Michael Grenfell is a writer, musician and academic teacher-researcher. He has held Chair positions at universities in Scotland, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland and the University of Southampton, UK where he is now Emeritus Professor. His background is in French Studies and early research projects included French Catholic non-conformist intellectuals’ response to dechristianisation in France. His academic career also involved extensive research and publications on language, education and linguistics, as well as a close association with the French social philosopher Pierre Bourdieu with a focus on biography, language, music and the fine arts; in particular, the St Ives artists in the first half of the twentieth century and surrealism; although he also written on contemporary music – folk, rock and Global. He has a personal interest and involvement in a range of esoteric philosophical traditions and disciplines, and has worked closely with the ideas of J G Bennett and associate connections.
He was committee member of the William Blake Society of St James in London in the 1980s and 90s when he was their Press and Publicity Officer. He also edited the Blake Journal. His special focus has been on Blake and Gnosticism. He is a keen musician, having performed in various contexts with a number of international artists. He has been an active protagonist within Guitar Craft. He has published some 25 books, including Pierre Bourdieu: Agent Provocateur (Continuum, 2004), Art Rules: Pierre Bourdieu and the Visual Arts (with C. Hardy) (Berg, 2007), Parallel Lives: the Biographies of Ralph McTell (Pomera Press, 2016), Guitar Craft: A Brief Introductory Guide to Practice (Pomera Press, 2021).
Bourdieu once commented that what was needed was a ‘new gaze’ on the social world – a metanoia. This book describes this view and how to do it. Based on biographical detail and the socio-political contexts which surrounded him, it sets out his vision of society and culture. Grounded on the distinction between traditional and modern worlds, it shows how ethnographic experience led Bourdieu to an intellectual epiphany. It demonstrates the growth of his conceptual tools and the emergence of ‘field theory’ in various contexts: law, religion, fashion, sport, culture, fine art, philosophy, literature and politics.
Exposures: The Work and Life of Robert Fripp Michael Grenfell
Robert Fripp exploded into the rock music world with his band King Crimson as the 1960s came to a close. And, quickly established himself as the most original guitarist of his generation. Seven ground-breaking LP recordings then appeared in just six years, each one setting a higher standard in artistic innovation. During that time Fripp also developed a unique relationship with his audience. Always highly informed and articulate, he was not afraid to address issues of the contemporary world, the rock scene and the place of music in both.
By the mid-decade, he had enough; and retired to undertake a year-long spiritual sabbatical in the Oxfordshire countryside before re-emerging with a new band and a new approach to life and music.
This book sets out the events and processes of these formative years – as well as what happened next. More than the usual rock journalistic style, it roots Fripp’s life and work in the socio-historical and cultural contexts from which both emerged. The unfolding nature of King Crimson is, of course, central to the account, as set within the predominant cultural trends of the day. But, across its chapters, there is opportunity to explore Fripp’s biographical background, his philosophy and business practice. Discussion of the spiritual tradition that shaped him and his efforts to establish ethical business practice is framed by his own personal experiences and the insights these gave rise to.
The reader will finally understand the integrated nature of his work and life – as guitarist, musician, teacher, businessman, and author – and the principles of practice, which underpin both.
The book is available as a deluxe collector’s hardback edition with slipcase in just 23 numbered and signed copies. It is also available as an E-book.
This Guide is an introduction to the practice of Guitar Craft, as experienced by one of its exponents from the late 1990s. It includes details of its guiding principles and the activities that made up daily life in a European Guitar Craft house at that time. Such activities involve guitar practice and the daily routine – kitchen, cleaning, etc. – as well as personal ‘inner work’ through Themes. The key GC repertoire is presented along with details of the New Standard Tuning and developing a relation with the guitar. Various complementary exercises are set out.
Este libro es una breve introducción a Guitar Craft según la experiencia de uno de sus practicantes. Contiene un detalle de los principios rectores y las actividades que constituían la vida cotidiana en una casa europea de Guitar Craft de fines de los 90, tales como la práctica con la guitarra, la rutina diaria y el trabajo personal “interior” a través de Temas. El libro presenta además el repertorio clave de Guitar Craft, detalles de la Nueva Afinación Estándar (New Standard Tuning), pautas para el desarrollo de una relación renovada con la guitarra y varios ejercicios complementarios.
Parallel Lives offers an artistic biography of the English singer-songwriter Ralph McTell. It sets out an account of his own family background when growing up in post war Britain and his emergence as a significant musician as part of the folk boom of the later 1960s. As well as exploring numerous songs, it includes quotes from Ralph drawn from extended interviews with him. The book also includes a series of interludes that approach the nature of the creative individual from a socio-cultural, psychological and ‘spiritual’ perspective.
The paperback version is no longer available, but the eBook – following up on two sold out physical editions – is fully revised and includes a new Forward and Post-script.