June 21st, 2008


Always A Changin'

The writer of 60goingon16 has been to see the exhibition of Bob Dylan’s paintings; lucky her. It’s nice to meet another admirer because I get the feeling my Flist is pretty cool on the great man. The thing about my love of Bob Dylan is that it has absolutely nothing to do with nostalgia. When I hear Poor Me, I smile fondly at the memory of how much I was in love with Adam Faith when I was twelve. Waterloo Sunset takes me so much back to London in the late 1960s that I can almost smell the smoky old city. With Bob Dylan, there are no associations and memories; he is perennially here and now.

In Nick Hornby’s 31 Songs (good book), he wonders wistfully what it would have been like to have heard the great classics of pop when they came out. I can tell him; they were just the latest songs, y’know? Every week, blasting out of our little radio via Kenny and Cash – on London! were songs we would be listening to for the rest of our lives, but how were we to tell that? I wouldn’t have called myself a Dylan fan then. I knew all the songs of course, just as I knew all the Beatles’ songs backwards. When Like A Rolling Stone came out I, like everyone else, thought, What? But that song gets better every single time I hear it. I remember a review of a Dylan concert whose author said that you go to see Mick Jagger to find out if he can still do what he’s always done but you go to see Dylan to find out what he’s doing next. Constantly evolving and still writing good songs now. He’s my man.