people in similar positions. Obviously the people who are important to him are his loved ones and family, and the few musicians and co-workers he trusts.

The music speaks for itself, and the music tells us things that the musician cannot. Yet he chooses to tell us other things, such as how his flight went, when he got to speak with his wife, and that he sleeps on the floor sometimes. Who among the readers feels like they've been cheated?

Kevin Brunkhorst
Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

Date: 13th February 2007
From: Nick Spannaus
Subject: Stop Press?

Boy, I've been out of the loop for a while--and when I finally get a chance to check up on a new issue of elephant talk, this "STOP PRESS" message is glaring me in the face. Well, I hope everyone involved is healthy and content. Good luck in the future. I'll be here. Still listening to the old records.

(On a sidenote, for anyone living in the Austin-area: check out a band called the Invincible Czars.. They've been around for a while, but I've just recently discovered them. They sound like a cross between early 70s kCrimson and any given Mike Patton project).

Date: 13th February 2007
From: Dan Wasser
Subject: the last ET

Mike, Toby, and Dan:
It was a lot of fun while it lasted. Thanks for all your efforts and thanks for providing lots of entertainment to me. Good luck to you and yours!

The King is dead. Long live the King.

Dan Wasser
Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA

Date: 16th February 2007
From: David Kirkdorffer
Subject: ET - faith thee well

If this is the last edition of Elephant-Talk, I'm a little saddened by the news.

ET was the coolest reason to have internet access back in 1993 when I first came across the site. Through the 90's ET was a great place to keep up with all things Crimson. And what an amazing community ET built. The pent up need for hundreds of people to communicate tidbits and anecdotes about their Crimson experiences found a venue and exploded, as did all sorts of conjecture about a myriad of Crimson topics. And let's not forget the "almost" flame wars.

ET became a venue to hear from members of Crimson as they dropped in. We heard about tour dates and new releases, ProjeKcts and solo releases.

And accompanying the ET newsletter, the ET website became home-base for all things Crimson. It attracted articles, interviews pictures and links, submitted by readers and organized into a very useful and easy to navigate website.

So, if this is the last ET, I am sad.

I'd like to express my gratitude and thanks to the ET team that has make this possible over so many years. Toby Howard, Mike Stock and my brother Daniel Kirkdorffer - thank you so much for all your many many hours of hard work pulling together a community that too often has taken for granted this wonderful little corner of the Internet.

Thank you guys. What you built has brought me many many hours of fun and entertainment. I will miss this little world you have shared with us all.

David Kirkdorffer

Date: 15th February 2007
From: Jim Lange
Subject: ETPost

Had to share about this issue of photography. I am not trying to cast blame here, but merely to express some thoughts about this issue. To accurately quote the ET posters, I have copied the words for the sole purpose of accuracy, not to be inflammatory.

"While it's certainly Robert's choice to walk off the stage because someone makes the mistake of *gasp* photographing him without permission, by doing so he's also giving the finger to all the audience members who behaved correctly, not to mention paid good money to see him perform. What a lovely message, to punish everyone in the audience for the dastardly deeds of an individual. But to each his own, I suppose."

I can only speak from my experience, which is in no way as vast as RF's, but given the thousands of distractions a musician has to deal with while performing music, the flash of a camera seems to certainly and instantly take away the immediate attention of the performer away from the music. There is also the element of being with the music, feeling its presence and then the indescribable moment of "being in the zone". Something I would say the audience experiences as well and to have this moment ripped away by someone whose own desires, by their own calculation, are more important than everyone else's is selfish and arrogant. There is such an element of "ME" in audiences today that people seem to go to concerts only to draw attention to themselves. It's as if to say, "I paid good money to act like a jackass and ruin the concert for everyone. Why shouldn't I? I paid money." No element of goodwill or respect for anything.

And true, one person can spoil a helluva lot. Ever play a gig and there's that one creepy guy who keeps bothering you because he wants to play your guitar? Then, because you refuse to let a total stranger play your beloved instrument, he tries to make you feel like you are the jerk?

Fripp and Crim have explicitly asked that no photography or recording take place. Why is that so difficult to respect?

"I am a loyal KC fan. Its a shame that arrogance and piety seem to get in the way sometimes of something creative and worthy of respect. The street is two ways, the giver and the receiver."

