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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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Monday, November 24, 2008


These were expected to be announced last week but delays at Dylan's office's end reportedly meant that the promoter had to postpone releasing any details. They're expected this week...

Which reminds me that the Bono item I posted recently reminded an old friend (of mine, not of Bono's) of "the anti-Vietnam war stage play put on in the 60s, called US (referring both to the United States and to us, as in you and me ie implicating us in the whole sorry mess, geddit?). At the end the audience, wracked with horror, rose to give a standing ovation. The actors, however, primed no doubt by the director, failed to do the usual bowing and scraping, and stood there stony-faced, hostile and generally superior. The audience, suitably chastened, fell quiet until someone in the stalls shouted out 'Would you like us to go now ?' "...

...which in turn reminds me of those Dylan concerts from not so long ago when Bob and the band would all come to the front and stand stock still staring at us while we applauded.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know if you remember it, but there was a concert by a group of Indian musicians at The University of York in the sixties. After the first number was met with rapturous applause the leader of the group said "Thank you so much - but we were just tuning up".

Completely the opposite - at a concert I went to by the great classical guitarist John Williams the audience did the unpardonable and clapped after the first movement. John waited for the applause to die down and then quietly said "I'm so sorry. I should have explained that this piece is in three movements."

5:23 pm  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

Are you not confusing a York concert with the Ravi Shankar section of Concert For Bangla Desh, when the first passage from the group was applauded and Shankar said (some might say a little sniffily) something along the lines of "Thank you, and if you appreciate the tuning so much we hope you will enjoy the performance more."

On another matter, I caught Gavin & Stacey for the first time last week and must admit it does something different and does it well. Also, last Saturday night's Outnumbered, the second in the series, was just perfect: as good as anything from the first series and deserving mega viewing figures and classic status.

2:46 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As Mr D says "Yesterday's just a memory, tomorrow is never what it's supposed to be." It's more than possible that the memories, also are no longer what they are supposed to be!

11:09 am  
Blogger joe butler said...

hi michael, I'm impressed that you reply to comments, so here goes. saw Dylan for only the second time last year in birmingham uk and as you comment suggests he finished by staring at us while posing with the band. I took it to be a neat alternative to the wave and goodbye.
What on earth was the eye on the banner supposed to represent? and the way it unfurled was pretty naff.
none the less i'm pretty much hung up on dylan.
please check my blog and give me a comment


8:07 pm  
Blogger Coventrian said...

The version I heard was that at the end of US, it was Kenneth Tynan who stood up and said, "Do we applaud you, or do you applaud us?"

8:27 pm  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

Dear Joe
You ask "What on earth was the eye on the banner supposed to represent?"

If you drop in on a Dylan-fan discussion group I'm told you'll find a number of theories put forward. I don't know. Personally I think it's naff altogether - a Bob Dylan corporate logo. I preferred it when he didn't go in for such things, but just (as in 1966) emerged from behind each theatre's ordinary black backcloth. He was anti-showbiz then, and all the better for it.

3:20 pm  
Blogger joe butler said...

i guess it all depends on what you want from a performance. I saw herbie hancock last week at symphony hall and the band just wandered on to the stage and let the music do the speaking. dylan has at times experimented with the presentation of his music,one thinks of rolling thunderor or the stars and stripes in '66.
is it driven by the need to compete with other artists? or is it insecurity on his part.He apparently, at one stage, was impressed by neil diamond's show!! does he think that his words alone are not enough? or does he feel his audience has dumbed down?

9:55 pm  

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