Bob Dylan was 70 last week!
I had a conversation with two amazing Dylanographers - John Harris and Stephen Moss (same name as me OMG) (almost)...
I had to choose a Dylan song that meant something to me. I chose Tangled Up in Blue.
My parents were not huge Dylan fans and I didn't hear a lot of his music growing up. When I moved to a new school for GCSEs, I started hearing about him through a group of kids in the year above me who were musical, and who I would now describe as 'teenage-boho'. Some years later, I befriended these kids and discovered their secret weekend rituals of getting together on a canal boat, drinking, and singing around a piano. The song they mostly sang was Tangled Up in Blue by Bob Dylan. I assume it was the only song that everyone had learned the words to. Also, they were huge fans.
I was completely in love with one of the boys and one night he told me that Dylan was a sentiment that, as a girl, I would never understand. At the time, I was really more concerned with being the last person standing so I could share a futon with him, than the lack of inclusivity of his statement (if you have our first album, the song 'Dylan' is about this), and I never really thought about what he said. As it happens, I did learn to appreciate Dylan, and being a boy or girl had nothing to do with it. Sometimes it was about the sheer pleasure of observing virtuosity, sometimes it was about a record of a time when pop music still had the power to change the world, sometimes it was just the man and his songs. I get a thrill thinking of how he bucked definition at the end of the folk years, and what it would have meant to be making music at a time when Dylan, Lennon, Cohen, and their contemporaries, were competing for greatness.
It's been a while since I listened to a Bob Dylan album from start to finish, but the other day that boy I used to be in love with sent me a link to New Morning, and Sign on the Window, which is on the same album. He said it reminded him of me; Dylan songs always remind me of him. Last summer, when our friend whose boat it was got married, I brought a folder of lyric sheets. At midnight, when it was just the old guard around the fire, everybody sang Tangled Up in Blue.
You can hear the podcast here:
*QUOTE OF THE DAY*
Bert from Sesame Street: 'The singer Bob Dylan once said, "The answer is blowing in the wind." I say, a paperclip would have been useful.'