Not sure about what you mean by "piety" in this case, but arrogance is surely abundant.There is an element of giving and receiving, a mutual reciprocation, between performer and audience, but inherent in this has to be respect-respect on both sides of the stage. A photograph is an exchange as well, but one side has politely asked that no photography take place, yet it still happens. Concert goers refuse to respect the wishes of the very performers they have paid to see as if the price of the ticket gives them permission to act as they wish. Dudes! There's no logic in that at all. You, the precious money giver, have come to listen and not to impose your will upon the performers or to break the rules of the house. "Picture are momentents in time desired to capture that moment to hold as a re-collection of that time and space."

Can't agree more. That's why you should just buy Tony Levin's book-filled with great photos. Great Crimso moments captured forever. Pictures taken with permission, I might add.

"The understanding of personal freedoms to act or re-act is always there in any given situation, the freedom to walk off stage is always with Fripp.I've been there and seen it, it is a sad commentary."

Personal freedom? Does that include doing what the concert venue prohibits? If you mean that it's a sad commentary on concert goers who act inappropriately, then I agree 100%. If there wasn't any security at a Crismo concert, no doubt people would be shoving cameras three inches away from the performer's faces and asking them to sign album covers WHILE they play.

I've said enough. Thank you for your time.

From: Robert Fripp
Date 17th February 2007
Title: Elephant Talk No More

ET held the space open for Crim enthusiasts at a time when KC was not quite rehabilitated from its self-evident crimes of pretension, arrogance & existence as a poor man's Black Sabbath - no more, no less. other comments of similar cluelessness, from the music press of the period, were often matched by ET posters themselves. but online fan dopiness may be distinguished from professional witlessness by the passion with which fan-commentators enter the field. whether or not more or less light is cast on events under discussion is moot. the passion is not.

that moment has passed. during the moment, not only did ET lead the field, it was the field.

well done to all concerned.

From: Daniel Kirkdorffer
Date: 15th February 2007
Title: One Final Elephant Talk Posting

Back in the spring of 1995 my brother emailed me ET digest #175 (http://et.stok.ca/digests/175.txt), a special issue containing the full transcript of an online Q&A with Robert Fripp on Compuserve.

I was, to say the least, enthralled.

Like many, I had been a lonely King Crimson fan for many years. I had long given in to the reality that while I myself liked this band, I wasn't likely going to find anyone else who did. So I enjoyed their music in obscurity and learned never to bother trying to convert others it.

And then ET happened to me.

You see I kind of lost my mind - but in a geeky good way. At first I got this crazy idea to index every digest by topic and by contributor. And once I'd done that through 200 issues plus, I suggested to Toby that I could help him spruce up the ET Web site. Toby, no fool, was happy to offload that task on to someone else.

So I got busy and made some initial, albeit cheezy adjustments, trying to update the site. For a fascinating trip down ET Web memory lane take a look at http://web.archive.org/web/*/www.cs.man.ac.uk/aig/staff/toby/et/ and select May 14, 1997 to get a glimpse of things from almost 10 years ago. Amazingly, many of the pages at the archive.org site actually work. Initially the ET Web site was hosted on Toby's university servers, but I soon also added a subset version that was hosted on my AOL Web account. The Web was a slow beast in those days and transatlantic traffic could be sluggish at dial-up speeds.

In 1997 it was clear we needed a better hosting arrangement and we established the elephant-talk.com domain name. You can see the early versions here: http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.elephant-talk.com/ . By that time most of the sections at the site now were pretty much established and my job was one of trying to keep the content growing and fresh. I always felt I was merely a facilitator, as the content came from all of you, the ET readers. My role was simply to try and get it up online and make it easy to find.

Like the digest, ET Web had its hay day during the band's most active time in the late 90's and earlier this decade. In recent years it has fallen into decline as my own energies have been directed elsewhere, and interest in the site has dwindled, although fifteen hundred folks still visit every day, which is nothing to sneeze at. As I look at it now, I see a lot of things that need to be fixed and updated, not the least of which are the dead links and inactive features. Since the site will live on beyond the digest, the need to spruce things up will not go away, so hopefully, from time to time I will be able to nibble away at the backlog. If you've submitted content lately, my apologies for not acting on it yet. Patience, they say, is a virtue.

At the same time, ET Web has always been best at being an archive of non-multimedia content. These days sites like Krimson News, The FraKctured Zone, and Planet Crimson have all become great active online communities of a kind the ET digest once was. The official DGMLive.com site is a King Crimson fan's wet dream, providing access to high quality audio files for hundreds of shows. The days of the lonely King Crimson enthusiast have hopefully long since past.

