That Awful Man & The Vicar – New York 23 Sep 2022

June 14th, 2023|

For those interested in the thinking behind DGM Ltd, that is the subject of this week's excerpt from Robert and my evening in New York last autumn. It was one of my favourite evenings, so the law of Sod of course dictates that this would be the one night when most of the cameras failed. It appears that if the cameras switch off for whatever reason while filming, the file is there - a huge 100 GB file in some cases - but it appears be completely unplayable (despite various possible solutions discoverd online) . If anyone has discovered a rescue solution that works, then I am all ears (and eyes)! It is always instructive (and somewhat painful) to watch your own performances. This was the only night when I took some notes on stage - and I must apologize to Robert for the fact that I keep sneaking a glance at them when my attention should have been 100% on what he is saying. Always room for improvement!

The Awful Man & The Vicar – Chicago 9 Oct 2022

May 4th, 2023|

Today's video snippet comes from the final night of our speaking tour last autumn. Each night Robert and I would begin by addressing what was currently on our minds. We have previously uploaded Robert's introduction from the Ramshead earlier in the tour. This video is my introduction from Chicago. I would assume that everyone reading this diary is a music lover - hence the interest in The Vicar - so you (or may not) be intrigued by the fact that, after about 45 hours speaking about music with Robert on that tour, I realised that it is very difficult to come up with a simple anwer to the apparently simple question "What is Music?". The answer that I came up with that night remains about my best attempt - a version of "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder". Or perhaps "One man's music is another man's noise". I am sure other people have better answers, but it is not as simple as it appears - which is, the more I think about it, very wonderful. Music really is this wonderful thing that sits outside most of our logical rational day to day existence. An entirely different world [...]

That Awful Man & The Vicar- Albany 24 Sep 2022

February 6th, 2023|

Another video from last year's tour. We are running through these chronologically, which brings us to Albany, a city I have always enjoyed visiting. The first time we were there, I bought a large ceramic pot from an Arts shop, much to the amusement of everyone on the tour, who laughed and wondered how many pieces it would be in by the time I got it home to present to my wife. Pat's wife, Debs, I recall was more forgiving and, entering into the spirit, thought that the sheer impossibility of the task increased the value and intent behind the gift. An unexpected ending, as I did get it safely home, and it had pride of place in our bedroom - until our large Bernese mountain dog knocked it over with her tail one day and smashed it into many pieces! I visited the same shop when we returned this time - but fortunately, there was nothing similar to tempt me into a repeat madness before the show on the 24th September. Over time, we intend to upload the majority of the questions which Robert and I addressed - but this one about "resolving differences of opinion" particularly interested [...]

That Awful Man & The Vicar – Toronto 16 Sep 2022

September 19th, 2022|

Toronto So the tour is begun. The “Star sleeper bus” coming to drag us away from the comforts of the hotel arrived five hours late, so we arrived late to the venue (comparatively easy to deal with), the driver had however exceeded his allotted hours and so was unable to collect us after the show (a little harder to deal with), and the “Star bedroom”, Robert’s sanctuary for the next three weeks, is a black hole, fairly bashed around and with no windows (much more difficult to deal with). Would I want to do this at 76? Hmmm… It has always felt like a necessary and logical step into the future, while for Robert, I suspect the practical reality with which we are currently presented must feel like a step into a well-forgotten and little loved past. The show, however, went well. When we got to the Q&A, a large and constantly replenished queue began to snake down the aisle. It seemed that it might never end. But this is the chance to get answers. One question, from a musician who has problems finishing projects and wanted advice, could be the basis of entire talk in and of itself. In [...]

The Vicar hits the Road – Bridging the Gap

August 31st, 2022|

As in the attached video, I have been considering the forthcoming speaking tour of the US – and more especially what connects the varying roles in which I have been cast over the years (songwriter, author, producer, label manager, band manager - all wrapped up in "The Vicar") and what acquired wisdom I might therefore impart. All those roles, it seems to me, are in different ways involved in “bridging the gap”, the problem which plagues all creative endeavours, as you take a perfect conception and have to make it real in an imperfect world. That concept applies not just to the artistic endeavours, but to the more managerial roles. In creating our own music company, we were “bridging the gap” between the way we would like music to enter the world, and the imperfect systems of the major labels. I took on the management of the live band for the same reason. There is always a gap – a point at which many projects fail and simply become bright unrealised ideas. And bridging it, which appears to be my role in life, will assuredly drag you into a myriad very mundane tasks which you really don’t wish to [...]

Additional Date

August 17th, 2022|

A new date has been added to the speaking tour by Robert Fripp and David Singleton in Sep/Oct this year. They will now also be appearing at Madison Theater in Covington on 6th October. Meanwhile, here's another teaser from That Awful Man concerning didgeridoos and rabbits. . . The following dates have been confirmed for Robert Fripp and David Singleton’s speaking tour of Canada and the US later in the year. Likely topics that will be explored during their time on stage will include: Where does Music come from? What does it take to survive the music business? When does the impossible become possible? Can Music change the world? Why did Fripp put on a tutu and dance to Swan Lake at the end of his garden? Who is The Vicar?   Friday, September 16, Toronto, The Royal Saturday, September 17 Montreal, Club Soda Sunday, September 18, Quebec City, QC Imperial Bell Monday, September 19, Syracuse, NY, Carrier Theater Wednesday, September 21, Ridgefield, CT, Ridgefield Playhouse Thursday, September 22, Boston, MA, City Winery Friday, September 23, New York, NY, City Winery Saturday, September 24, Albany, NY, Swyer Room Wednesday, September 26, Bethlehem, PA Tuesday, September 27, Red Bank, NJ, The Vogel [...]

