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22 October 2005

A decent review of Dylan

Dick Jones of Patteran Pages is eminently qualified to do that movie review of Socrsese's Dylan epic, but unfortunately I don't know if he saw it. He did see the The Madhouse on Castle Street, and become a lifelong advocate of everything Dylanesque (that's Bob D, not D Thomas, of course, although the two often go hand in hand.) Dick says the things I wanted to say about Dylan:

My relationship with Dylan as a key figure in that movement of souls that gathered us up in the ‘60s & dumped us, high & dry, somewhere in the middle of the ‘70s was never one of acolyte. Rather he represented for me a symbol of detached individualism. He followed his own trail, not because some imp of perversity had him flouting the protocols, but because he was driven by creative forces over which he had no control. In an era of largely spurious non-conformity, in which fashion & popular cultural diktat functioned significantly at the behest of commercial concerns, Dylan walked alone. Drawn by his eccentric star, he entered the forbidden realms of country music, recorded utterly unsuitable cover versions, embraced the suffocating sterility of fundamentalist Christianity, & then – his voice shot & with blood in his eye – he returned to the timeless blues, ballads, rags & hollers of his seminal years.
Ever the maverick, evading the obsessive efforts of the media finally to bind him to the ground like Gulliver, Dylan has maintained triumphantly an inviolable uniqueness amongst his many peers. Inhabiting as he has for so long a bewildering multitude of roles & identities, each drawing deep on America’s rich resources of popular culture, he has enjoyed a measure of creative freedom & self-determination experienced by very few artists.
I’ve been tempted to shell out for increasingly expensive concert tickets each time he has toured. But somehow, after all these years, from beatnik cherub to ageing troubador, it’s simply enough to know that he’s out there.

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