by Richard Lewis

I expect that like me you are pretty good at spotting the words Bob Dylan in any newspaper or magazine that you happen to be reading. Last weekend I was reading “The Guide” which is the Guardian’s listings magazine that comes out with the paper each Saturday. The first 40 or so pages are short articles and reviews of current films, books, records, plays exhibitions, restaurants etc. Then there are about 80 pages of listings for events and television. In between these two sections are about ten pages of personal ads including several pages of chatlines and individual ones called “soulmates”. I usually skip past these (‘course you do, I hear you saying) but one caught my eye, as it was the only one on the page highlighted in bright blue. 

It read Bob Dylan Fan M, young 51, just bought motorbike, WLTMF pillion to revisit Highway 61 followed by a Chester phone number. Intriguing. 

A few weeks ago my son lent me a DVD called “Blow” that starred Johnny Depp as drug dealer George Jung and was partly based on real life events.  In 1972 Jung is caught taking 660 pounds of marijuana plants across the Canadian border and is brought before a judge in Chicago. 

He elects to speak in his own defence and says the following: 

It is not a crime, and it is illogical and irresponsible to arrest me for crossing an imaginary line. You say that I’m an outlaw; you say that I’m a thief, but where’s the Christmas dinner for the families on relief. You say you’re looking for someone who’s never weak but always strong, to gather flowers constantly whether you are right or wrong, someone to open each and every door but it ain’t me babe, no no no it ain't me, it ain't me you’re looking for,…….. you follow? 

The lady judge is amused and says, “Your concepts are really interesting” but imprisons him anyway. Also at a couple of places in the film we hear “All The Tired Horses In The Sun “ playing on the soundtrack. Not a great film but worth watching if you come across it. 

Also in the Guardian last week was a news item in the Review section on books about the UK launch of a new publishing house, New Press. It is a non-profit group founded by Andre Schiffrin after leaving Random House and has brought out (in the US) work by leading radical authors including Noam Chomsky and Studs Terkel. One of the first UK titles this August will be Chimes of Freedom an analysis by Mike Marqusee of the politics of Bob Dylan’s work. 

Peter also brought me back from his work a copy of the Sunday Express colour supplement called s:2 that featured “Dylan at Home” a report by Patrick Humphries of a new exhibition of Elliott Landy’s photos at London’s Proud Central Gallery from April 4 to June 7. Titled Dylan in Woodstock at least a couple of the photos were new to me.