‘The Guitar Circle’ by Robert Fripp

I’m not in the habit of giving book reviews, but this book had a strong effect on me, so I felt compelled to write about it.

The Guitar Circle by Robert Fripp

The Crimson King

I’ve been a long time admirer of King Crimson, and, by inference, of Robert Fripp. The man is clearly a legend. And, like Mark E Smith, he is infamous for creating a certain band atmosphere by means of benign dictatorship. Indeed, one of the bands I’m in, Crimson Creatures, was partly named as an homage to the also Dorset-related band.

But, I’m not a fanboy. I’d never paid much attention to Fripp’s extra-curricular activities, apart from his musical collaborations with Brian Eno, David Bowie, and Van Der Graaf Generator. I have also, like many others, been subjected to his video shorts with Toyah. So, although I was aware of Guitar Circle, I knew very little about it. Any book about the craft of playing guitar written by a god-like guitar genius has got to be good, right?

Apparently not.

I’m usually very thorough when I read a book. I start at the beginning, read all the extra bits, and never skip anything, no matter how boring. I might miss something. The introduction seemed very rich in hippy phrases. You know the sort. Like (and I’m paraphrasing here) you cannot just receive the music, you must first clear you mind, become at one with the universe, and you will become receptive to the music.

I Talk to the Wind

This sort of thing went on for quite some time. I kept putting the book down, as it was quite hard going. But, I was bound to get to the meat and potatoes soon enough, right?

Apparently not.

After a sizeable chunk, I started doing the unthinkable and I jumped forward a few pages to see for how long the zen philosophy continued. Several jumps later, I was at the end. I made the momentous decision to put the book down, and put it away. I was defeated. It must be said that I rarely never finish a book I’ve started, and this book was not cheap.