What Was It You Wanted?

by Jim Gillan


HELLO ALL!  Sorry about not getting to you sooner, ‘tho you may yet regret that I got here at all. I’m a month late. Which coincidentally is what she said many, many, many years ago. Shortly afterwards we were showered by confetti (her Dad didn’t bother to take it out of the box)…Do I detect from some of you a pregnant silence? Coincidentally a pregnant pause is – O bugger all that, HELLO ALL some more! It’s a whole new opportunity for living, loving and laughing.  Unless you happen to be reading this, in which case furrowed brows might be the best of it.  But with Freewheelin’ going free, the awesome responsibility to addressing you, the teeming millions is already creating a frisson that I fear requires a trip to the toilet. Only joking.  Although there are many who feel that the WWIYW column is mostly crap. 

Now, a word or more of explanation. Call me any name you like and I’ll try and get a credit card out in it. All I ask is that you have a LARGE sense of humour, ENORMOUS tolerance and a little patience, as on the whole I haven’t a clue what will fall on to the page.  Buried somewhere in the mire will be something relating to Dylan, usually along the lines of ‘ignore opinion, avoid analysis, watch out for anything purporting to be a ‘truth’. Be wary of theory; respect privacy, even for the most public of figures. Let your own ears, eyes and instincts do the work for you. Buy a BIG brass bed and abandon yourself to the love thing.  It’s never dark when the light is on in your head’ etc etc. 

I sometimes play with myself, which is always hugely enjoyable. I particularly like WHAT Was It You Wanted; though What Was It YOU Wanted is also fun. My current favourite is however It WAS What You Wanted.  The perceptive amongst you (well, those that haven’t already switched the PC off and hung themselves) will recognise the parallels with Bob’s art, where seemingly small changes of arrangement, emphasis and mood can make for big differences. The cynical will regard it as merely a ploy on my part to satisfy the Holy Spoke (a demanding taskmaster, if ever there was one) with any old album filler, and the great majority will wonder why they haven’t bought a rope. Hang about -  ya still go to the shows dontcha? 


I could try for ‘sensible’, but I fear that will cause my head to hurt. Anyway, when you look at what passes for ‘normal’ on planet Earth, what does ‘sensible’ mean? Producing GM crops? Dropping cluster bombs? Watching soaps? Listening to S Club 7? Paying attention to mothers and fathers throughout the land? I rest my case. Along with my head. Though not on the block. Back later. 

Later - well maybe only different.  As a whole new font hints at. Them New Romans have had their Times. Now there must be somewhere out of here… HA! A fresh thought…It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to write for Freewheelin’. Not because of any standing that it might have (or did before I started to contribute) in the Dylan community, but simply because free expression, however inane, is not something that everyone enjoys. Granted many don’t want to, preferring to use their time in other ways. But there are many more who cannot, simply because they are unable to do so. Jail ain’t the only prison. Illiteracy, poverty, belief and illness locks in just as effectively, the more so as there aren’t always bars to saw through. Ol’ Bob writes eloquently and sometimes directly about such things, but no matter how often you listen to 'em, no matter how well you know all the words, things don’t necessarily change. 

All of which means that for all the answers that might blow in the wind, direction is everything. The good news is that although it’s not dark yet, it’s getting there. And who knows what might happen when the baddies can’t see to take aim? There is nothing to fear when the night comes falling, it’s what the new morning brings that is cause for concern. Have a good day. And maybe help someone else have a good one to.

Damn! The Spoke wants more! OK…well, what if I write about… HOLD IT! The ‘I want more’ email went to everybody else, I got it by accident. Well TOO BAD Spoke, my wheel’s on fire. Actually, that’s too close to the truth and is the reason that this offering is:-

a)     Late 

b)     Even more demented than usual  

What happened is the roof of the house caught fire, which is what results when stripping paint with a hot-air gun causes the detritus of an old wasp’s nest (which I guess had extended down into the box section of the dormer window frame) to catch fire. Factor in the breeze and LOTS of nest wrapped around the roof beams and what ya have is something burning, baby. I’m at the top of the house, but the buckets are in the basement.  With a soulful, bounding leap and my good gal by my side, we soon had high water everywhere. By the time the Fire Brigade arrived, we had only a small insurance job to worry about. Which our neighbours were pleased about.   

What would ya have saved honey – assuming the dog would have legged it without waiting for his lead? Can’t answer, she says. Couldn’t have reached you, out there on the roof.  What would you have saved? I don’t know either. Probably not Grace. I guess between us we saved a home, not a house. 

YEEEHA! I’m back in a parallel universe. So HELLO WORLDS! Ah! the joys of travelling freely around them. But it’s not just lucky old me, everyone has a million and more worlds of their own to explore, so why settle for only those that convention says you should? All the authorities, they just stand around and boast, mostly about their latest take on it all. What do YOU want to do - listen for yourself or settle for the weighty pronouncements of Michael Gray, Andrew Muir, John Gibbens, Robin Whitting, Uncle Tom Cobbleigh? Only the last is real, the rest are constructs.  Be warned! Someone else’s answers, whether right, wrong, or whatever (this last is an enormous category) may cost ya, especially if you buy the special limited edition hardback – always expensive but signed by someone who claims to know what you don’t!!! You’re OK about that, are you? 

Alright. This is all too much of nothing. Which is what Freewheelin’ costs. Though be warned! Sometimes what appears to be for free comes at a price.  In the days before the flood, only those with disposable income or with incredible ‘hacking’ skills (which, you have to wonder, could surely be more profitably put to use, for example by redistributing the accounts of the trans-nationals to aid agencies) could access the wonders (or, in my case, blunders) of the Freewheelin’ site.  Now EVERYONE can pass through the portals. Unless some collective consciousness kicks in (or we haven’t supplied an email address), this raises the distinct possibility that some of you out there may be moved to write in and others to reply. Assertion is followed by counter-assertion, query by theory, fact by rebuttal, and too much curry by indigestion.  Sometimes words are hard to swallow, but are always easy to regurgitate. It’s pretty much the formula that the ‘zine ?JudaS! (which is the name that it goes under over here) uses… Put on a CD! Better still, put on LOTS of them. 

But it’s a broad church, so the Tarot can share a pew with the Bible; surrealism can banter with social conscience; imagery can accommodate idolatry. Sometimes there ain’t much in the great collection plate except proof positive that Dylan wrote ‘Catch the Wind’, but  if ya can’t find a self-ordained someone in a Church, where can you look? No, I don’t know what it means, at least not at the moment. Maybe I need to buy a book. 

Damn! Out of space. More apologies for missing last month, though in one sense I didn’t, as WWIYW is always weakly. BOOM! BOOM!


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