Confirmed Dates

June 27th, 2022|

The following dates have been confirmed for Robert Fripp and David Singleton’s speaking tour of Canada and the US later in the year. Likely topics that will be explored during their time on stage will include: Where does Music come from? What does it take to survive the music business? When does the impossible become possible? Can Music change the world? Why did Fripp put on a tutu and dance to Swan Lake at the end of his garden? Who is The Vicar? Friday, September 16, Toronto, The Royal Saturday, September 17 Montreal, Club Soda Sunday, September 18, Quebec City, QC Imperial Bell Monday, September 19, Syracuse, NY, Carrier Theater Wednesday, September 21, Ridgefield, CT, Ridgefield Playhouse Thursday, September 22, Boston, MA, City Winery Friday, September 23, New York, NY, City Winery Saturday, September 24, Albany, NY, Swyer Room Tuesday, September 27, Red Bank, NJ, The Vogel Wednesday, September 28, Philadelphia, PA, City Winery Friday, September 30, Washington DC, City Winery Saturday, October 1, Annapolis, MD, Ram’s Head Live Sunday, October 2, Oakmont, PA (Pittsburgh), Oaks Theater Wednesday, October 5, Cleveland, OH, Music Box Supper Club Saturday, October 8, Milwaukee, Wilson Theater-Marcus Center Sunday, October 9, Chicago, IL, City [...]


January 25th, 2022|

There’s some very good news for anyone who missed out on the opportunity to ask a burning question either at any of the pre-show Royal Package events on King Crimson’s tours earlier this year. The pair will be presenting An Evening With Robert Fripp and David Singleton at selected venues in the United States during September and October this year. Full details and ticketing information will be announced at a later stage. In the meantime, there’s plenty of time to get those questions red hot and burning. An Evening With Robert Fripp and David Singleton Where does Music come from? What does it take to survive the music business? When does the impossible become possible? Can Music change the world? Robert Fripp and David Singleton address these and other Burning Questions. This is a continuation of DGM’s Royal Packages, a feature of King Crimson live performances, addressing the inner workings of King Crimson, Robert Fripp and The Vicar. Robert Fripp is widely known through his work with King Crimson, Brian Eno, David Bowie, Peter Gabriel, David Sylvian, Daryl Hall and Blondie. Less well-known is his work as Founder of Guitar Craft and the Guitar Circle, and directing the associated Guitar [...]

Inevitable Music

April 2nd, 2021|

Forgive me for stating the obvious – and repeating what has, no doubt, been written many times before in these pages. Probably even by me. But I was struck this morning by the absolute absurdity of the music industry. Not the machinations, dodgy contracts, and double dealing. But by the underlying principle – namely ownership of music. The absurdity struck me, with an astonishing clarity, almost like the proverbial lightning bolt, while playing Bach’s Prelude No1 in C major. If you think you are unfamiliar, find it online, and you will discover that you are not so unfamiliar. Which is exactly the point. This is inevitable music. Every note follows the preceding with absolute necessity. How could it be other otherwise? To play this is simply to be in touch with the source of music itself. How absurd that someone should own it. It is almost absurd to think that someone should have composed it. Which is not to diminish Bach’s undoubted genius. Maybe to increase it. For surely, he has simply allowed the music to compose itself. The notes of that piece are inevitable. How could there be a world in which they do not exist? But why, my [...]


February 11th, 2021|

With the excitement of live appearances later this year comes the irritating itch which is questions about the “right” to take pictures at concerts. Questions such as: “Why are we not able to take pics with NO flash? I am paying a TON of my money to attend??? I was able to take all the pics I wanted to at the Rolling Stones show. Surely no-one’s ego can be bigger than that? Explain what the camera issue is? You can surely rip customers off, but un-willing to explain WHY? Please address my concerns and please elaborate. Thank you.” So HERE WE GO AGAIN!! No-photography requests have nothing to do with ego (I generally find the larger the ego, the more people want to be photographed). It has everything to do with music and the magic of a never-to-be-repeated musical moment that can change our lives. Imagine if you will, that you have practised every day for the last fifty years to deliver the perfect line of poetry. And when you are finally delivering that line after all those years of practice, the person to whom you are speaking stops listening, rustles around in their pocket and starts taking your photograph. [...]

Operating in the market-place while being free of the values of the market-place.

October 23rd, 2020|

With today’s release of yet another DGM crammed-full-to-the-gunnels boxed set, it is worth revisiting the fundamental philosophical issues raised by the “replacement discs versus downloads” debate that followed the previous “Heaven & Earth” boxed set (where a few tracks on a BluRay, due to a mistake by the BluRay author, sadly played at the wrong speed). The very quick and simple version: you can either charge the maximum retail price that the contents of your box will justify - thus earning very large profits more than sufficient to cover unexpected costs - or you can fill a boxed set to bursting with wonderful goodies, while keeping it more generally affordable, but not have such luxury. You can approach the music business through the prism of business or the prism of music. A boxed set, viewed through the prism of business, may well be excellent – but it would be designed around the profit motive ie. it would only contain sufficient music to justify the price tag and the work involved. To put it differently, a boxed set with eighteen CDs, four BluRays, and two DVDAs would only be made if it was going to be significantly more profitable than one [...]

The strange case of The Vicar’s Talk (as retold by Punk Sanderson)

July 5th, 2020|

As we are about to released from lockdown, time to revisit those balmy days when we could speak to live audiences. In particular, The Vicar’s talk in Paris last year. The Vicar spoke at great length about the relationship between the musician and audience. It is a very special, sacred and intimate relationship, where musician and audience jointly give birth to the music. It is, however, not necessarily a personal relationship. The audience does not need to know the artist personally, nor does the artist need to know the audience. The Vicar has always been protective of his own personal space - resisting those who "Just want to say hello", "just have an autograph", "just take a photograph" - to the extent of telling the story of when he pinned someone to a wall for taking his photograph, and their misunderstanding reply of "but we give you money", as if buying or loving someone's music gives you access not just to the music, but also to their private lives as well.  (I am slightly reminded of George Harrison's quote that the fans gave their adoration, the band gave their nervous systems). The Vicar also spoke about the importance for him [...]