When I began working on ET Web I knew very little about the Web world, but working on the site offered me an opportunity to learn and provided me with terrific experience in Web development. I will always be glad I took the plunge and got involved in this.

I also got the chance to make contact with band members, meeting all of the Double Trio band, and of course Robert Fripp. Ten years ago, some may recall that ET Web used to act as a portal for merchandise sold by Possible Productions (which eventually morphed into the Inner Knot Web shop of today). Toby and I considered a more formal arrangement that would have had us working on the creation of a Web shop or site for Robert Fripp and Toby approached him about it. That never materialized, and instead DGM Web Mark I was created with the help of a third party design team.

Within short order I could see DGM needed some assistance maintaining what had been created for them, and I offered my help. I think I did so a couple of times, and one day I got a "be careful what you wish for" phone call from Robert saying they wanted to take me up on my offer. So in January 1999 I was invited down to Los Angeles to meet with Robert after the band's Deja VROOOM release event. It was a fascinating moment to sit with a small group of reporters and the band as we watched parts of the DVD in its full audio glory for the first time. I couldn't help but observe the enrapt attention of Bill Bruford and Pat Mastelotto when they switched to the drum kit video angles and highlighted the drumming audio. A fan event followed for "autography" and I made sure I got my poster signed by all. It turned out to be the last public appearance by that version of the band.

The next day I met with Robert and Amy Worthington (now Priore) in his hotel room, and we talked about how to evolve DGM Web, which led to my volunteering to be the DGM Guestbook moderator so that it could be revived. As I was headed to the airport, and he needed transportation, I gave Robert a ride. As we talked in the car I couldn't help but think how pissed off all King Crimson fans would be with me if I got into an accident on those LA freeways with Robert as my passenger! Fortunately the ride was smooth, and Robert dubbed me a "hero". Aw shucks!

Yet, my DGM Web work was a job. I made sure they paid me for my time so that they always recognized the value and cost involved in maintaining a Web site, although the time I spent moderating the Guestbook I did for free. It was an honor and a pleasure to help the DGM team out, and I thank them and Robert for the opportunity. However, ET Web has always been for all involved a labor of love.

Along the way I found I needed help and so I farmed out responsibilities for various sections to others. Our ET Web Credits section still tries to lists all those who helped in various ways, and I want to mention some of them here, in no particular order, in this final digest:

ET Web was truly a collaborative effort and there were others I didn't list who helped as well. You know who you are, and I thank you. Mike Stok and John Relph have been quiet contributors, always there, always reliable, always keeping their side of things up to date, and that kind of long term commitment is next to amazing to me. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

But my biggest thanks go out to Toby Howard and Mike Dickson.

Mike took over distribution from Ken Bibb back in 1996, and has been a pleasure to collaborate with. Mike has helped us get through many a day. Even when he was up against yet another digest mailing problem, he never ceased to attack the issues with gusto and good scathing Scottish humor. Almost 1000 of these suckers were sent out by Mike and we couldn't have gone this long without him.

As for Toby, what can I say. Ever respected as the soul of Discipline, and then ET, Toby's moderation style has always been perfect. Never heavy handed, always respected, always there. The one month I filled in gave me a taste of what Toby does and how easy it is to over moderate. Like Mike, Toby has been a pleasure to "work" with on ET, and his trust in my handling of the Web site helped give me the freedom I needed to make choices on my own about how it evolved from early on. As I mentioned before, ET Web opened up a lot of doors for me I would never have come across, and as a fan, put me in a position few of us here have had to get to meet the people in the band, and those that support the band so they can do what they do, and so we can listen to it in crystal clarity on the latest releases.

Thanks to you both!

I should note, that with no more ET digests to moderate, I'm going to have to find ways to make sure these guys have something to do with ET Web. There are still Gigmaster and FAQmaster openings available guys that I think you would be perfect for!

Finally, I want to thank my brother, David, for sending me ET #175. That's how this all began for me, and had he not done so it may have been years before I discovered that I wasn't all alone in my enthusiasm for King Crimson after all.

Alright, enough of me blathering on and on, the burning question that's on all our minds is when we'll next hear new King Crimson music? Whenever it is hopefully we'll have something worthwhile at ET Web about it for you to read.

Keep us bookmarked!

Dan Kirkdorffer
ET Web

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

From: Toby Howard
Date: 16th February 2007
Title: Last Elephant Talk

You'd never believe it, but once upon a time, it was almost impossible to find out what Robert Fripp was up to.

