I don't write many diaries these days and don't write them to get in the recommended list. This one I would really like to get there, though. Not for what I write on it but to give it sufficient visibility to allow time for what all of you might write on it.
I am not even sure if the way I write this diary will work - I am really trying to create a blank wallpaper on which you will make your own comments.
I've just seen the first part of the four hour Scorsese film on Dylan which I understand is being given simultaneous premieres on the same night in both our countries. In fact, the BBC seems to be running various Dylan stuff all week on various channels - an indication of how deeply he is as much part of the UK psyche as he is part of your own in the USA.
I am not even sure if Kos will be happy at his blog being used for a discussion about Dylan (although does anyone else see a similarity in the looks between the twenty year old Dylan and Kos himself?)
So this diary is written because I'd just like to get your thoughts on the man and what he really means today in American society. I know that he is admired by you because I read the occasional comments here, but how relevant is he still?
I'm about the same age of Dylan but he was way much more advanced than I was when I first heard his music. It was around 1963. I was some sort middle class, ex-good school, headed for a profession but instead ended up at university as a bit-late student in Liverpool. In all honesty, I was the sort of jerk that this description sounds. The Beatles had emerged from the Cavern on the other side of the town and that was about as near to cool as maybe I was going to get. Except that I had this girl by the name of Cindy. She was a working class girl, bit of what my mother would have called a slut. Dyed long blonde hair, dirty finger nails from her mind numbing job behind the bright nail varnish and no education beyond middle school. I thought the attraction was just sex. Too late at the time, and truthfully far too many years too late when I should have been old and wise enough to have recognised the reality, it was a lot more than this. She had a mind that was way beyond mine, beyond were it was then and probably beyond were it is now. It was those long Sundays lying in my bedsit that she played the Dylan LP's to me. She talked to me about what he was saying and interpreted for me what those around him were saying. She gave me the insights that I only dimly glimpsed myself in the lines of Ferlinghetti and Ginsberg that we read to each other from the imported City Lights Bookshop paperbacks.
My only excuse to Kos for writing here about him is that he means so much to the left. He didn't just inform us in the sixties but does so about much of what we are doing now. I guess no one owns Dylan, not even we liberals. It has taken me all this time to feel at ease with the way that Dylan gives so little of himself to us beyond his poetry and music but I have learnt that we have no right to make any more demands of him. I still find him a paradox, as someone there in the background but also somehow there in the forefront. He is just there around us, I suppose, and we draw from him still.
I am no different from all those others who feel their life has been marked out by the milestones of the release of his new records. If I lost track of him in my late thirties, I think maybe Dylan was losing some of his own way at this time also. There was always something, though, that would blow your mind unexpectedly. Do others remember when the release of Blood on the Tracks suddenly brought it all back?
The Scorsese film tonight was brilliant. It was a weird experience, interspersing the Dylan pieces with the events of those early times, events that are themselves bookmarks of my own political awakening. I think I understand Dylan better from the comments of those who knew him in his early days, not that I expect to know him very well ever. I have his autobiography but, having read it twice, feel that it probably told me less than the Scorsese film told me.
I am highly intrigued by his relationship with Joan Baez. Her song about their time together and break up is bittersweet in the extreme, but there were no signals from her tonight. I love that woman and admire that she still has the will and strength to be with us now on the issues that we are fighting. She came to the North Wales Theatre two years ago to sing. I gave some flowers in at the stage door. How sad is that? But I am glad I did because that is all that I could do
Dylan is yours and I write on DKos because he represents much of what I admire about your country. Maybe we, over here, give him a status greater than you do? That would be weird as Scorsese kept reminding us tonight how badly we treated him when he changed from acoustic at the Manchester concert. I saw him again just four years ago in the same city. He seemed O.K. about being back - but then he got the great reception that the outstanding gig deserved.
I've done my best to provide some wallpaper here, however incoherently. Bob Dylan. Ignore the diary and use this blank sheet to say whatever about the man.