“One more red nightmare”

Donnie said he forwarded my email to Fripp and would let me know if he heard back. I sent that to Loren, because I wasn’t sure I’d ever get an email like that again, that said “I forwarded your message to Fripp.”

I don’t worship Fripp, but there are reasons I should. Loren worships him though, and it’s possible if we hear back from Fripp we might get to meet him when he comes to Seattle later this spring, and they start their US tour of King Crimson, and play an invite-only show the night before.

In my note to Donnie I told him that John (my stepdad) had a line of guitar strings I think they made just for Robert Fripp, and wondered, did Robert remember John? I included a photo and link to his Wiki page. And then I went onto Fripp’s, I looked him up, because I only knew about his time in King Crimson, and the fact he played guitar on Bowie’s song “Heroes,” and made records with Eno and Peter Gabriel.

And then I learned he has 700 official releases, was left-handed but forced himself to play right, is tone-deaf, and sits on a stool on stage while playing.

Donnie and I high-fived each other after he cut my hair, and then Brad and I went downstairs in my old office there at Starbucks, so he could show me pictures of his time in New Zealand, and use one of the flat screens to project from his laptop. It was a Saturday, which is the only day I can go there to get my hair cut, because there’s no one around.

It was my first time back in the main part of the office since I left in 2014, where I’d spent almost 20 years working. And I remembered an infamous meeting in that same conference room, 4 o’clock on a Friday, a bitter hour to host a project meeting, when I dropped my first F-bomb, and did so to a VP, but he was a VP of Design and really cool, I liked him, he was left-handed too, and when I blurted out “what am I, the FUCKING PROJECT MANAGER,” he laughed nervously, touched my arm and thanked me: he said thanks for saying that, I feel better now, and I wondered later if I should apologize, and probably did the following week.

In that room the others were coming unglued too. We sat there waiting for the VP, and they shared more about their personal lives, how much their kids were driving them nuts, how badly they needed a drink, and Dawn was picking me up at the office afterwards because it was my birthday, and we had overnight reservations downtown: we ate dinner and went bar-hopping and ate dinner again, when we got back…and the next day we had a garden crew come out to the house for the first time to do a fall clean up, and they picked it as clean as a chicken carcass, and I hung up the Christmas lights, and probably made dinner.

Brad brought his good camera to meet me at his work, and hung out in the salon while Donnie cut me, and afterwards we went to a different conference room that had good light and an interesting background for my headshot, except the background said Starbucks on it, so we moved to the side where it was more generic.

And I was surprised I looked okay in the photo when he showed it to me, and we packed things up and got on the elevator and headed out, and I was surprised too it didn’t feel weird to be back at my old office, and then wondered in a way if that’s why I still go there to see Donnie, because I feel some attachment to it I can’t get over, or I’m morbidly fascinated by it, the way we’re sometimes drawn back to old places we used to live, and sometimes the owners will let you in to walk around, and for a moment you just stand there looking, soaking it up, and after a few minutes of that you have to let it go, and just leave.



Categories: Memoir, music

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

24 replies

  1. Jeez, are we on the same wavelength. I just finished a piece about places I used to live. On top of that, I’m also a left-hander who plays right-handed. Never knew that about Fripp.

    I hope you get a reply to your email. It’d be super cool to have that Bill-John-Robert connection!


    • That’s neat about you and Fripp! There’s lots of interesting stuff about him (‘perpetuo moto’ style vs. blues-based, geeky stuff like that). I don’t know how Donnie and Robert met but that’s interesting too. I went on Spotify to track down some Crimson and couldn’t find any, and then made the connection that Donnie just finalized something about Crimson’s catalogues and licensing rights, so perhaps we’ll see more of their content on Spotify. Or maybe it’s deliberate it’s not there, I could believe that too. I have this album “Red” from my stepdad and a couple others. I’ve really enjoyed Red, and going back and reading about John Wetton, and then discovered he just died earlier this year. I’m in love with his singing voice.

      Liked by 1 person

      • There are quite a few KC albums on YouTube. I’ll have to have a listen, since it’s been a long time. I didn’t really care for that big Mellotron sound back in the day, but that record with big red face was everywhere then. Hard to avoid. True about Wetton’s voice. I think I saw a video of Fripp talking about working with Bowie, who’d come in with the vaguest of ideas and say, “Now do something with that.”


