Friday, September 30, 2005


As expected, yesterday's music post went down like the proverbial lead balloon, so you'll be overjoyed to know that I have further ideas for music-related gubbins in the pipeline. You will be chewing your fingers down in boredom.

First up, my very late, last-person-on-the-bandwagon response to the Bob Dylan documentary. The director of, erm, No Direction Home was the great Michael Winner (younger readers should be made aware that Michael Winner is best known as that bloke off the car insurance ads. He also looks like Jamie Oliver's wife). Unfortunately, I've only managed to plod through about 30 hours of the documentary so far, so I can't give you a full insight into what makes Bob tick. Instead, to save time for those of you who are only vaguely interested in Dylan, here is a list of the key events in his history.

24th May 1941
Bob is born Robert Albert Egbert Norbert Zimmermum in Duluth, Minnesota.

April 1945
Bob receives a mouth organ as a present from his old mum. Now, most of us have owned one of these, and most of us have lost interest in them after a couple of days of annoying our parents with tuneless parping and dribbling saliva out of the one end. Bob, however, took it VERY seriously indeed. Oh dear.

January 1958
Bob, disillusioned with small town life, travels all the way to New York to seek recognition of some sort. Unfortunately, heavy snow and freezing temperatures make his journey long and hazardous. Daft sod, he should've travelled in summertime, shouldn't he?

January 1959
Bob arrives at "the crossroads" where the likes of Robert Johnson sold their souls in exchange for musical talent. Once again, his journey is delayed because of adverse weather conditions. Silly old sausage! Bob exchanges his soul for that of Woody Allen, and sings in a nerdy whiney voice for the rest of his natural born as a result of this. Woody Allen still plays the mouth organ in private, to this day.

June 1961
Bob first meets Joan Baez, the Gracie Fields of folk music. A match made in musical heaven.

Bob's career is taking off into orbit. Having ditched all that electrical equipment all those years ago he is coining it at the helm of the new folk movement of nice middle class young people who can really relate to the poor, the dispossessed and the colored folks. It's a revolution, believe me!

According to counterculture poet Alan Ginsberg Bob Dylan is now "merely a column of air" when he performs on stage. Hopefully Bob contacted Colin Griffiths Air Conditioning Units (Cannock Wood, Staffs.) about this.

Bob walks into the Colombia Studios, New York, heading for Studio A. He walks into a broom cupboard by mistake. Never fear, he realizes the error of his ways and finds the right studio. He records "Like A Rolling Stone", which many people in their '50's believe to be the greatest pop single of all time, ever, no contest.

After having ditched all that electrical equipment, he realizes the error of his ways and gets it all back on the HP. A tour of Britain with his backing band, the Ronnie Barker Combo, leaves audiences booing, throwing rotten tomatoes and shouting "Judas! Judas! Where's yer silver! Bob Dylan is not a pop group!" Daft apeths. Classic documentary "Don't Look Back" directed by Danny Baker is made. The Ronnie Barker Combo ditch Ronnie Barker AND Bob, and go on to become The Band, recording classic albums like The Music From Kissing The Pink

After his mysterious motorbike accident, Bob returns with the album Nashville Skyline, where, as a result of the accident (so we're told) he starts singing in an even more ridiculous voice which was copied to great effect by the weatherman Martin Dawes some years later.

Classic album Blood On The Tracks released. A heartfelt response to his long and painful separation from his wife Goldie Hawn. We don't get to hear her side of the story, do we?

The rest of the 1970's and 1980's
Disillusioned with life, Bob believes that Christianity may provide an answer to all the problems. Then he becomes a Buddhist and joins a retreat. Then he becomes a Muslim. Then a Hindu. He becomes a Mormon and tours with the now very beardy Osmond Brothers. He becomes an atheist and curmudgeonly old git.

The 1990's
Bob almost dies after catching a respiratory disease from his chickens. It's that old problem with the column of air again, isn't it?

Bob makes the No Direction Home documentary and falls comatose watching a playback of Alan Ginsberg and Tom Clancy talking about him.

Phew. If you thought THAT was a long trudge, you should have watched the documentary.

