"What is your ambition?" people like to ask. "What do you want to do? What do you want to be?"
Witless questions all - unless you come pre-packaged with the desire to inhabit the societal and economic rabbit-hutch that has been set aside for you. Few do, and fewer still actually find their respective rabbitry ready and waiting for them, clean and inviting and lined with hay. No: it doesn't really work like that.
Also, 'ambition'... I have a real problem with that concept - Aspiration. I tend not, as a general rule, to Aspire. I Respire, and that is sufficient. ;-) Ambition is gnawing, which is best left to rodents*. [*Silvanic in-joke, which nobody but me will appreciate...]
Anyway... drifting orf ye pointe, innit? To resume: those silly, silly questions, which anticipate answers suitable for inclusion in University application forms and job interviews. I (in this current context) refuse to answer in the directed manner. Nevertheless, I do know what I want to do, and what I want to be.
I want to Elucidate, and I want to be an Elucidator.
That is, one who shines a word-torch on Meaning.
It's not about forcing understanding, or reducing the sense of something into bite-sized, palatable chunks. Very often, Elucidation is achieved opaquely. The aim is to enable and stimulate whoever reads or hears your words to decode their own sense of the thing. To tickle up a teasing itch of Think.
Wildly bold to state such an aim, of course, but if I have one particular challenge en train at the moment, it is... Death to Self-Effacement!! False Modesty be Damned! Saying Things is one of the few things I can do well, so I may as well do it. Besides, annoyance and affront (which you may feel on clocking my presumption) are excellent thinkstimuli. ;-)
"Once upon a time there was a cat called Fripp and a dog called Eno." There ought
to be a cat called Fripp and a dog called Eno - it seems correct, in an unbudgeable way. Whatever, with Elucidation in mind, these two characters - Robert Fripp and Brian Eno - are Elucidatin' away like champions. Mr Eno, obligingly, has made a deck of cards. "Fetch!" you may command him - "Go on, boy, fetch me an Oblique Strategy!" Turn up another card and there it is. Bingo! Of course, now it's up to you to decide what to do with it. And he's not going to tell you - nope, he's wandered off to bury a squeaky toy (always innovating sonically) or to rhythmically consume water from his bowl (lap, slop, splish, drip - a compelling ambient soundscape!). But he offers no obstruction, and every entry wins a prize.
But the four-footed Fripp is really very inscrutable. Now purring, now biting, now cuddly, now sulky, there is no telling what he's going to hand you. Very often he will not even look you in the eye. His utterances are concurrently obvious and cryptic. He has an oddly precise memory for dates that is curiously joyous. His approaches come from unexpected directions: he is left-handed - woo, SOLIDARITY - but has ordered his world around playing the guitar the right-handed
way. (Further, the man claims to have been, prior to embarking upon his musical trek, tone-deaf. At which my brain goes, Huh?!?!
This is less like Mohammed scuttling dutifully mountainwards - more as if he'd dug up the entire mountain with teaspoons and rebuilt it in another place! Seriously, I believe 100% that very few humans are truly tone-deaf, and that most who feel they are might be coaxed, with practice and encouragement, to sing a decent 'Happy Birthday', but... to go from 'tone-deaf'
to World-Mending Musician
is... Something.) He gives off a most unusual energy. A wild and strange gathering of the utterly ordinary and of towering otherness. I dunno, I... like him. Watching and listening to various snippets of Youtubeage in the last few days, hearing him Say Things, I came away quite elated - delighted - hypnotic mischief afoot. This, I declared, is most presently and persistently An Elucidator!
This man is also a contrarian. As protective of his privacy as a sea-urchin... yet he posts in his online diary about chiropody appointments and what he had for lunch. :-) (I love this. Especially the photos of cakes! He likes cakes.) Then again you might get, alongside the cream tea, an impossible premise or philosophical conundrum. Or a rant of apoplectic expostulation... followed by a moment of stark and honest humility. I approve utterly, too, the pursuit of 'gentling'. :-)
Geographically all is auspicious. I grew up rather near to Wimborne (the Frippsource), and the elegant Worcestershire town where he is now installed with Ms. Toyah has great romantic significance for me, for it was there that my wedding-dress was made. (I used to go for my fittings - becoming more and more ensilked each time - and leave David to potter - to gentle, perhaps! - before reuniting with him, usually to repair to a tea room.)
When feeling capricious one day, I Asked Facebook what one ought to do in re King Crimson. (Well... it's there, innit; I've always left it for others, but it is good to break the habit of abstinence once in a while, and who knows, I might like it...) A very kind friend sent me a lot of CDs (all nice legal ones, I hasten to add - in his profession one gets given these things, and ends up with multiple copies, which it was most generous of him to pass on to me, rather than having an ebay moment!). This is strictly opposite to my preferred MO when sampling a new music. I like to pick one album and do that, and if it excites me enough I'll get another, and if it really excites me I shall glutton. But I don't like to glutton from nuttin', as it were. Plus, I am still VdGGing and owe my foremost attentions to them. So I've given the KC roundels the odd spin, but not yet in a very conscious way (this is to come), nor in the passive-listening* way that is best when approaching something 'difficult' - although, if it has recognisable melodies, and it begins and ends, it's not 'difficult' by my reckoning... but it's not 'Old MacDonald Had A Farm', 'Moon/June/Spoon' type stuff, so it'll need its due share of Thinktide - and will receive it. [*The passive-listening thing works really well, though, on anything your brain isn't quite ready for yet. Just put it on whilst you do something really boring and mentally untaxing - cleaning, or filing. Don't 'listen', until your attention Goes There of its own accord. That's when you know you're Getting It.]
But, no, yes, what I was leading up to saying was, more than ever I recognise in my style of music-appreciation the need (more often than not) to hang the music on a personality. And the need for that personality to have the correct ingredients in order to inspire useful thought/be in harmony with current aims or sense-of-self. A very self-regarding way of looking at things. But I realise also that it has to be like that. I've 'been musical' all my life, and my first experiences of making music (making my own music) pre-date my first interactive contact with other people's music. All of us compare everything to ourselves, always, but I do that more than most others, because my world has always been a consciously self-made world. I become elated and excited in the presence of hints of fellow-feeling, even when they come from a mind that is utterly alien - any hint of communion or empathy is precious, but it is especially so when you have not been inspired to begin (you just began, inevitably). You don't need to be inspired by others in order to continue (you will continue, inevitably) but... it's good to realise that you can
be inspired by others - the world you have made may connect with other worlds. Usually there is exquisite timing at play (the Ultimate Music) - many, many times I've encountered something at not quite the right moment, filed it away in the back of my mind, and had a Large Revelation later on. Sometimes it takes years, but the moment always comes.
By which circuitous ramblement I intend to say: the experience of listening to a new music is always less piquant and meaningful (for me) if it's purely about the sound of the music. If there isn't a personality to enjoy. There are lots of things I can hear and think, "This is really good" - but it does not move me because I am not somehow clued in to the person who made the music. It doesn't have to be that I like the person; just that they interest me. My reasons for being interested can be pretty daft or whimsical, but the interest must be there.
And Now, the interest being found to be there (purring - biting), I shall happily anticipate a cream tea date with KC destiny when the moment comes.