Bill Rieflin – his perfect imperfections

March 25th, 2020|

Although he never appeared on any of the recordings, Bill Rieflin, that extraordinary drummer and musician from Seattle who died yesterday, will be familiar to many fans of The Vicar. I have always loved his (untrue) quote as used on the homepage : “The Vicar is a genius. He didn’t pay me to play on his record, but he paid me to say that.” As is evident from the other tributes that have poured in, Bill was quite simply one of those people who enriches your life. Not that he was perfect! Perfection would have been boring, and he loved to be the grit in the oyster. I recall coming into the green room after a show, and he said, not really in jest, “Are you meant to be in here?!” As it was posed as a question, I replied with an equally firm “Yes!”. If a group of people have made a collective decision to head in one direction, Bill would reliably wonder why they were not embracing the alternative. “Would you like to come to my room and discuss…” He was wonderfully present and sensitive – both musically and personally. Oh boy! He will be missed!

Signs of Ageing

September 19th, 2019|

New England in the Fall! The leaves have not yet started to turn, but there is definitely a hint of autumn in the air. The “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”, as described by Keats. Odd things happen as you get older. Firstly, you suddenly find yourself interested in plants and birds (which was previously just a strange preoccupation of your grandparents).  And secondly, you find the beauty in poems that you studied in your youth, but which never sang to you before. Or at least, that’s what’s happening in my case – along with all the other strange signs of ageing, such as unwelcome growth of hair in eyebrows, noses, ears – and the fact that life just keeps getting better.

Can Music Change The World?

September 12th, 2019|

At recent talks, we have been addressing the question “Can music change the world?”  If Donald Trump, the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave (less than 500 metres away as I write this) was to open his bedroom window at this very second, he would hear the strains of “Easy Money” floating in. I am not sure exactly how that might change his world view. I suspect the subtlety of the lyric and the music would be lost at that distance. And he probably finds money easy enough already. But hopefully, at every music concert, the music changes some of those who attend. And if the people change, then, in a small or large way, the world changes.  

The last thing you would expect…

August 28th, 2019|

My hotel bedroom is on the very top floor of a 27-storey building. I therefore have the net curtains permanently drawn back so that I can enjoy the spectacular view, just drawing the main curtains at night. There is not another window in sight. No-one overlooking me. And yet this morning, I was awoken by a knocking outside my window. Perhaps a bird had flown into it? I drew the main curtains back…to find a window-cleaner, suspended on an abseil rope, staring back at me! Was I dressed? Like the best mysteries, that is for me and the smiling window-cleaner to know.  

The Murky World of Performance Rights

November 7th, 2018|

Necessary “business matters” rear their ugly heads: in this case the murky waters of “performance fees” (the money paid by artists & promoters to the writers of the songs that are performed). Why murky?! For once, cannot something in this business be clean, transparent and efficient?! We all agree that writers should be fairly recompensed, so surely nothing could be more simple. There is a statutory body in each territory (PRS in the UK) charged with collecting and dispensing this money. But - surprise, surprise - there are “suspicions” that these bodies are perhaps better at collecting the money than distributing it (and some of them are not that good at collecting it either).  Rumours abound of “loans” to members of the board, of writers complaining that the “computer calculated” sums they have received do not match their expectations, and suddenly more money appearing for those who shout loudest, or of a major player in PRS who found vast amounts of undistributed performance fees owing to him personally. (If the error is that large for one person - who presumably knows how to operate the system - how large one wonders would it be elsewhere). As with much of the [...]

Why do we want to remember?

July 24th, 2018|

“Why do we want to remember?!” I was asked the other day. If we overlook the boring evolutionary advantages of memory, it is a fun philosophical question. Something to ponder as I listen to my newly downloaded “This is Bach” playlist playing in my life-changing fabulous Bluetooth noise-cancelling headphones. And what of the music fan who just wants to hear music they recall from their younger formative days - who hears every concert through the prism of previous listening: ‘This is a song from that period, which I like. This is a song from another period which I don’t like’. We are all prone to do this. If I see Paul McCartney in concert, I will not hear songs from the Beatles or Wings or recent solo works in the same way. It is hard to set aside our historic passions and expectations.  We are partly locked in a celebration of the past. Which can be great fun. I saw Fleetwood Mac at the O2, where amidst a sea of camera phones and sing-a-long (including my own) they played all of “Rumours” and “Tusk”. And a wonderful night it was too. But what if the purpose is different. To play [...]

Notes from the Road – European Southern Observatory

July 18th, 2018|

A day to revel in our insignificance: one of “six billion ants crawling on a plate”. And a very insignificant side-plate at that. Last night, after the show in Munich, I met Simon Lowry from the European Southern Observatory ( who run the huge space telescopes in Chile, He extended an invitation to their head office outside Munich, where we were treated to a tour and sight of some of their latest research. Just looking at the photographs is quite humbling. Our galaxy (the Mars Bar – no, The Milky Way) is 300,000 light years wide. It contains 200 billion stars orbiting around a black hole at the centre. And is just one of billions of galaxies. Things we all know (even if I have misremembered the numbers) – but seeing the evidence is breath-taking. Simon also extended an invitation to visit the telescope itself high in the mountains in Chile. So don’t be surprised if a future tour has a strange lay over in Chile… In passing, I learnt that the Greek mathematician Eratosthenes, not only knew that the world was round – he also calculated to remarkable accuracy the circumference of the earth– as well as the tilt [...]

