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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, October 16, 2010


Tonight's competitors performed material supposedly by their music heroes. Nobody claimed Bob Dylan as one. I'm just saying.

However, I'm told that on Saturday evening they used a version of 'To Make You Feel My Lurve' on Strictly Come Dancing. This song really has found its own level...

No: I don't watch it. Never have, never will. The trailers told me all I needed to know. I'm just saying.


Anonymous McHenry Boatride said...

Thanks for the update. But for that I'd never have known - or cared - what was happening on X-Factor.

10:27 am  
Blogger joe butler said...

You missed the junoesque Pamela Stevenson's Rhumba
Michael. something of a treat for this particular saddo.
Clearly the song is becoming a popular classic. The vagaries of history will see Dylan as the man who provided the soundtrack of media pulp, rather than the poetry of a generation.

11:36 am  
Anonymous Kieran said...

I heard "Make you feel my, etc" on the radio the other day, Adele was singing it. Quite good, too. It's become a sort of mini-standard, where people don't even know who wrote it, but it's famous.

I wouldn't be too hard on him for it, though. It's the kind of song a guy like him SHOULD write occasionally, and when it's sung right, it has a simple sincerity that's appealing.

Go on, both barrels!!

12:03 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You don't watch Strictly Come Dancing? How admirable! But it's amusing to be exposed to such a risible display of cultural snobbery by a man who's devoted his life to writing about the author of the following couplet: "You used to ride on a chrome horse with your diplomat/Who carried on his shoulder a siamese cat".

Michael Gray - truly a Matthew Arnold for our time.

11:17 am  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

Dear Anonymous
So why are you hiding your identity? Is it because you're not quite confident that your comments are as brilliantly biting as you intended and you daren't own up to them?

Re Strictly Come Dancing, this self-confessed X Factor viewer knows several sane people who watch it. It isn't a matter of cultural snobbery. It's a matter of taste.

As for the rest, well, taking one couplet out of context from a magnificent incantatory work of Dylan's and sneering at it by telling me I'm not a contemporary Matthew Arnold: this isn't exactly Arnoldian critical exegesis itself. In contrast, my critique of the lyric of 'Like A Rolling Stone' (Bob Dylan Encyclopedia, 2008 paperback pp.418-420) is at least coherent, considered and attentive. I'm not Matthew Arnold but I'm not an anonymous yahoo either.

7:08 pm  
Blogger Frank said...


(Eat your heart out IA Richards, FR Leavis and W Empson. And, of course, CB Ricks...)

11:54 pm  
Anonymous McHenry Boatride said...

Well, Frank, FR Leavis was a visiting Professor at The University of York whilst Michael was studying there. Perhaps some of it rubbed off.

9:04 pm  

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