Worthless Foam From The Mouth





I’d like to comment on Chris Cooper’s article in last month’s issue. Not the bit about the RTR release because (A) I haven’t heard it yet and (B) whether it’s flawed or not, it’s 1975 Revue Bob Dylan and will therefore, along with the Sloman reprint and the previously unseen photo-laden Uncut article, be the highlight of the year (and that’s even including the current crop of shows which, to my ears, are the most exciting gigs for a good 12, maybe even 24 months).

NO I was more interested in his opening paragraphs where he complained about the lack of response to the questions he posed a month earlier. I’ve noticed myself over the past few years we tend not to interact with each other from month to month. In fact, I made the very same point a year or so ago and it inspired a similar response: a total and deafening silence. I told myself that it was probably because I’ve made the observation as part of my “Take Me On A Trip” cartoon and maybe people didn’t think I was serious or maybe it didn’t carry the same weight as a “proper” article (though I’d be willing to bet that those cartoons take longer to produce than anything else you’ll read in Freewheelin’ this month – including this – and there are serious points sometimes contained within). Actually, this is not quite true; I did receive a very supportive letter from Chris himself at the time when the cartoon became very soulsearching in a “is it worth it? What am I doing?” kind of way. He may not realize it, but his letter came at just the right time and helped a lot more than I probably ever let on. My point was that we seem to have become twelve people who simply write an article each month possibly because we have something we want to say or possibly to fulfill our obligations, but precious little ever connects to a previous article the month before written by someone else. To that end, an outsider would be hard pressed to tell the difference between those of us who have been in Freewheelin’ for ten or fifteen years and those who joined fairly recently. The old verbal sparring, the agreements and disagreements, the responding and continuation of an idea or a theme all seem to be long gone. In their place are a series of largely anonymous articles that could have been written by Joe Bloggs of Anytown.

The one thing about Andy Muir is that he would always take someone to task for something he disagreed with or add support for something he identified with. I fully realize that things got a bit heated and a bit silly last year and John Welburn – also mourning the loss of the Freewheelin’ he once knew, if I read him correctly – felt that he had no option but to leave, but a bit of friendly exchanging of opinions and responses makes for a warmer and more personal magazine. The most depressing thing I read in Chris’ piece was his doubt that people even bothered to read what we write some of the time. I’m sure that’s not the case but it is a thought that has crossed my mind from time to time. There are parts of, say, Isis or The Bridge that I find less interesting than others but I do read everything, figuring that, if someone has spent precious hours of their spare time writing something, then the least we can do is read the thing.

It’s a damn shame that Chris felt he had better stick to articles that required no response in future. I felt that he really wanted to continue what he had begun the month before but tacked the “safer” RTR piece on instead. I’ve been as guilty of apathy in the past as the next person. There have been points I’ve intended to raise in response to something I’ve read and then suddenly the deadline comes around and I haven’t done anything and, by the time the next month comes around, the momentum seems to be lost and it never happens. Is it too late to get those old days back? Has anything I’ve written here inspired you to agree to disagree? Have I overreacted? Should we start the Theme Issues again? Your comments would be appreciated.

Doesn’t Bob look far better without that stupid cowboy hat on? Discuss.

Merry Christmas to one and all and all the best for 2003.