Wednesday, June 25, 2014

How does it feel?



This unremarkable-looking display is actually a cultural artifact of inestimable worth.

It's the first draft of Bob Dylan's classic, Like a Rolling Stone, which many have called the best rock song ever written.

Or recorded.

Or sung.

Recently these four humble pages, gleaned from I-know-not-where, sold at auction for $2 million. I don't know if Bob saw any of the proceeds. He may have been off somewhere forging paintings or making time with his new girl friend.




This is my all-too-inadequate attempt to blow up the pages. It's still impossible to read the text, but you can plainly see the little sketches he did in the margins, and the origin of the paper is a humble hotel room in Washington, D. C. Sometimes he write on an upside-down page, not that he would have noticed.






Here they are still more magnified, showing us that genius never moves in straight lines.




OK then, we all know His Bobness is a genius, and his quirky lifestyle is the proof. The fact he has lived this long is by far his greatest achievement.




But like most geniuses (geni-i?), his work has sometimes been wildly uneven. He's the Marlon Brando of rock, brilliant when he's brilliant, and sometimes plain stupid. The Christmas album is a case in point. 




But you never know quite what to expect from him. He has the courage or the foolhardiness to plunge in and try things he's really no good at. Last time it was welding gates out of old bicycle parts, claiming he was a welder when he grew up in Minnesota.

So all of a sudden he grew up in Minnesota instead of Outer Mongolia or wherever, raised by tigers. Now suddenly he's a man of the soil, a blue-collar sort, an everyday working man wielding a blowtorch. My ass he does that, but he doesn't want to run out of spontaneous twists and turns.

OK, the gates were actually pretty good, but who actually made them?


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