In 1991, I decided I wanted to fix that.

I first encountered King Crimson in 1974 at the Records section of the Birkenhead Public Library, and although I liked the record cover (which was the natural basis on which to borrow a record), I took an instant dislike to the music of "Lizard". At the time, I was a sunny Yes-fan/jazzer, dividing my time between what we would now call "prog-rock", and what we would now call, as we did then, "jazz".

I didn't listen to a note of Crimson again until as a regular gig-going student at Manchester University I saw "Discipline" play up the road at Manchester Polytechnic on (the archives tell me) May 17th 1981. The Poly was a dirty, smelly place, beer on the floor, full of spotty students, but the music was like nothing I'd ever heard before. "Gamelan Talking Heads" I wrote in my diary. (I did, really.)

Well, this is the place to cut the story extremely short, except to say I was hooked, and in the next few years I devoured every Fripp-related "thing" I could get my hands on. Except Lizard.

In the mid-1980s Guitar Craft got going, and I got seriously interested, even writing to attend a course, but it never happened. But GC European tours were happening, and I caught them at Zeferreli's in Kendal and at the Leeds Irish Centre.

I believe it was Guitar Craft that led directly to Elephant Talk.

Or rather, it was my frustration. In those days, it was almost impossible to know what was going on -- there was no source of information. I wrote to EG Records: "I am a fan. Please add me to your mailing list". They didn't, or perhaps they didn't have a mailing list. Knowing what we know about EG now, perhaps there are other explanations.

So, one summer afternoon in 1991 in my office at Manchester University, where I worked, as I do now, as a Lecturer in Computer Graphics (not Prog-Rock), I looked at my VT100 computer terminal and it said to me: "Start a mailing list."

So I did.

I had a few contacts gleaned from the USENET News system (still limping along today) so I assembled a small mailing list and circulated these people asking if they'd be interested in a moderated mailing list to discuss anything related to Robert Fripp. This was 19th August 1991, and I said:


Hi! Thanks to everyone who's expressed interest (24 so far) in a mailing list to talk about Frippery. Tell your friends!

I started the list so we could talk about Fripp and his music/ideas, as well as former (and I hope future!) King Crimson members, and other collaborators, the League of Crafty Guitarists etc etc etc

Unless anyone can come up with anything better, I'll call the list "Discipline". For now, contact it at toby at uk dot ac dot man dot cs.

I'll do my best to moderate the list, and send out a digest every so often!

Let's go!

[ the whole thing is here: http://et.stok.ca/digests/1.txt ]


And "go" we did, ending 16 years later after 1250 editions.

The name changed because Robert rang me up and suggested that "Discipline" was not really appropriate, and he was right.

I'll let the archives speak for themselves, except perhaps to highlight the April's Fool edition, which is my personal favourite, and still brings tears to my eyes ("Tony Levin interview in Hairdressing Today", "Anyone got TAB for soundscapes?", "I just had a cool idea -- let's record the show!"). Oh stop it.


Why is the ET Newsletter closing down? Well, it came from, and belonged to, a different time.

Today, as I'm sure you'll have noticed, there is certainly no shortage of information about Robert and Crimson and all the connected people.

Who, in 1991, nevermind 1974, could have ever dreamed of on-line resources like we have today? It's absolutely wonderful, isn't it? Aren't we lucky? Click-it and you-got-it.

Posts to ET have dropped off dramatically. People prefer quickfire forums and guestbooks: "I-say-X-she-says-Y" exchanges that unfold "instantly" instead of being batched up into weekly newsletters which require a sharp eye for spotting the quoting conventions within mail messages.

My role in ET has been minimal. We could not have achieved anything without the goodwill and kindness of many many many people, just a few of whom I'd like to mention here.


I had the pleasure of meeting Robert after an in-store Manchester HMV soundscapes appearance in 199-something. As we walked up the stairs to the Green Room (or "Store Room" as an HMV-employee might have described it) Robert asked me: "Why did you start Elephant Talk". I replied: "To share information".

If he were to ask me today "Why did you finish Elephant Talk", I think I'd reply: "I think we've shared quite a lot of information over the last 16 years, but now there are much better ways to do that, so we're not needed anymore."

Elephant Talk the website will live on. We have a ton of valuable resources there, and we need to decide what to do with all that. It needs un-entangling, and re-entangling somehow better.

But for ET the newsletter the time is over, and to everyone even remotely involved with us over the last 16 years, I say thank you.

Best wishes,


Mike Stok