Robert Fripp speaks. He hasn't done that for a long time - at least not with the press. But on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of his life's work King Crimson, the odd master guitarist has invited media representatives from several countries to London. To a mixture of panel discussion, press conference and personnel show, which took place according to his rules. eclipsed was there.
This Saturday, 6 April 2019, it will be colder in London than on the mainland. For once, this has nothing to do with the Brexit, but is due to an Atlantic low runner. However, a certain depressive lethargy can be felt everywhere on the streets of the metropolis. Quite different in a small cultural centre in the West End district. Robert Fripp has invited the domestic and international press to announce upcoming activities for the 50th anniversary of his band King Crimson. Some 25 press representatives from all over Europe responded to the call. The date came as a surprise, as King Crimson's brain had preferred to send his fellow musicians on the recently scheduled promotion days for the upcoming anniversary tour.
It is not as if Mr. Fripp wants to conduct a series of individual interviews as he did a few years ago. He prefers the big show today. In a plush ambience - on stage there are two massive leather armchairs, next to it a lectern and a microphone - we are allowed to wait for his announcement. Robert Fripp loves punctuality, it's time to strike ten: A side door opens, and the maestro enters the stage in a blue three-piece suit with a white shirt and tie and a blue hat, which he takes off shortly afterwards. A few words of welcome, then he'll get down to business. "I do not know your personal goals for today, but I will explain my goals to you."
Innocent ears for King Crimson
The tension among those present is palpable. And Fripp enjoys it. It's all his show. It's about King Crimson, but actually it's about him, who has been holding back from any kind of public questioning for over a decade and a half. Today there will be a short introduction from him, and then he wants to answer questions. "I want to introduce King Crimson to innocent ears. By that I mean an audience that King Crimson has never seen live before. It's not about whether they like King Crimson or not. All I care about is whether they see King Crimson the way they are. "Free from the veil of preconceived opinion over the past 49 to 50 years."
The man who builds himself up in front of the assembled Journaille makes no secret of the fact that he is vain. On the contrary, he seems to wallow in his narcissism. But he also knows he's smart. There is a reason why he has called for this press date and why he is going on tour with King Crimson's big formation for the fourth year in a row. Fripp leaves nothing to chance. He knows his following, a predominantly male audience beyond the age of 50. Not that Fripp has a problem with these fans, but he wants to win back the youth for himself. His listeners should not celebrate King Crimson for what they have been all these years, but only for what they are today.
What follows this announcement is a unique spectacle. Fripp lets himself fall into a 70-minute rush of words in which he explains the philosophy of his band, comes from the hundredth to the thousandth and from there to the hundred thousandth. He enjoys each of his words, explains his explanations by means of a fictitious blackboard, which he divides into four or more segments on the empty wall, regularly makes his listeners laugh with witty humour, betrays little anecdotes and occasionally addresses questions to individuals present. He leaves the omissions about historical details to a British journalist who is known for his knowledge of the band's history. The present KC singer Jakko Jakszyk is often asked for confirmation of what has been said.