2002 Top Ten

by Paula Radice

Well, I've got a new computer, but no graphics still, and my old address book can't be retrieved, apparently. Please let me have your email addresses again, as I'm feeling lost without them...

Here goes with my Dylan Top Ten for 2002. (I decided to make it just a Dylan one this time around, but a personal Top Ten for 2002 would include: achieving a Diploma in Performance Coaching in Education; getting Minstrel, the kitten who is now nearly fully- grown and chock-full of character; my parents' Ruby Wedding Anniversary in the Summer...and my new kitchen and bathroom, which caused months of havoc in the house but were finally worth all the disruption).

1. The 2002 British shows
I really enjoyed the two weekends of Dylan shows this May. Brighton is, of course, just up the road from Hastings, so that was an easy and enjoyable saunter, but the drives down to Bournemouth - via Fishbourne and Arundel, which I hadn't seen before - were also great, and Monica and I had booked into a very comfortable hotel right opposite the venue. One of my abiding memories will be of eating beans on toast, overlooking the swimming pool in the Centre. Oh, I really know how to live...And of course, the shows were great.

The following weekend in Docklands was, if anything, even better. Both shows were, I thought, very exciting (despite so me very annoying drunks in the seats next to us on the first night, who kept hassling Julie Felix in the row in front of us, and generally talking through the songs, until I persuaded them their presence wasn't appreciated and they left. Or perhaps they just left because the booze had run out) but I also enjoyed seeing a part of London I didn't know at all. We took the Light Railway out to Greenwich Market on the Sunday, and wandered around the Cutty Sark and the coffee bars, and had an altogether excellent time. Docklands Arena is an amazing place - because I never thought I would come across a venue as bad as Wembley Arena, a truly staggering achievement - but it didn't spoil the experience.

2. The Second Annual John Green Day in Northampton
A super weekend, mostly due to the meeting up with old and new friends and the great atmosphere of the event. My bank manager's least favourite Dylan event of the year, thanks to the merchandise stalls.

3. Starting writing for The Bridge and Isis fter years of not daring to put word processor to paper, Freewheelin' managed to boost my confidence to such an extent that I felt able to take up two very kind offers to write for other publications. Poor fools, they don't know what they've let themselves in for...

4. Live 1975
I know there are criticisms to be made of the song choices and the track ordering on
Live 1975 (which Chris made most adroitly in the last Freewheelin'), but the music is, when all's said and done, absolutely superb, and it's great to have it in such good audio quality. The packaging deserves crediting as well - good photos and interesting text. I'm very glad to have it, and can't stop playing It Ain't Me Babe.

5. Waitin' for You
I've said enough about this elsewhere. I got quite a ridiculous amount of pleasure from this one little song. Time for a new album, Bob.

6. "Do You Mr Jones?" Bob Dylan with the Poets and Professors
Still haven't written the in-depth review of this for Freewheelin' that I kept promising, but have included it in the books I've reviewed for Isis, which will have to do now, I'm afraid. I do think it is a very important book, and will be cited as a landmark in years ahead. No longer will we have only Christopher Ricks to point to when asked who, in the academic/literary world, takes Dylan seriously enough to study him in depth. Not that Ricks wasn't good enough, of course, on his own; it's just that weight of numbers and prestige is always better than a lone voice. A very exciting and thought-provoking read.

7. Reading the script for Masked and Anonymous
Couldn't stop laughing as I read it. It's got Dylan all through it, like the lettering on a stick of rock. The film is either going to be very, very good, or absolutely appalling in ways that can only be imagined now. We can only wait and see.

8. Planning for Hibbing 2003
Monica and I have had a trip to Hibbing as a future project ever since we met, and it seems as if 2003 will be the year. Thinking about what we want to see and do around Minneapolis and Hibbing is beginning to get really exciting, and the time is drawing near to book the thing and make it a reality. If anyone has any suggestions as to how to plan an itinerary etc., please let me know. We shall be "doing" all the Dylan things, of course, but we don't want to miss out on the best of the rest as well.

9. The last Tarantula
I've just bought yet another edition of Tarantula: just a little scruffy paperback, but a significant event for me, as it was the last English- language edition I didn't have. I paid over the odds for it, of course, but that's what happens when you're a collector: things take on a significance beyond themselves (or indeed, beyond sanity, according to some people's definition). Now to concentrate on the foreign- language editions. I've got a fair few, but if anyone has a spare Japanese, or Croatian one, please let me know...

10. Bob Dylan Still Being Around
Should be item number one, of course, and we should never take it for granted. Thank you, God, for all the things that Bob's done this year that have brought us enjoyment and the pleasure of anticipation. We await the delights of Crossing Over the Green Mountain,
Masked and Anonymous, Chronicles, Lyrics, Pressin' On, etc. etc.

Have a great Christmas and may the New Year bring you everything that will make you happy.


Bringing It All Back Home