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Indiscipline -- King Crimson

Guest poem submitted by , the fifth in our 'rock
lyrics' theme:
(Poem #745) Indiscipline
 I do remember one thing.
 It took hours and hours,
 But by the time I was done with it,
 I was so involved,
 I didn't know what to think.
 I carried it around with me for days and days,
 Playing little games,
 Like not looking at it for a whole day,
 And then looking at it,
 To see if I still liked it.
 I did!
-- King Crimson
[Comments]

I find this little ode to obsession and introversion very cute. When seen
written down like this, rock lyrics are about the last thing that come to
mind.

Being an introvert myself and having known obsession first hand, I can
readily empathise with the feelings expressed here. I'm sure any of you
who's ever been deeply involved with either an object or an idea or a
relationship (or whatever) will understand what the narrator of these lines
is talking about.

Notice how the narrator never gives us a clue about what *is* the "it" that
he/she was so obsessed with. IMHO this really lifts the poem above the
ordinary. Notice also the remarkably original title "Indiscipline"; coupled
with the fact that the poem is in first person, we have the suggestion that
the narrator is laughing at the lack of discipline of his own former
obsessive self.

[Background info]

This poem is the first "stanza" of lyrics to the song "Indiscipline" on King
Crimson's 1981 album _Discipline_. I'm posting the complete lyrics at the
end. The reason I extracted only the first stanza was because I thought it
was beautifully complete as a poem. Also, it is in fact set off from the
rest of the lyrics in the song.

The lines above are not sung, they're simply spoken dramatically to a
bizarre instrumental accompaniment, so bizarre in fact that I cannot
describe it except to say that it manages to sound obsessive.

[About King Crimson]

If there is an avant-garde in rock music that has somehow managed to stay
mainstream and keep a pop sensibility, then King Crimson is the definitive
representative of the movement. Over a 30+ year career (still going strong)
band leader and guiding star Robert Fripp has experimented ceaselessy and
pushed the boundaries of rock like almost no one else.

King Crimson started out being rather similar to other art/prog rock bands
(ELP, Yes, etc) but have kept moving away from that sound. Sadly, none of
the dozens of clever songs that they've come up with over the years gets
airplay on any radio channel I know of, with the lone exception of the
admittedly brilliant "21st Century Schizoid Man" from their debut album.

King Crimson was never really one single rock band; its lineup has gone
through innumerable changes since its 1969 inception with Fripp being the
only constant. The King Crimson that wrote this song consisted of Robert
Fripp, Adrian Belew, Bill Bruford and Tony Levin.

Before you rush out to grab a King Crimson album, let me warn you that as
with any avant-gardist, their output is not exactly uniform in quality.
However, _Discipline_ is highly recommended.

Oh yes, the Encyclopædia Britannica mentions King Crimson, albeit briefly :)

[A note on drugs]

It would be easy to explain away today's poem as "drug influenced".
Unfortunately for such cynics, the fact is that Fripp never did drugs.

Amit.

[Complete lyrics for the song "Indiscipline"]

 I do remember one thing.
 It took hours and hours,
 But by the time I was done with it,
 I was so involved,
 I didn't know what to think.
 I carried it around with me for days and days,
 Playing little games,
 Like not looking at it for a whole day,
 And then looking at it,
 To see if I still liked it.
 I did!

 I repeat myself when under stress I repeat myself when under stress I
 repeat myself when under stress I repeat myself when under stress I repeat

 The more I look at it,
 the more I like it.
 I do think it's good.
 The fact is
 no matter how closely I study it,
 no matter how I take it apart,
 no matter how I break it down,
 It remains consistent.
 I wish you were here to see it.

 I like it!

[thomas adds]

King Crimson's titles are often quite interesting in their own right. Their
debut album (and the source of their moniker) was "In the Court of the
Crimson King" (a tip of the hat to Greig's "In the Hall of the Mountain
King", perhaps?); followups included "Larks' Tongues in Aspic", "Three of a
Perfect Pair", and "Starless and Bible Black". Alert readers will notice
that the latter phrase is from the prologue to Dylan Thomas' play for
voices, "Under Milk Wood"; you can read the said prologue at poem #270.

20 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Lars Marius Garshol said...

This lyric was written by Adrian Belew, King Crimson vocalist and
second guitarist since 1981. It is based on a letter from his wife,
describing a painting she was working on.

Interestingly, this song has a companion: the instrumental
'Discipline', the title track of the album. 'Indiscipline' is very
tightly structured (before all hell breaks loose at the end), but
sounds loose and chaotic. 'Discipline' is the other way around,
tight-sounding, but in reality constantly shifting and changing.

--Lars M.

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viagra said...

It's the first time I see you post a work of a musician... well, not that I remember, there was also one time I saw a poem by Bob Dylan, so I guess this is the second time.

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