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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, April 23, 2011


I arrived home yesterday evening from my 13-day Irish tour  -  having been phenomenally lucky with the weather on all but one of those days. In other respects some days were better than others.

The highlights were the very generously administered Dock Arts Centre in the small town of Carrick-on-Shannon, which got everything right, and the literature festival in Galway  -  a buzzy place at any time. Delivering my Searching for Blind Willie McTell talk to a packed audience in the Drury Lane Theatre there was a real delight.

The lowlight was arriving at the Central Library in Cork three days ago to find that the organisers of the so-called Cork World Book Festival had never bothered to notice that the talk they'd booked was titled Love Me Slender: The Genius of Early Elvis  -  and not, as they had dozily billed it on posters and leaflets, Love Me Tender etc... I've often arrived at venues to find the technician unacquainted with the Tech Spec I'd sent to the programme director months earlier, but I've never before, in a decade of giving talks, been anywhere they didn't even get the title of the talk right. And this from a city library.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just stumbled across an interview with you on Clip Syndicate about Blind Willie McTell, and what a riveting speaker you are. There are speakers who convince you of their expertise from their very first sentence, and you are of this kind. At the same time, you are not the sort of dry, academic speaker that used to send me to sleep when I dragged my hide into the lecture halls many moons ago. If I were still living in Britain, I would definitely catch one of your talks.

6:21 pm  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

That's an uncommonly warm, generous comment. Thank you, whoever, and wherever, you are...

7:10 pm  
Blogger Pope Leo said...

I hope you're all Anonymous cracks you up be, Michael! I'm coming to listen to you at Bristol on 24th May. I will have been amongst the professors all day and will be expecting the grand climax from you. No pressure, then!

11:15 pm  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

OK Leo. I'll expect to see your Popemobile parked outside, and to spot you in the hall without difficulty. You'll be the man in the long white dress, I'm sure.

Meanwhile I'm posting the Clip referred to above (which I didn't know existed till today) on my website. Under 'Work'.

11:21 pm  
Blogger Jonathan said...

I'm glad at least that Drogheda seemed to go by without any problems -thank you enormously from myself, Gavin, Kate, Grace and Tim -we had a great night... Gav in particular hadn't heard the other take of Blind Willie McTell and went away especially happy! I'll have to chime in with 'Anonymous' and complement your speaking -we wished you could have continued longer because it certainly didn't seem like 2 hours. Perhaps and new coda featuring Together Through Life? :)
Best regards, and hope to have you back for next year's week of summer.

2:32 pm  

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