Dylan and Me.
So they gave Dylan the Nobel. Of course he deserved it. But the always left leaning, Nobel Committee ,the ones that gave passed it Pinter, the prize were giving it to the protest singer not the consummate artist . Well at least he got it .
Some literary lovvies felt hurt that a singer and not someone who wrote proper(relatively unread) books won the prize. The Guardian quoted Hari Kunzru(one good book) “This feels like the lamest Nobel”,Niven Govinden(who he/she?) “Lets all stop writing novels,whats the point.” Good idea Niven. Joanne Harris opined “Is it just that the Nobel has run out of old white men ?” Right on,sister.
And then Irvine Welsh who I have heard of,”This is an ill conceived nostalgia award wrenched from the prostates of senile,gibbering hippies.” Dont worry Irvine, there is always next year
Dylan has been around all my adult life. As a rugby playing hearty when my 15 year old, younger sister on the frontier at her comprehensive played me Blowing in the Wind, I scoffed. Long haired crap. My first years at university I remember doing cabaret sketches taking the piss out of mumbling and fumbling folk singers.
Then came marijuana, the sound of marching feet, 1968 and all that. Lay lady lay,lay across my big brass bed. I couldn’t get enough. And Dylan was in there with Cohen,Stones,Cash and the Beatles . I wasn’t involved enough to get fussed about his moving from folk to electronic pop. In fact I have always preferred the singers who develop and experiment as Dylan does. Whether Freewheelin’ is it, or Blonde on Blonde is better than Blood on the Tracks or Highway 64 ,is way beyond my interest. His clothes are dirty but his hands are clean. He is the best man I have ever seen.
A few months ago walking in Wiltshire with Ron and Sarah we played whats your favourite Dylan song. It was great twenty minutes which bound us as a group from a certain generation closer.
I have also loved the way he treats his fame. With intelligence and wit. Grovelling journalists are kicked in the face, those who haven’t done their homework told to try next week and those who ask dumb questions are scorned. He is bright and he is angry, and there is a lot to be angry about. And he says it well with a cutting lyrical bite. “
“I wish that for one time you could stand in my shoes/You’d know what a drag it is to see you .”
When he asked Cohen how long it took him to write songs Leonard told him years,when the question was reversed Bob said minutes.
Some say Shakespeare didn’t write the plays and some accuse Dylan of being a “plagiarist”, a ”fake” a”minor talent with a major gift for self hype”,the creator of pop music’s “arrogant,faux cerebral posturing”. Yoh. F*** O**.
When the ever loving Cohen heard his friend had won the Nobel he beautifully said,”To me its like putting a medal on Everest for being the highest mountain.”
Typically from Bob there has been no comment on his prize. On his twitter site is a congrats from President Obama bemoaning the turning down of a photo opportunity. Like a Rolling Stone he rolls on, the bell keeps ringing, and like the times, he keeps a changing.
Freewheelin’-best LP cover ever?