An album by King Crimson, I would understand. A CD, an LP, even a work by King Crimson would make sense. But an observation? An observation is something made by lousy alternative comedians when they bang on about how toast (by Streetband featuring Paul Young) always lands butter side down on the carpet or how white people always dance badly. It is not a forty-five minute five song opus of noodling prog nonsense. Though observational comedians at least share a peculiar type of crapness with King Crimson.

The cover puts you in the right mood. A ten year olds painting of a man with very big nostrils with a pained expression on his face. Obviously observed from someone listening to the album. The original 1969 vinyl edition had a fold out poster of this monstrosity to give your kids nightmare – in case the music had not already suceeded. For the music itself is reprehensible tosh. You read above correctly, forty five minutes, five songs. That’s an average of nine minutes a song – which may not be so bad if they were any good, or weren’t subdivided arbitrarily into sub songs like The Dream and The Illusion, but really each track outstays its welcome by on average eight minute fifty nine seconds.

21st Century Schizoid Man – the opener – sounds like the kind of song written by someone who doesn’t think he’ll make it into the 21st Century, and doesn’t know what Schizoid means. The beginning would be impressive if it weren’t for the fact that it sounds like its played on a chorus of kazoos. Followed by I Talk To the Wind, which would be better titled I Piss Into The Wind for the good it does them. And lo – we are already over a third of the way through the album.

Really though the only thing worth mentioning on Observations is “The Court Of The Crimson KING including The Return Of The Fire Witch and The Dance Of The Puppets”. Its worth mentioning mainly because of its ludicrous title and its ridiculously portentous delivery where everytime a doggeral rhyme is set up – Robert Fripp intonates “The Court Of The Crimson KING” as if to congratulate himself. Indeed Sing, String, Begin and Ring are such clever rhymes for king that he really should be slapping himself on the back. Luckily he did more than that and split the band up and went to make lousy ambient records with Brian Eno. And that is an observation.