Free The Music

July 6th, 2018|

For anyone possessing a device beginning with “i” - DGM has today released three Travis and Fripp Apps, built by Peter Chilvers, featuring improvisations and multiple layers that will randomize in glorious ways to create a unique performance every time you listen. Anyone who has been reading my diaries will know that I am something of a “broken record” in my passion to liberate music from the single “frozen recording” into something more fresh and exciting. Not computer-generated music, which holds limited appeal for me, but recordings no longer frozen into a single artefact. Until the 1870s when recording techniques were first developed, a piece of music was naturally different every time you heard it. But this has changed to the extent that many of us now think of a piece of music in terms of a particular unchanging recorded performance (many of which, of course, I love and cherish). Perhaps there is a parallel in the world of photography – at first we could appreciate a scene only by being there in person with all its changing nuances. And then photography captured a single moment - wonderfully in many cases - in the same way that the best recordings [...]

Top reasons not to become a music manager:

June 22nd, 2018|

1) Banking Laws 2) VAT - the European version of sales tax. Current banking laws (to prevent money laundering) mean that without the expense of a bank account in each country (which would need a fixed local trading address – and we are often only in each country for three days) we cannot legally take credit card transactions. So we are forced into cash sales. Except that there is a limit to how much cash you can take out of each country. Nor are you allowed to pay it into your own Euro bank account, as it is based in a different country. Nor, in some countries are you allowed to spend it, as they have now imposed a limit to cash transactions. You are free to sell stuff, but you can’t take credit cards, you can take cash, but you can’t spend it, you can’t bank it, and you can’t take it with you… For all its absurdity, this is however a minor pimple of inconvenience compared to: Value Added Tax. One of the joys of the EU, for those who support it, is that we have freedom of movement, and we can bring our joyful caravan to eleven [...]

Notes from the road – Arbeit Macht Frei (and other fake news).

June 18th, 2018|

Living in such “Uncertain Times”, a visit to the camps at Auschwitz/Birkenau, about an hour from our hotel in Krakow, seemed strangely appropriate. So we rose at 6.30 am and took a taxi for the six-hour round trip. Why exactly? A sense of pilgrimage? An act of remembrance?  A sense of duty? To honour?  To feel?  To comprehend the incomprehensible – man’s astonishing capacity for inhumanity to man? The anticipation was almost the worst. You drive past McDonalds, tyre centres and other high spots of the 21st Century, becoming increasingly aware of the proximity of the gathering railway lines, already knowing where they inevitably lead. I have no desire to write a comprehensive review. Much of Birkenau seemed strangely at peace, as if the earth has begun to rise up and heal the wounds, leaving just the ugly scar on top. While the transformation of Auschwitz into a museum shields you from the rawness - as does the number of visitors.  It was bizarre enough to be queuing to get into, rather than out of, the “death hut” – without the juxtaposition of the “Don’t Forget to Smile” T-shirt being worn by the young woman in front. As I queued I was [...]

Notes from the road – The sequel to our long coach ride. Why Music matters

June 16th, 2018|

Despite our arrival five hours late yesterday evening, we still went for dinner with Andrezj Mackiewicz– the CEO of TAKT, the Polish company that make the boxed sets that we sell every Christmas. During dinner, Andrezj kept apologizing for the quality of his English and for telling his stories. They will, however, be one of the highlights of my tour. He grew up in communist Poland, where there was little money and even less access to music – “rock music was freedom”, in his words. Every Sunday, he got up at 5am to take four different trains and travel four hours to attend a record swap in a distant city. There, as he explained, he might swap Led Zeppelin II for King Crimson’s Islands, and make the four-hour journey home. For the following week, he and his friends would live and breathe that album. Between the three of them they owned the components for a HiFi. He had the speakers, a second friend the turntable, and a third friend the amplifier. They would listen to the music, knowing it would soon be gone. For at the end of the week, he would make the same journey and swap for another [...]

Notes from the road – What a difference a day makes

June 15th, 2018|

A perfect snaphot of life on the road. On Wednesday, the wonders of Music. On Thursday, I did not hear so much as a single note, as I moved from Music to its troublesome confrere, namely Business. And today, our five-hour coach ride to Krakow has become a ten-hour epic thanks to the worldwide scourge of roadworks. We left at 11.00 am, it is now 18.12 (exactly like the Overture) and google maps is currently predicting an arrival after 9pm. A little too late for our 6.30 dinner reservation… Poland  (despite the delays for roadworks - something at which the UK must have claims to be a world leader), is wonderful. There is a tangible sense of goodwill. In a late-night stroll around the town yesterday evening, I was also struck by how thin everyone is (‘svelte’ might be a better word – healthily thin, not impoverished). When I first went to the US (in 1989), I noticed how, on average, everyone was larger than in the UK. Sadly, that is no longer the case, as we cope with our own obesity/diabetes epidemic. Whichever part of the Western diet is causing this disaster, it would appear that it has thankfully [...]

Italian Ticketing Scam

November 11th, 2017|

Time to reveal another in a long list of music industry scams – this one on ticketing. I recently discovered that in Italy, surprise, surprise, there is often a surprising discrepancy between the ‘official’ ticket price, as accounted to the artist, and the ‘actual’ price paid by the purchaser. This is apparently due to the “standard Italian box office ticketing percentage” of 15%.  How naïve we are to assume that the purchase price of a ticket might include, well, the ticket itself! Every time I buy a shirt I expect to pay a surcharge to receive the shirt that I have already paid for. One might feel that a total fee of 150,000 euros (if you add 15% to all the tickets) is a little excessive for doing nothing more than printing the tickets that people have already purchased (it does not include credit cards, online sales or postage). And of course, none of this extra money music lovers are forced to pay will get accounted to the artists (which is, let us be in no doubt, the reason for most of these “standard practices”). For those familiar with the infamous “packaging deduction” which is still applied to the worst [...]