Mr Winner is currently working on a fictionalised account of Dylan's life in which the lead-role will be played by Chris Rea. Dylan has a moment of epiphany on stage when, squinting into the lights, he realises that all this time he's been playing to dirty hippies. Enraged that all this time he's been a counter-culture figure of some notoriety he determines to hunt himself down on the new York Metro. The film will be called Death Wish V: Blood On The Tracks.
Thanks for that. Saves me the effort (I'm a lazy bugger) of watching it!
Wyndham - it sounds as if Chris Rea is on the road to hell, ahem. It must be strange to be Michael Winner. I should imagine most people who recognize him say "I know ... calm down dear, ha ha!" or "you're that Ken Russell, aren't you?" or "you're married to that chef with the fat tongue, aren't you?"

Mike - Glad to be of service, even if it is all made up. As Bob Dylan seems to have invented a few "facts" about himself in interviews, I'm just carrying on in that spirit, shall we say.
You see, Betty, my old artichoke, that was a splendid effort, and, ordinarily, would have won this week's prize for creative writing.
However, you obviously missed the program on BBC4 the other evening, which featured Lulu murdering 'Mr Tambourine Man'. No-one, no matter how creative or deranged, could ever imagine anything so truly bizarre and gruesome. Honestly, Michael Winner would have made a better job of singing.
Did you miss it? I am hoping that it really happened, otherwise I will have to change my drug dealer.

amddhr - a remote barchan in the Eastern Sahara where people go to avoid having to watch Lulu.
i felt strangely compelled to watch the 57 hour doc. to see whether there was more to the man than his 'nerdy whiney voice' (so terribly glad you agree here) but it seems perhaps not

so thank you for that, B - i feel i can now watch the X factor and who wants to be... with impunity this evening
I managed to miss that particular treat, but then I would go to the ends of the universe to avoid listening to Lulu singing. Any vocalist described as "a fiery little ball of energy" is usually best avoided. It always means someone who is white who wants to sound as if they were raised singing in choirs in Harlem. "Voice like a foghorn" is the more accurate description.
p.s. if it's any consolation, B, i posted on a musical theme yesterday and it totally bombed
Urban Chick - I actually quite like Bob Dylan, shock horror, but hate the way his music has been analysed by critics. No one else in pop music is seen as such a "heavyweight", it seems, and everything he has done is of huge cultural importance. Hmm. I don't even mind the nerdy whiney voice - there are a fair few singers in my record collection who have nerdy whiney voices so I can't complain on that score. Look, I can't help being a social misfit.

Oh well, the music posts might not work but someone from Salt Lake City visited straight away after I mentioned Mormons. Lots of blogging about the Osmonds from now on then.
LOL very good post, I like Dylan to but only came to his music lately.

Oh btw back in the mists of summer you asked if there was any comeback to the drunken personal ad post on my blog just wanted to say YES! :-D I would have emailed this rather than going off topic but you don't seem to have a contact me link.
Intriguing Jane. I suppose having a "contact me" link on the blog might be an interesting thing to do and I'll have to go away and think about it, panic, and then not do anything about it.
I love Bob Dylans stuff from the mid 1960's, but I don't think he's a poet on a par with Keats. Anlysing his stuff is pointless. He has more in common with Robbie Williams than Wordsworth.
I have a problem with the idea of rock lyricists as poets full stop - it robs music of its spontaneity. Who wants to sit analysing lyric sheets as if you're back doing English A-Level, writing stuff in the margins about alliteration or iambic pentameter?
i never realised before that michael winner looks like jools (uurgh. up there with people who spell their name "vikki" in my book) oliver. however, peter andre is anthony worral thompson. some weird cross-pollination of z-listers and people who are famous for reinventing cheese on toast, perhaps?
You are on to something there Surls, although I couldn't see it at first. They both have a Middle Earth quality. Put either of them in one of those long hessian cowl necked robes and you wouldn't bat an eyelid.
seriously, from the nose down they're twins.

you'd think i'd have something better to do, wouldn't you?

vtrblog: souped up blog with go-faster stripes and a seventeen year old driver whose hat is too small
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