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March 04, 2009

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I saw Dylan in concert a couple of years ago, and this ambivalence between fame and being left alone was very evident. He spent the whole concert with 3/4 of his back to the audience; seemed to be deliberately morphing old favorite songs into something almost unrecognizable; and in spirit if not actuality seemed to be flipping off the audience. It was about the worst concert I've ever been to. Many people got up and left, and I felt totally screwed over, as if he'd taken a lighter to the money everyone had spent on their tickets. And believe me, at the beginning of the concert, this was an audience prepared to share the love. I love Dylan's work, but next time I'll spend the $$$ on a couple of CDs, not a concert ticket.

Dylan has been writing about death since he channeled Rimbaud as a young man. His "Red River Shore" could easily be reached with Rimbaud's "Drunken Boat."

I agreed completely that this psyche swings often between the needs for fame and anonymity. The reason he's able to come back so often is his great ability to reinvent himself.

Fascinating, the fickleness not only of fsme itself but of our desire for it & then the recoiling from it. Think of Sinatra and his attitude toward the press.
I meant to ask for your thoughts regarding Dylan's comments on Archibald MacLeish in "Chronicles." What an unlikely pairing, no?

I thank those who have commented so far. Laura Orem's sad experience at a Dylan concert is a painful example of his being torn about performing. I hadn't thought of the "Drunken Boat," so I appreciate Lee Marc Stein's pointing it out. And, so characteristically, David Lehman has an important contribution. I'll write about Dylan and MacLeish in the next post.

Larry Epstein

John Stewart was a member of The Kingston Trio in the sixties. Later he had some success as a songwriter (Daydream Believer, Gold, Runaway Train etc) He said that he realised after about three weeks of touring that life 'on the road' was 'a vacant lot' but it was his way of making his living.
Gardener McKay was an extremely handsome man and I often wondered why he gave up his career. Perhaps Tom Pacheco had someone like him in mind when he wrote 'The Sacred' (from Woodstock Winter). That album also features members of The Band.

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Radio

I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark
                   

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


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This Way Out

THE RULE OF THUMB
by T.P.Winch

Ringfinger was nervous
Pinky terrified
when they learned
that Hand might succumb
to the rule of Thumb.

 

 


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