Notes from the Road – Davy’s on the road again

October 21st, 2017|

 I am currently backstage in Dallas with the strains of Easy Money creeping through the door. Given today’s news that The Donald is about to release the secret files on the shooting of JFK, it is perhaps appropriate that our hotel is less than ten minutes away from the infamous grassy knoll. Even stranger to hear Tony Levin mention that when he performed at the White House for JFK, he had a gun in his pocket! The gun in question was apparently a water pistol. If he had used it perhaps security would have been tighter. Or a famous bass player would have locked away never to return. Sliding doors.

101,717 & 2,215,293 & 644,558 & 125,083

July 13th, 2017|

101,717 & 2,215,293 & 644,558 & 125,083. Every few weeks I receive an email from Robert Fripp which contains just a series of numbers in the subject line. These are not the likely winnings on the various lotteries around the world. They are the viewing figures for four King Crimson videos recently uploaded to Youtube. And the regular email thread tells a simple predictable tale of how “popularity begets popularity” : the higher the viewing figures, the faster those figures grow, a function of the way that search engines and viewers use “what is most popular” as a shortcut for “what is best”. This is, of course, the reason why there are apps to generate fake clicks or why people buy followers on Twitter. It is the modern manifestation of “hyping your single” – Brian Epstein reputedly bought many of the copies of The Beatles first single in order to make it a hit, thus generating the interest that makes it a larger hit. Students of literature (yes, that would be me) will also know that it goes back even further.  In France (and no doubt elsewhere), playwrights would pay the “Claque” to clap and cheer on opening nights to [...]

Notes from the Road – The Battle of Red Bank

July 12th, 2017|

Back at 30,000 feet in the pointy end of a Dreamliner 787 – full reclining bed and Mahler’s 2nd symphony in my headphones. The travails of Red Bank seem a world away, and I am sorely tempted not to revisit them – except that fans, including those sending me emails, need answers. At its heart a simple tale: when we arrived at the venue and were handed the tickets we had reserved for our special attendees (50 tickets, centre section, rows 1-5), those were not the seats we were given. It was a fairly random selection somewhere in the first seven or eight rows. This was all the more frustrating as we had pointed out the same error over three weeks ago, and the promoter had promised to resolve it. Come the day of the concert and not a finger had apparently been lifted. The promoter’s assistant was seeking to absolve himself of all blame, while we were very clear that we could not accept the wrong seats as our personal integrity was on the line : a perfect example of seeking to “operate in the marketplace, while being free of the values of the marketplace” (the very speech that [...]

Hotel Barely Acceptable Toronto

July 5th, 2017|

After my slightly dazed and confused travel day, all I needed last night from the 5 Star “Historic Toronto Luxury Hotel - Modern Downtown Comfort” (their description not mine), was a good night’s sleep - which was, of course, the one thing they denied me : my room was right by the elevator, and there was a continuous low rumble as if a freight train was being driven through my bedroom every few minutes. I begin to learn why these wise gigsters change their rooms so frequently after arriving at the hotel. Apparently, hotels have a habit of trying to give large groups the dodgy rooms with building works, elevators and other sonic embellishments. “But how,” I wondered, “can hotels continue to let out rooms with such obvious faults?” A question I asked of the duty manager in the morning. He, of course, knew of the problem with my room, although it was apparently even more common to get complaints about the room next to mine which was even closer to the elevator. In venues, we are informed (hopefully) when seats have obstructed views. Apparently hotels think it is fine to let out rooms in which it is impossible to [...]

Art or Politics

June 28th, 2017|

Idle thoughts that fill your head as you drive past a large billboard advertising the dual delights of a local politician and a forthcoming show. Which is more important, I wonder - the politics we vote for or the music we love. Or posed more dramatically, “Which has greater influence on humankind, Art or Politics?” In this age of Brexit and Trump, it would seem obvious that the answer must be those pesky politicians who fill our screens, taking us in or out of Europe, repealing or not repealing ObamaCare. My grand-mother in her later years, however, was remarkably unfazed by the apparently dramatic political swings : “Everyone says it will be the end of the world, but it never is. The sun continues to rise.” And she was right, of course. If we take a longer view of history, Art is a strong contender. Choosing a random ruler from the past, does the legacy of George II of Great Britain in any way compete with that of his court composer, Handel, whose glorious music lives on (and was played at my wedding over two hundred years later)? Even the acts of his grandson, George III, who managed to lose [...]

Notes from the Road – A series of coincidences.

June 15th, 2017|

Yesterday evening, our hotel in San Francisco recommended a local seafood restaurant for dinner. While standing in the queue, my daughter and I realised that the couple in front of us were also from England. Coincidence? Hardly. There are lots of British tourists in San Francisco. We spoke to each other (highly unusual for us restrained Brits) and they asked where we were from. I explained that we had recently moved to Bredonborough, about an hour south of Birmingham. “Ah! We were both born in Birmingham”, they replied. Coincidence? Hardly. Birmingham is the second largest city in the UK. “And where were you before you moved?” they asked. “A small village outside Salisbury”, I replied. “Which village?” they asked. “Broadchalke”, I answer. “What a coincidence! For twenty years we lived less than five miles away. We know Salisbury well,” they replied. Coincidence? It gets spookier. “We worked abroad while we were there. Our children went to a boarding school in Salisbury”, they continue. “Perhaps you know the headmaster, John Singleton?” (!!!) “ His wife was so wonderful. Our son was new at the school and slightly nervous, so she found a mug with his name, Peter, on it, and gave [...]

A puzzler for Christmas

December 20th, 2016|

Today’s little known Vicar story - “The Mysterious case of the Hotel Cleaner who knew my name” comes from The Fairmont Hotel in Vancouver. I had left my room on the first morning and was about halfway along the corridor in my jetlagged semi-soporific state, when the cleaner greeted me with a breezy “Good morning, Mr Sanderson”, just as I climbed into the lift. It was not until I had reached the ground floor (for my morning breakfast with an un-named guitarist of my acquaintance and his sister) that it began to bug me “How on earth had she known my name”…I hereby name our latest addition "The Orifice" (joke on The Oracle from The Matrix). Now we will find out if she has a sense of humour. Solutions on a postcard please.

