Bits and Bobs

by Paula Radice




Afraid this is going to be very disjointed this month: lots of little things to discuss, but nothing that ties together coherently! 

1.  I am now (officially) very old. 

Had my 40th birthday last week (I know a lady never reveals her age, but itís OK because Iíve never considered myself a lady. ďLadiesĒ, as far as Iím aware and as my mother frequently mentions, donít wear Bob Dylan t-shirts). I had a really great birthday at school, which involved, among other things, members of staff pretending that a large box delivered me in the staff room contained Mr. Dylan. Alas - it didnít, so my fantasy of Bob jumping out wearing nothing but a cheeky little number from Victoriaís Secret went unfulfilled. 

I am now going to embrace middle age with gusto by (a) becoming even more of an eccentric cat-owning single woman and (b) no longer hiding the fact that going to a garden centre on a Sunday is actually good fun. I still intend, however, behaving in a very juvenile fashion in Hibbing in August. 

2.  I am now (almost) a radio star. 

I know that there are those among the Freewheelin' membership - i.e. CP! - for whom TV and radio appearances are twice-daily and very humdrum activities, but I have just had my first-ever radio interview, for a Radio 4 programme coming out soon about "Like a Rolling Stone". I donít know who else has been approached; I certainly enjoyed it, though I was very nervous at the time. I also had a very heavy cold that week, so when the programme is aired I will be immediately noticeable as the contributor who sounds like the creature from the black lagoon. Moreover, I have very little memory of what I actually said, so it may all have been complete nonsense... 

3.  The books pile up... 

I have been trying not to buy many books in the last few months (because I've been saving up for the Great Minnesota Adventure), but I have now succumbed and bought in one fell swoop all the books Iíve missed recently. Iíll review the English-language ones next month (i.e. Al Aronowitz' Bob Dylan and the Beatles; David Boucher's Dylan & Cohen. Poets of Rock and Roll; and Glen Dundasí fantastic new labour of love, Tangled). Recent foreign-language publications include: Bob Dylan. En Vei Til Din DÝr by Kjell Ivar Sandvik(which is Norwegian) and the French Bob Dylan, …pitaphes 11 by Stťphane Koechlin. If youíre interested, the former is available from, and the latter from But youíre probably much more sensible than I am, and don't buy books in languages you can't actually read... 

4.  Six more weeks of school... 

Only half a term to go until the end of my two-year stint with my current class. I shall have very mixed feelings about letting them go, because itís been lovely being with them and seeing the progress theyíve made since the beginning of Year 3. And theyíve just done really well on their end-of-year tests, making me very proud of them. All of them can now recognise a photo of Bob Dylan from 50 paces (although as yet this skill doesnít feature in the national SATs tests) and they now know when to groan in unison at my jokes; important skills. 

5.  The Bob concerts 

I hope that everyone enjoys the concerts when Bob comes over. I'm not going to any this time round, partly because I canít (the ones which are mid-week) and partly because the ones I can get to I just donít want to go to (i.e. the Fleadh: I did go the last time round, ten years ago, and it put me off events of that scale for life. Standing in a field for ten hours with thousands of men who have been drinking Guinness all day isn't my idea of fun, surprisingly enough). I thought about it hard, and decided that it really wouldnít do to spoil the fantastic memories of the last three London shows: even if I could get to the arenas, I donít think I would this time. Shepherdsí Bush, Hammersmith and Brixton cast a formidable shadow! 

Be happy.