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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, January 15, 2012


I've decided to call a halt to this blog. It was first created almost six years ago at the prompting of my publisher, who regarded it as a marketing tool. I'm glad it grew, and has continued to grow, into something more  -  not least an often provocative discussion forum  -  but I want to stop before it becomes a treadmill.

I shall continue to monitor and publish comments that come in for another ten days or so from today, but after that the blog will become, frozen in cyberspace, a record of what's been contributed and published  -  be me and by you.

I thank every person -  and there have been many thousands  -  who has read the blog down the years, and I thank most gratefully all those who have participated in it more actively. Except the rude people, of course.

That said, I've created a new blog, OUTTAKES. This can be accessed either here or from the drop-down menu cunningly titled 'Blogs' at I hope some readers might come with me.

News of what I'm doing will also continue to be posted on my website and I can always be contacted directly by e-mail at . Meanwhile thank you again.


Blogger mick gold said...

Adios amigo,thanks for all the comments, controversy, critical & cussed insights. See you around the Outtakes blog.

12:23 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm saddened.

Will write more before the 10 day window expires.


Judas Priest (aka Garret)

12:34 am  
Anonymous Jack Evans said...

Thanks for a great Blog, Michael, and carry on... I still want to hit the American road with you and see some
Bob Dylan shows...

3:07 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank YOU, Michael. I'll follow your new blog. It's always a pleasure to read you. All best wishes. Antonio J. Iriarte

10:48 am  
Blogger Max Smith said...

You (or rather, your Bob blog) will be much missed. But thanks for consistently interesting posts over the years as well as, of course, for the Encyclopedia. Have already bookmarked Out-Takes. Happy trails.

11:52 am  
Anonymous Kieran said...

Good stuff! I enjoyed this one, but obviously there's a wider world out there than Bob. I'll be curious to see what other music you discuss, and what other topics too.

Take care, and thanks for all the interesting posts...

2:40 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best of Luck, Michael. I'll read the new 'un.

5:14 pm  
Blogger joe butler said...

Sorry to hear this Michael,

Your blog has been a wonderful store of insightful, and at times controversial discussion.

Best of luck with future ventures

5:31 pm  
Blogger Jack said...

Thank you for this blog, I have enjoyed following and occasionally contributing to it.

All the best,

5:46 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And so we say goodbye to the best Dylan related blog on the net, from the greatest of Dylan commentators. Sad news, sad news...

10:07 pm  
Anonymous Darkeyez said...

Michael, there are few epics when it comes to Dylanology. You, sir, are one.

5:18 am  
Anonymous Rambling Gambling Gordon said...

I think it’s wise to be moving on and doing something a bit different. Besides, Dylan will presumably figure strongly in the new blog, just not all the time.

Definitely a good move, but thanks anyway for all the posts and for initiating so many interesting discussions. I’ll keep reading.

5:22 pm  
Blogger Pope Leo said...

Sorry to hear that you are discontinuing the blog, Michael. Thanks for all the work you have put into over the past few years.

9:21 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am going to miss your blog. It was a forum that I could turn to to get interesting discussions of all things Dylan. I understand about the treadmill analogy, however. I'm hoping that your new blog will continue to bring fresh Dylan analysis while allowing you a larger range of topics. I'm still hopeful that Dylan has at least one more burst of creativity before he retires.

6:59 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear of the blog's demise has been an excellent forum and far superior to ,say, The Bridge - this sad little rag is what gives Dylanology a bad name - an ageist, sexist and unethical publication:which perpetuates a clique of deadheads ( it cannot be bothered to have a feedback column ).


6:22 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Highly ironic. In '98 someone said to me, "----, I'm tired of reading so much crap about Dylan, would be good to see some new writing in place of the old guard like Day and so on. I want the Dylan world to be shaken to the core."

Soon after that he wrote to me saying he'd just subscribed to the newly fledged Bridge, which had published his letter without his even trying. The Bridge writes, at

"Perhaps it's time to call a moratorium on critical books about old Bobby. The Dylan critical genre is safe in the capable hands of Michael Gray, Paul Williams or (forthcoming) Christopher Ricks, but such premiership division Dylan writers are few and far between."

Ultimately, Michael runs the whole show including the elements he mildly ribs (unsurprisingly) in his chapter on the poststructuralists - most notably "philosophy essay" Day. Though Michael is not one, they still look to him - especially on Dylan's 70th.

The Bridge is sexist? Terrible. This would never do for Mr Muir, who in Troubadour laments Dylan's old-fashioned sexism. But one problem here is that sweethearts like he and Michael, who chastises Dylan's "suffocating reactionary nonsense" in Infidels, hasn't looked closely at the album's "code in the lyrics".

Should I upload? I'd hate to overload the four-min concentration span . . .

1:12 am  
Anonymous Rambling Gambling Gordon said...

I always found The Bridge a dreary publication, but as far as I can remember the articles at least made sense and were grammatically correct, unlike that last piece of rambling, solecism-ridden silliness.

3:26 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Proper answer to your regrettable, if inevitable, news to follow Michael...

meanwhile, Anonymous 1:12am - what did I ever say about sexism in Infidels? honestly cannot recall. I only ever recall writing about "Licence to Kill" from there and I was defending that song in that piece....

I can last longer than 4 minutes, btw. At concentrating anyway....

yours Homer ("Mr. muir")

6:02 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Michael,

I am sorry to see the blog go, but it lasted at least as long as “Judas!” if not longer - so well done!
I know it all can become a bit of a burden on one’s time. It has been worth it, however; many of us have thoroughly enjoyed its presence in our lives. On a personal note, my highs and lows were both connected to Dylan album releases.
There is no danger in now saying that I was the one who gave you the news re a new album (Modern Times) coming some six years ago now. I remember getting the rumour, checking it was possible. Finding out it was real, but as I only had one source I couldn’t say and nowhere was it published. Then I got double and distinct confirmation so I could let you announce the news, albeit couched in mystery. I was inordinately proud when someone asked for your source and you replied along the lines of “I won’t give his name but I completely trust him.”
The big downer was with the Christmas In The Heart news. I had withdrawn from the Dylan circles I once frequented and was no longer in a position to get news first but by pure chance – well, a Dylan friend was involved but not a normal album news breaker – I ended up in the middle of the year hearing from a musician returning from sessions for a Dylan Christmas album of all things.. …..but I was not allowed to tell anyone! It was torture. I did send a totally cryptic at the time, clear in retrospect, e-mail to someone so that there was proof later on that I had known if a Xmas album came out (or indeed if something had happened to stop it). I sincerely regret not being able to pass that one on – what a scoop that would have been – but I had given my word and, if one thinks about the musician in question, it made sense that I would have to keep quiet.
Naturally, I wish your new blog all the best; I will miss this one though!
Yours, as ever, Homer.

6:17 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Homer: you still broke your word.

12:51 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Homer, Michael censored my reply to you, which bears out my closing point.

However, he did not censor someone's attack on The Bridge or someone's claim that you still broke your word.

This (and other things) tell an interesting story.

1:57 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I only posted after checking it was OK with those I had originally given my word to. They thought it overly courteous of me even to check and that the fabric of society probably could withstand the earth shattering revelation.


2:32 pm  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

It's unfortunate that one incoherent Anonymous (natch) correspondent used this end zone for slagging off Andrew Muir and, by extension, me. I wanted Andrew to be able to respond, but that's it.

I'm heartened by the warmth of the great majority of the comments here, and I thank all those who've sent them.

So. Here I go killing off the Bob blog. But to quote the man himself, death is not the end.

5:02 pm  

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