The uneasy marriage between music and business.

October 2nd, 2016|

My inbox has been filled with an e-flurry, seeking my thoughts on the ongoing “photography makes concert impossible for artist”, “unprofessional artist leaves stage in huff”, “selfish musician robs fans” dramas. These are, in my view, nothing more than the most recent occurrence of an inevitable tension caused by the laudable attempt of artists to operate in the marketplace while being free of its values. The marketplace dictates that live music is a commercial relationship: the audience pays money and is entitled to a set quantity of entertainment (which evidently must include encores). In an alternative world, the money is necessary to fund the costs and work required, but this is not a commercial relationship about quantity, but an opportunity to participate in bringing a quality into the world. If one seeks to set a standard for live music performance (something which cannot be done without the active participation of the audience), and the actions of the audience mean that the artist cannot honourably continue at the standard which he expects of himself, what would we have him do? Muddle through and play badly? This would not only be a denial of everything he stands for, but would mean that [...]

David’s Bio

July 23rd, 2016|

Anyone wondering about the background behind The Vicar will probably enjoy this - an updated version of David Singleton's bio : A very English maverick, Singleton delights in the story of a speech he delivered recently at a Cambridge reunion - and the fact that this unexpected honour had less to do with his contribution to Philosophy than fond memories of the single "Lazy Bugger" he released as an undergraduate. Ever unconventional, his first home was a hand-built 38 ft boat. And his next musical release - recorded in the studio he founded, The Mobile - was the infamous "Record that could Change every Time You Played it" (vinyl single due for re-issue on Record Store Day 2015). On some playings, a guitar solo may appear. On others, not. Sometimes, a telephone voice may sing. Other times, not. Such variable play music has now, of course, become a staple of computer games. That record, along with his production work on 'Show of Hands', 'Sunday all over the World', 'Frame by Frame' and 'The Great Deceiver' was the start of a long-enduring partnership with Robert Fripp. In 1992. they co-founded the label DGM, which they still jointly own, and which has [...]

To Stream or Not to Stream

April 5th, 2016|

To stream, or not to stream: that is the question: Whether it serves music better to suffer The slings and arrows of outraged fans, Or to take arms against a sea of vested interests, And by opposing end them? I am loathe to dip my toe into the cesspool that is the discussion on streaming. A myriad bloggers on one side, disenchanted artists sinking gently in the middle, and a large stinking pile of unfulfilled promises and vested interests on the other. Surely there is nothing more that can be said. And yet. And yet. Much has changed over the last few weeks. So let us, Dear Readers, triangulate around some interesting new landmarks: 1) The recent revelations about the Sony contract with Spotify, as published on the verge website. 2) Universal’s recent posturing (possibly egged on by Apple) that free streaming on Spotify is damaging music. 3) The recent “cleansing of Youtube” of King Crimson material, which has led many fans to feel that they have been robbed of one of the potential ways of spreading the word about their favourite music. Let us begin with Sony’s Spotify contract. Much was unsurprising. Sony receives vast advances, which they may, [...]

Extract from the Tall Pointy One’s Diary

February 28th, 2016|

David Singleton's has been posting in his online diary about the stresses of juggling music prodution, music management, and the creative life of The Vicar. The first part of the challenge is simple and exciting. I simply have to adapt to being one of those superbly efficient paragons who achieve more every day than us mere mortals (and there I was thinking I was doing reasonably well already). A new “executive assistant” has appeared in my life, and is “executively assisting”… The nagging doubt at the back of my mind is “artistic space”. This does not admit of workflows and delegation. It is the ‘inner child” or the “seeing eye”, and has to be lived. Or, expressed in a more practical way, a month ago I was living the fourth Vicar novel. I knew the plot, the characters were alive in my head, I could set pen to paper, enjoy the dance and see where it might lead. And now? Even if I stole the time (always possible), the work would feel like a fraud. It is not currently real in the same way. Or a different, musical perspective. Many of us music lovers, lead our hectic lives and squeeze [...]

A big thank you

December 4th, 2015|

Safely back from Japan and Canada, my first time north of the 49th parallel. Seems that his Hairyness (sorry, his holiness!) designed this trip specially so that I would staying in each country just long enough to almost adjust to the jetlag before moving on and repeating the endless sleepless nights. What I wouldn’t give to go to bed and not wake up at 3am, all alone, unloved (fill in your own sad adjectives). Thanks all those who came to all the talks. It is my first time in Japan since the last Vicar interview tour in 2013. The Vicar would tell you that “There remains something wonderful about the people, the quality that everyone brings to their work: the way that your tea is served, your bed is made or you are welcomed to the hotel.” Yawn! Much more important is the sushi, the hi-tech, and the strange obsession of grown women who want to dress up like schools girls. What’s that about?!

An Update from the Road

September 7th, 2015|

I am living my own personal version of "changing rooms". There is that slightly nervous moment each time you arrive at a new venue, and are shown the possible spaces for your talk. I have already described the "space between two doors" at Brighton - this was followed by the "Harold Pinter" room at the Hackney Empire....a possible cameo for Vicar Chronicle: Simon, the promoter, told me that there was one available space, the Harold Pinter room. He took me up to the upper level...and then through the door marked "gents toilets". My heart began to sink. We were in a small lobby, about one metre square. Surely not here, I thought. Simon looked slightly confused, and then pushed on the next door, which took us through to the toilets themselves, complete with a row of urinals. I know most Vicar fans are men of a certain age, whose bladders, like mine, may be getting a trifle weak, but a talk in the toilet...!!! Simon looked a little embarrassed and announced that the Harold Pinter room had vanished. It was as if we were living in our own Harold Pinter play. We circled several times, before he remembered a fire [...]

