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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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Wednesday, May 05, 2010


I'm back on the track. I've been away attending the christening of my first granddaughter, Ms Indiana Gray-Woodhall, daughter of my son Gabriel (the one who met Bob Dylan in 1978) and Catherine; staying with my mother; and visiting my daughter Magdalena in Manchester. I flew out of Liverpool John Lennon International Airport ("Above us only sky") yesterday and got back home last night.

One of the things I came home to was an e-mail from TV film director and Bob fan Mick Gold alerting me to David Cameron's remarks about Dylan, given to Mick Brown in The Telegraph on Monday. I knew Dave had included the 1984 live version of 'Tangled Up In Blue' in his selection of Desert Island Discs a while back, but now we learn this:

"I’ve been to see him in concert a couple of times. I went to see him at the Hammersmith Odeon, probably 10 years ago, on my own because I couldn’t find any fellow Dylan fans, which is the best way to see him because you don’t have anyone annoying you with questions about why it’s not like the song they thought it was. The great thing about Dylan is that you can go through life discovering things you’ve overlooked. I’ve suddenly started listening to Street Legal – so I keep finding new Dylan albums that I love. It’s a joy."

I hope this doesn't persuade anyone to vote for him.


Blogger joe butler said...

You prayed to the Lord above
Oh please send you a friend
You prayed to the Lord above
Oh please send you a friend
Your empty ballot box tell yuh
That you ain’t a-got no friend

from the ballad of gordon brown

but don't even think that Cameron must have to stand naked one day

and to what degree is clegg liberal?

and who'd wanna live next door to nick griffin?

any collective farms left in cuba?

8:39 pm  
Anonymous Dave.E said...

well on a posotive note it may persuade a few more people not to vote for him

9:32 pm  
Anonymous Kieran said...

I'd vote for him if I could, but that's neither here nor there. What's really unusual for a politician is that he actually sounds like he GETS it.

How many politicians mouth these fan words and they sound like they're being fed lines through a creaky earpiece? But actually, Cameron sounds like he gets Bob, what it is to be a fan, and what a pleasure it is those times we go back and rediscover the beauty of Street Legal...

10:10 pm  
Anonymous Brian said...

No ....... 'Dave' knows someone else who knows about Dylan, silly ........

As I am sure you are aware, all they EVER listened to in the dorms at Eton was Bob - made a SUCH change from reading Forbes Magazine.

9:17 am  
Anonymous wee tommy said...

Are there really still people around who haven’t worked out that any appearance on any radio programme by a prospective prime minister is going to be as finely spun as the thread on the Bayeux tapestry? Cameron’s Desert Island Discs spot was as carefully airbrushed as his posters. He said that about Dylan because the PR man who wrote his script told him to. And in any case, remember that this is a man whose understanding of popular culture is such that he thought The Jam’s Eton Rifles was about him, because he went to Eton.

2:26 pm  
Blogger Frank said...

Michael, I wondered why you didn't see feet to publish my post in Cameron and Dylan. Was it non-PC? Offensive? Politically wrong-headed?

8:04 pm  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

I don't remember receiving one, Frank. Sorry...

9:36 am  
Blogger wfloyd said...

I'm uncertain whether to post here or on the "Travelin' Shoes" blog as the topic dovetails with each.
The Allman Brothers played the Macon auditorium for the first time in almost 20 years on April 23.
I was heartened to see that they are including Dylan's "Blind Willie" in their set.

This seems apt and perhaps, directly related to Michael's great labor.

3:02 pm  
Blogger Frank said...

I quite agree with Kieran. If authenticity is the key (although his Bobness has famously said that Frank is the key), then there is something encouragingly authentic about Cameron's comments, as Kieran suggests.

Will his comments make me vote for him? No. Our current parlous state is much too serious for trivial considerations like that.

I did vote for him, however, but for rather different reasons. The alternatives were to vote for a man who for over ten years encouraged the country to spend, spend and spend its way into zillions of pounds of debt, a man who then presented himself as our potential saviour; or for a tailor's dummy of a man whose Cambridge-honed oratorical skills give him the X Factor for easily beguiled voters.

Dave's the real man of substance.

I realise, of course, that my comments will not go down very well with those people who are surprised and somewhat miffed to be told that Dylan stopped writing protest songs approximately forty five years ago. Or with those people who, while sadly acknowledging Dylan's myriad shape-changes over the years, still cling to the belief that he remains a part of the leftist fraternity.

So, let's hope that the song coming over the airwaves sometime this week is 'Changing of the Guard'...

4:23 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I first saw Bob at the Festival Hall some 45 years ago and have been a keen supporter ever since (I even have many of your books) - and i have voted Conservative every time in my life, including this time. (I played blues guitar with Mike Cooper). (Did you prefer blair, mandelson, campbell, blunkett, hain, the bigoted Brown?)

9:33 pm  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

Hello there life-long blue blues guitarist. I've no wish to pick a fight, especially in a forum where several people even got aerated over comments I made about George Bush, so I'll just say this:

No, as individual politicians I don't prefer "blair, mandelson, campbell, blunkett, hain, the bigoted Brown?" And New Labour has clearly betrayed more or less everything the Labour Party stood for, and been a good deal more hypocritical than Thatcher, whose one virtue was her being a WYSIWYG politician.

BUT history makes it plain that the Tory party is the party of the ruling class, the one that opposed the abolition of slavery, initiated the Enclosures, opposed the formation of trade unions, watched the poor go to the wall in the Depression, opposed the founding of the National Health Service, opposed the abolition of the death penalty and opposed all attempts to reform the law on racial and sexual discrimination.

In short, it has always been the party of the rich and powerful and its history that of trying to keep the poor as disadvantaged and powerless as possible. It is, in fact, as our new Home Secretary rightly said it was perceived to be, "the nasty party".

11:29 am  

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