  2. If you’re feeling sinister. (Word origin fun.)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As a left hander myself, I always felt slightly affronted that ‘sinister’ has the meaning we think of today and means left handed too. An art history tutor told me it’s to do with the crucifixion, with the ‘bad thief’ being on Jesus’ left hand side – not sure if that’s true. But then, the Last Supper is the reason the number 13 is thought unlucky, so …
    Sorry for the ramble. I admire how you can return to your old work and not be weirded out by it, not be freaked by the ghost of work days past. I hate going back places – they feel haunted by good memories which makes me feel sad, or bad which makes something inside me flinch and want to run.
    Update us all on the Fripp email, though. Could be very exciting 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I admire the left handers, part of me envies you that. It’s my suspicion the left-handers are pure creativity, but I don’t know. I do like how it maps back to very old stories, though — the word.
      Going back is weird I’ll admit, but I am so nostalgic I find a way to go back anywhere. Something deeply Narcissistic about it I’m sure. But funny for me, my old workplace is where I’ve spent more time than anywhere else physically in my life, so there is a deep-seated connection there for me. And the building itself is marvelous, quite old for Seattle standards, and really exceptionally laid out. As you could only imagine a Starbucks office to be, at times Willy Wonka like.
      The Fripp email might not amount to anything, which is why I wrote it, as that may be the most it ever is. And that’s still quite a lot for me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, it’s amazing how much time we spend in work buildings, isn’t it? No wonder you feel such a connection to the place, though some of those connections must be bad ones I’m sure.
        Not a bad thing to work in a place of wonder. There’s a coffee shop in the centre of Bristol that’s been a coffee shop since the 18th century – it still has a very narrow stairway, exposed beams, small leaded windows. I often wondr how brilliant that sense of continuity is, the hushed conversations those walls must have heard when coffee shops were seed beds for sedition and slightly scandalous. Probably not so wondrous when you’re working a long shift there though I guess

        Liked by 1 person

      • You’re right of course, some of the connections aren’t good. Therein the argument for therapy, perhaps! Ha, I shouldn’t be so flip. I’m just going to go squeeze my bunny rabbit now.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Looks like an amazing place to have worked, though – good memories or no. Squeeze that rabbit! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. We were downtown last weekend and went past my old office building. My life is so sloppy and colorful now and I see that gray corporate skyscraper and remember all my coordinated business suits and the rhythm of downtown and it gives me a little shiver to think it could have continued for years.
    Being left-handed fits in nicely with all the other ways I’m a lefty.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. i get it. i left the advertising world to go to grad school with 12 $ in the bank and a chance for a new beginning, i love what i do now, and loved what i did then, but never would want to go back.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha, that’s perfect Beth. Cool to know that, thanks for sharing. Here I considered going into the advertising world to write copy, perhaps another life.


  6. A million years ago my brother had the first KC LP. We loved them hugely. Them and Emerson Lake and Palmer. Greg Lake was one of the founding members. I think those are his enormous vocals on Court of the Crimson King. He and Emerson both passed last year. God that sucks. I think I need to go listen to some their music right this moment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I knew that about Lake, and one of them committed suicide I think, so sad. Even John Wetton (who also sang for KC and later, Asia) died this year too! That’s neat you have those memories though and I like you say “hugely,” that album cover sort of speaks to that, the first one.

      Liked by 1 person

      • We saw ELP at the New Haven Coliseum around 1976. On the way home, a big limo was next to us on the interstate, and it was the band, giving my brother’s car the thumbs up and checking us little chickies out. We raced them for while and thought we were so hot shit, and of course we were, in our little universe. We lived for the music and worshiped the music makers.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s totally awesome. Good on you, very, very good.


  7. So..what happened with the Fripp meeting? Initially I thought this piece was contemporary because I just saw that King Crimson is touring this spring/summer. I thought you were getting ready to meet him. Never meet your heros. Haven’t you heard that?

    Liked by 1 person

    • We’ll see about the Fripp meeting, it’s up in the air at this point. They are starting their tour here in Seattle though and rehearsing etc. and my stylist is kind of coordinating some of that because they’re friends (he and Fripp). He’s not a hero of mine though, but I know that advice. I’m curious if he remembers my stepdad though.


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