WHAT was it you wanted?

by Jim Gillan


No, I don’t know what it’s doing over there. It was supposed to be arranged vertically, but incompetence triumphed. Again.

Something similar could be said about the thinking behind The Bootleg Series Vol. 5. Although thanks to the pre-publicity and attendant comments I had absolutely no hopes for the brute, I still pre-ordered it from HMV, picking it up on the day of release. The first thing that (Should I have dropped the ‘h’?) went on was the DVD. BEAUTIFUL picture, LOVELY quality, but why not take the opportunity to give us a complete Isis? Or footage that we hadn’t seen before?

O how we would have howled and slavered! How we would have envied Rosen and wished ourselves on to the panel of compilers! What sinister smirks might slide round the lips of THEM who take decisions!

Not that Bob is included in ‘them’. It ain’t that he doesn’t get off on a bit of schadenfreude, it’s just that he can’t be bothered with anything as tiny as the feelings and views of his audience.

As it was, the howls in this part of the moon (I’m camped in the Sea of Stupidity) were ones of pain at the horrid mutilation done to performances that I think are touched by genius. The sound, to my one good(ish) ear and battered brain, is truly wonderful, but the choice of songs, the running order, the fade between tracks are aaaaarrrrghhhh!

Hi Jim – you ain’t looking too good. What’s up?

Aaaa –aaaaa – rrgggggrrrthgdhyb ….

Wow! That’s Ph.D. grief. Have you been listening to Max Bygraves re-mixes?

Aaaa –aaaaa – rrgggggrrrthgdhyb ….

Damn! I’ve never seen anyone froth in those sorts of colours!

Aaaa –aaaaa – rrgggggrrrthgdhyb ….

Well, I could go on, but instead of writing what would eventually have been a cunningly reasoned and carefully crafted deconstruction of Vol.5, revealing it as part of a wider plan on Bob’s part to smash all the myths, I’ll leave it all to M Gray to write about and go open the post instead.

Another bulging bag! OK, what have we here.

Dear Jim,

Here’s what I think you should be doing with your Freewheelin’ column.

That’s odd! The rest of the page is blank. I’ll rub it with lemon and warm it over a candle… Magic or what? Two minutes after the page caught fire, a Green Goddess turned up, complete with some muscular squaddies and a big pole, with one of them still on it. Ros, my darling wife, was rescued four times from the bedroom, though not by the Pole. I thought once was enough, but she explained that she wanted to take ALL her clothes off. I don’t understand. Next letter.

No, that one isn’t fit for a family paper. Next

No, that’s a bill. From John Stokes. For stamps. Seems he has had to send out 140,000 letters of apology for my last effort. The good news is that this confirms that more people read Freewheelin’ than Judas.

The bad news is that I’m down to my last £37,800. Coincidentally the size of his bill. Why didn’t he use second class? And no jokes from you lot along the lines of 2nd class is about that all my contribution amounts to. Next.

Ah! It’s one from – no it can’t be! Surely knot! (I’m fit to be tied). But yes! It is Bob.

hi lo an’so
over time said the seer
all will be revealed
i didn’t kno anyone
called vealed
tho’ one hundred and thirty seven horn-rimmed sharp-suited briefcase-bearing accountants
said the eyes have it an’ so
the hole amounts to zero
wile failin’ to deliver
mite really be a little clever

Well, I can’t improve on tat (see! It is better without the ‘h’) for an analysis. Why even M Gray would be stuffed. Which is not a job for the faint-hearted.

What the above might mean is that it really doesn’t matter what we think. The Bootleg Series Vol. 5 won’t be the last word on the RTR. And certainly not the last official release from that tour. Artistic integrity? Old Bob doesn’t seem concerned about the last show, never mind those that are over 27 years old. Vol. 5 will make a few dollars for Bob and Sony and Mastercard, as well as keep us in our places.

So, for all you frustrated, far-out ferociously-tempered few, all I’m trying to illustrate in my own gnomic way is the absurdity of it all. Now for what it does mean.

This is the second (OK, the fifth) month in a row that I haven’t been able to write anything.

By way of explanation, I was trying to end on a joke. If I was in Glasgow, I might have ended on a Jock.

Perhaps I’m in Helsinki, as it’s time to finish.


Arranged vertically.
So, what do you think of the column?