Back from the East Coast

July 8th, 2015|

Thank you to all who attended the appearances in LA, San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento and Seattle in April - we are planning another visit to the States in October, and some UK dates in between. Please contact us if you have a burning desire for a visit to your city/town/village/loft. Some of the best events were those added by brave volunteers who threw their hat into the ring. David Singleton, creator of all things Vicar, is also doing talks at Universities and colleges on 'The Uneasy Marriage between Music and Business' - the fault-line which provides so many plotlines for Punk Sanderson and The Vicar. Lots of chances to get involved.

The Vicar comes to America

April 17th, 2015|

David Singleton is doing a series of speaking engagements in the US telling you everything you ever wanted to know about The Vicar but were afraid to ask. Dates are still being added, but we have Cambria 21st April, San Francisco 22nd, San Jose 23rd, Sacramento 27th, LA 28th, Seattle 1st May. Watch this space, or The Vicar Facebook page for updates, venues and timings.

Be The Singer and #IamTheVicar

February 17th, 2015|

As most of you would seem to have already noticed, we have begun the soft launch of Be The Singer and #IamTheVicar. Be The Singer is our very own organic, fairtrade, no-artists-or-songs-murdered-in-the-making version of the X Factor (The V Factor, as we are calling it) and #IamTheVicar is a photo competition for your photos of The Vicar - "the man who isn't there". Given that we are not going to the press until the official launch at the start of next month, the response has been incredible. You are all really wonderful (but you know that already). Keep it up. Keep sharing and let us know if there are any bugs we need to fix!

All Change for 2015

January 30th, 2015|

You'll never believe the tongue-lashing that I've just been given over the lack of blog postings this month. It was ... well ... quite fun actually. Because - heavens be praised - it wasn't from The Vicar, which would be ULTRA SCARY - we're talking turn the amp up to fifteen and let it feedback out of control. No. It was from his new PR/Social Media specialist, who is, well, a SHE. I'm not going to be all sexist and tell you what she looks like, because we all know that if "she" was a "he", I wouldn't bother - but she is no way as scary as The Vicar (although I suspect she's got quite a temper on her). And yes, I know you're all going to point out that she gets what she wants because here I am tapping away. Well - obviously! DUH! So watch this space, there should be regular updates this year. Starting first thing Monday! P.S. And as everyone involved with The Vicar has to have a silly name, I hereby name our latest addition "The Orifice" (joke on The Oracle from The Matrix). Now we will find out if she has a sense [...]

New Website

December 23rd, 2014|

I admit it (even though I've done it already). I, Punk Sanderson, agree that this new website is maybe slightly better than my trusty old one (although I still miss the scrolling underpants). So can you please now stop sending your emails to The Vicar with all your gushing "it's-so-purrfect" praise - which just pisses me off, as really what you mean is that my old site was a load of old s**t. (Isn't this great, I'm filling his Hairyness's glossy new site with swear words. Perhaps I could add a few more like...well maybe not actually, as I don't want to get fired, Not just before Xmas). Anyway, in case I do get the push and never speak to you all again, Have a Happy Xmas and I hope next year brings me everything that you want.

Japanese Reviews

November 1st, 2014|

Vicar HQ has just been sent a huge file of Japanese reviews of The Vicar Songbook#1 and The Mysterious Case of Billy's G String Graphic Novel - the results of David and Ben's interview to trip to Japan. One small problem...we have no idea what any of them say! So if there is someone out there who would care to indulge in a spot of translation, we would love to share them with you. Pictures of that trip - with Ben being mobbed by Japanese schoolgirls convinced that he was a western film star have been added to the gallery.

Katgirl’s Ghost and the Disappearing Discs

October 30th, 2014|

Punk Sanderson does it again! Another Vicar Chronicle has slipped effortlessly from his inventive pen. A rockstar whose CDs go into the shops but never come out (but aren't there any more either), a goth girl with a ghost in her bedroom (and one really big surprise), and Punk's very own dotcom start-up. Sounds like chaos as usual!

International Day of Peace

September 21st, 2014|

What better day than the "International Day of Peace" to announce the formal launch of the website. And what better way to spend a Sunday morning than viewing these pages on my latop for the first time. Oooh, the joy and excitement that await me with each click! My everlasting thanks to Toby the Indefatigable for his acts of heroism in bringing these pages to life. And to Ben Singleton for his superlative design work. Were we not just the merest unnoticed pimple on the cultural horizon of this country, I am sure their work would be worthy of some design award. As it is they will have to content themselves with the satisfaction of a job well done, and the bottles of Wine Society sparkling Saumur which will be winging their way. This is apparently a "soft launch", meaning that we tiptoe gently into the world, allowing the inevitable bugs and flaws to be cured without the full glare of publicity (as if!). So please, kind souls (and even less than kind ones), bang, click and prod - and send your thoughts via any of the contact systems at the bottom of the pages.

Farewell to Underpants

August 20th, 2014|

All good things come to an end, I suppose. Dammit! The "website that Punk built" complete with scrolling underpants and pints of beer instead of stars is about to be killed off in favour of a brand new spangly one. Time for my trusty old Vicar site to give way to the new. Some would call it progress. Me, I just call it cultural vandalism. (Actually the new site is soooo much better, but I'm hardly going to admit that am I - although I just did.) For those who want to indulge their nostalgia, you can see the old site by typing in (unless the killjoys remove it completely). Onwards!

