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the pioneer of Dylan Studies; writer, public speaker, critic; became a Doctor of Letters in 2015 (awarded by the University of York, UK)

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Saturday, August 19, 2006

By coincidence, another lovely review today: Book of the Week in The Guardian, thanks to the eloquent prose of Mike Marqusee, who has obviously given The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia a good deal of acutely observant attention, is extremely thoughtful and can write beautifully. This is real reviewing.


Blogger Dave Robins said...

Michael - Do you remember me? We once spent a long night together -one summer in 1972-4 waiting in line for a cheap Laker Airways ticket to the US at Victoria Station. You,me,and a guy called "Crazy" Frank Pierce. I was working for the underground press and you had just pubd yr book. Just wanted to say congrats on Encyc. & grt LRB review which I read. My wife is from Toronto and North York is way out from the CC. My daughter Sophie has also just turned 18 and got A Levels. Very best wishes, Dave Robins.I'm at
ps. Is it true that Dylan owns a property in Crouch End? We live in Kentish Town and some claim to have seen him on the 134 bus going to Camden Market!!!

11:02 am  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

Well, Dave! I can't swear I remember your face but I certainly remember the occasion. The trip those tickets yielded took place, in my case, in January 1973, and my book was just being published in the USA in hardback. E.P. Dutton were far from enthusiastic about me doing promo when I was over there - and certainly didn't pay my airfare (hence the queue for Laker) but I had a great time. Went up one of the Trade Center towers - they were new then - and roamed around NYC and elsewhere; stayed in a dodgy part of Brooklyn, a stuffy part of Queens and a crazy pad in the Village - somewhere on Prince Street, on the floor of a friend of a friend. Smoked a great deal of excellent grass. Saw John Prine live in Washington DC and talked to him backstage; some magazine editor had given him a copy of my book & he was surprised at how much work had gone into it... Went to the fabulous art museum in Philadelphia, and, with my then-wife, her old school penfriend & her husband, to see Deep Throat
on a huge-screen Philly cinema. That was new then too. Old ladies in the front row, keeping warm, as these gigantic close-up genitals loomed over them. Weird. I think 1973 was the end of the 1960s.

Great to hear from you. Congrats to Sophie - glad to hear it. Don't know about the Crouch End property: I think he backed off in the end, but who knows...

Got to go - got to pack for holiday. This'll be my last blogbit for a week & a day. All best.

12:07 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Impressed by your latest masterpiece, Michael (though I confess that I haven't actually bought it yet!). Nearly caught up with you in Falmouth a few years back but you were arriving the day that I was going back to home to Sussex. Maybe Someday.

9:40 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

fdtsI've bought it and it's excellent. I'm a recent convert to Dylan (having ignored him for the last twenty years!) and Mr. Gray's Encyclopedia is a godsend.

Marqusee's Wicked Messenger is also superb. Highly recommended. Very inspiring.

Does Nina Simone merit an entry in the next ed.? I've been listening to her covers and wondering who she is.

4:14 pm  
Blogger  said...

I really dug the PBS (American Masters) program on Mr. Dylan though moi 'tis somewhat
[Make that SOMEWHAT]
more blunt in my writin's.

Stay on Groovin' Safari,
TOR Hershman

9:07 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BD's mate Dave Stewart (formerly of The Eurythmics) lives in Crouch End and he does visit from time to time so that may be why he was on the bus, if he was...

11:05 pm  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

Thanks for all these. I'm answering in a mad rush between getting back from a week's holiday in Turkey and going off at dawn tomorrow to start my 17-day promo trip to the States. (First event is Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland OH on Aug 30 at 7pm.) Must go and finish packing.

11:39 pm  
Blogger Buster the Wired Fox Terror said...

Hi I wanted to say hi to Digby!

Bussie Kissies

7:10 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Michael,

Congratulations on the success of your encyclopedia. I truly admire your devotion and commitment to your subject.

I did find your comments on Matt Monro to be a bit unkind. If you're feeling generous sometime I recommend you check out or

David in Florida

9:12 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Everyone is waiting for you to make a comment on Modern Times! You can't keep us in suspense like this!

The book just arrived in Australia. I have my copy right in front of me. Can't wait to delve.


11:57 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Michael,

After ruminating about the Dylan-Henry Timrod connection noted in today's NY Times, I thought of you and wondered how you were. Lo and behold, you have a new book and rave reviews. Congratulations.

I still have some fairly hilarious memories of you from way back when you and Sue and Gabriel stayed with Harriet and I at our old apartment in Queens. I also seem to remember something about London, a big old white Cadillac and too much Bailey's. Anyway, I do hope you're well. Wish you had an e-mail address on here -- I'd send you mine.

Michele Hush

8:04 pm  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

Greetings this Wednesday morning, September 20th. I'm back on the track. Hello to everyone who has written in here, and especially to Buster - a fine looking fellow - and Michele Hush! Michele!! How ARE you?! I can't give out my e-mail address on here . . . but why can't you give out yours? I'd LOVE to exchange e-mails with you. I too have fine memories of you & Harriet & Queens, early 1973. (Michele was, back then, editor of a NYC rock magazine called, er, ROCK - and was kind enough to let me write a piece about Bob Dylan's pseudonyms.)

As for Modern Times, it's too early to say. I'm glad I don't have to review it. If I had to rush to judgment right now, I'd be inclined to say it's been absurdly over-hyped & overrated, and that it's disappointingly similar to, but much inferior to, "Love and Theft" - comparable good humour & use of old musical forms & cut-&-paste lines, but without any of the bite or wit or bravery: too comfortable, too avuncular, a bit dull. That said, 'Workingman's Blues #2' and 'Nettie Moore' are very strong, moving works and I'm grateful to have both of them.

11:15 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello again,

Sorry about the long delay. Anyway, here's my e-mail address: Drop me a line one of these days and let me know how you're doing.


7:24 pm  

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