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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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Sunday, November 18, 2007


I've meant for some time now to post a recommendation for a Dylan-topic blog worth looking at, and it's this one by Chris Gregory. He's enormously keener on Modern Times than I am, and I can't say that I enjoy reading long positive critiques on the album which explain why it's a work of great genius, but his song-by-song run-down is assiduous in tracking and tracing the sources for Dylan's lines, so that this is, at the very least, a useful one-stop shop for them. (I've also added his blog to my list of Links.)

I know I've been pretty desultory about my own blogging lately - my last one, which was far from substantial, having been 12 days ago - but those twelve days have been strange ones for me. I learnt of the death of my oldest friend on that Tuesday evening, just as I was on my way out to see a theatre production in York of a play by James Robson, who, like me, lives in Kirkbymoorside. I couldn't cancel, but it was certainly odd to sit through the play, Scribbler and Spouse, which was powerfully written and its lead role a tour de force, while my mind was fruit-machining and my heart dark.

My friend was Peter Hues Harrison, and I've known him since we were 5 years old. That's 55 years. He was nine months younger than me. He died of heart failure in hospital in Kendal, Cumbria, at 7am on Monday November 5th. He'd been expected to recover and be discharged in a few days' time, so they had to arrange a post mortem, which couldn't be held for several days - coroners are busy people - and so it wasn't until after that had taken place that Peter's funeral could begin to be arranged. It finally happened on Thursday, in the village church at Burneside, just outside Kendal, on a blazingly beautiful cold sunny day.

The day before the funeral I had to write a review of Todd Haynes' I'm Not There for Sight & Sound; the day after the funeral I had to go to Glasgow and give a Bob Dylan & The Poetry Of The Blues talk. My friendship with Peter hasn't always been tangled up in Bob - but it was with Peter, listening to the radio on the Wirral (near Liverpool) that I first heard Bob Dylan's voice. And as it happens, the last time I saw Peter we were listening to some of "Love and Theft".


Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry to hear of your friend -- my prayers!

7:13 am  
Blogger Paolo Vites said...

sorry about that - very nice post

6:23 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sympathies, Michael - lovely post

8:38 am  

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