Graphic Novel Reviews

July 4th, 2014|

Thanks to all those who have sent details of reviews - it seems that the world is gradually spotting our brilliance (ahem!). Two that we had not seen before are A Place to Hang your Cape and Comic Spectrum. Some choice highlights include : " we have some of the most off-beat and crazy characters imaginable. Punk Sanderson is a seemingly never sober musician (in the Punk genre, funnily enough) who is obsessed with a band that, for legal reasons, has to be referred to as 'Tits N Arse'. Punk is the assistant of the Vicar, a music producer who is mostly drawn with his face appearing off-panel. Our two heroes find themselves drawn into a mystery involving famous singers, an airline called Sleazy Jet, and cafes called Coffeesucks. The real world this ain't. Or as they put it "if you're expecting romance, you're reading the wrong book". Romance may not be in abundance here, but laughs certainly are. ...a look inside the British music industry, replete with large breasted women, copious amount of drinking & drugs, and capricious musical artists, just what I'd imagine the music industry is like!" There is also a wonderful plug for Punk's videoblogs: "...What [...]

Cult Den Review

April 28th, 2014|

Thanks to Lydia who spotted this review of The Vicar Chronicles on the CultDen website. At the risk of inflating Punk's already inflated ego, the choice bits read as follows: ..."this isn't about a detective story, this is the Airplane of the music world, Monty Python's Life of Punk, if you will. Punk Sanderson is a multi-talented artist. A video blogger, a musician (ok, a drummer), and graphic novelist. His name is changed because he would inevitably get sued for libel. He is a joke to some and hero to others and,whilst I don't know the guy personally, I am certainly edging more towards hero. I loved this book. Two tales, 'The Mysterious Case of Billy's G String' and 'The Absurd Nonsense of the Orange Eyebrow ' that could be real life told humorously or fiction written strangely. Not for everyone's tastes, and I get why, but a superb take on the music industry I both admire and despise. I can't help but read it again and again. Anyone who has spotted any other reviews, please let us know!

Super Comic Convention

March 14th, 2014|

I've been crawling around on my hands and knees building display boards for the London Super Comic Convention, which starts tomorrow. Silly me - I thought I was a studio engineer not a carpenter (not knocking carpenters, who have far more useful skills than me, as I've spent the day discovering). All ready for our big day out in the city - almost tempted to buy myself a Spiderman costume. Almost.

Facebook Launch

February 11th, 2014|

We have finally launched on Facebook. Ben, Art God, has designed some auitable pages, and we now have pages for The Vicar Chronicles and also The Vicar Chronicles Graphic Novels on Facebook. Please go like them!

Songbook The Second

January 6th, 2014|

Yes, yes, another album beckons. That wonderfully naive moment, when you begin with a blank canvas, and recreate that childish joy of throwing colour against an empty canvas (although hopefully now tempered by a modicum of experience and good taste). First up for the Vicarious treatment is "The Reggae Song", a favourite from the Tall Pointy One's college days, followed by Under My Wing, which will need a special singer - maybe Passenger, as managed by David and Tim at IE. Although I suspect they will advise their artist to go nowhere near our left-field projects. I have also found my feet tapping away to the chorus of The Rainbow in 5/4 (more accurately 4/4, with an extra beat's rest), so we shall see where that may go. Onward!

Back in the broom cupboard

August 15th, 2013|

Time for a new Vicar Chronicle apparently - so The Vicar has locked me back in the broom cupboard until it's finished. God! That means a new plot, new characters, new jokes. What's wrong with the ones I've already written I ask. Hercule Poirot only ever had one plot (variations of). btw. thanks for the various email of support. They make a lot of difference. Always good to know there are a few Punksters out there, who may actually read my drivel... (washing my mouth out with soap) - not drivel...fine literature - coming to a bookstore near you (hopefully)!

Album of the month in Italy

July 23rd, 2013|

The Vicar's Songbook #1 has been made ALBUM OF THE MONTH by Rockerilla magazine, hailing it as "the epitome of the English sound" and "an incredible acoustic light orchestra" in the manner of "George Martin, Phil Spector, Van Dyke Parks and Joe Boyd". Not to be outdone, Italy's Jam Magazine gives a glowing four star review, describing The Vicar's album as "Delizioso". The Italians like their Vicars!

The Vicar launches in Japan

June 1st, 2013|

Not content with his recent success in London, The Vicar is launching in Japan. Ben Singleton (artist of the Graphic Novels) and his Dad, The Tall Pointy One are flying to Japan for a gruelling round of interviews, dinners, cocktail parties and first class plane travel. Hard work, but someone has to do it. In fact, there are rumours that the Tall Pointy One treats his son in the same way as the Vicar treats Punk - making him fly in the back of the plane, while he himself reclines in luxury in the pointy end of the plane (maybe that's why he's called the tall Pointy One). Your intrepid reporter will try to find to find out if there is truth in the rumour.

Fabulastic Surround Playback at Dolby HQ

May 4th, 2013|

Woah! The playback of The Vicar songbook #1 was, well, just fabulastic (The Vicar didn't attend the playback, of course, but what would you expect). Our compere for the day was the Tall Pointy One (that would be David Singleton to anyone who hasn't followed The Vocar's diaries) - and also JJ from Dolby - who described the album as the future of High Definition Music. Maybe The Vicar's not just a pretty face after all. If I work out how, I will upload some photos of all the various celebrities and super models who attended (the invitations also promised Susho on Naked Dancers, but i didn't spot either, although there was plenty of beer to quaff) Anyway, I crept in, and it was fab do. So the album's well and truly launched. God bless this ship and all who sail in her.

Back in the broom cupboard

May 4th, 2013|

Time for a new Vicar Chronicle apparently - so The Vicar has locked me back in the broom cupboard until it's finished. God! That means a new plot, new characters, new jokes. What's wrong with the ones I've already written I ask. Hercule Poirot only ever had one plot (variations of). btw. thanks for the various email of support. They make a lot of difference. Always good to know there are a few Punksters out there, who may actually read my drivel... (washing my mouth out with soap) - not drivel...fine literature - coming to a bookstore near you (hopefully)!