Dylan cartoon Time Passes Quickly

by Chris Cooper


I fear that you may not be getting a great deal of sense from me over the next few months, as I make sense of the current mess that is my Hospital, I’m deep in campaigns and demos for the future of the place and frankly there isn’t a helluva lot of time for other things. Bobwise or otherwise really. 

It would be easy enough to say that this current drought on my part is also explained by a similar drought with our man, but really that isn’t too true I fear. It’s fair to say that Dylan’s recent shows, for me at least, leave a lot to be desired. The voice badly needs a break, as does the rest of him methinks.

However on October the 4th we got Volume One of “Chronicles” the first part of Mr. Dylan’s autobiography. I am not going to write any sort of detailed review, have no fear. I leave that to the more skilled members of our group who are doubtless at work on such things as I speak. I got the book on Monday and finished it on Wednesday. That’s very fast for me; I am now re-reading it, because I cannot believe our luck. 

For me at least it surpasses all hopes and expectations of what I expected, I have said before that I always felt Dylan was singing to me and me alone when I hear his albums. It is a talent no other artist has ever exhibited for me, and it has bound me to him all these long, long years.  It still does. I guess like most I was worried that he would remember little, and reveal less. Nothing could be further from the truth. The detail is panoramic. The truth is as sharp as a razors edge. If his songs got into my head then this book goes even further. You can feel like you are there, like it is happening now.  I knew he was a talented artist, and a superb poet. Now he shows us he is a writer, and for a man over 60 to reveal yet another facet of his talent to us is an astounding achievement.  If you don’t have one yet, get it. It is unquestionably the most important book so far released about Bob Dylan. I love it.

Now it sure has been a long time in getting here of course. Time as he says can move too fast, lately I feel the truth in that statement most profound. Seems like only yesterday that I was a fresh faced young man with hopes and aspirations.  Now here we are talking about retirement and pensions and stuff. Where did it go. 


“What was that ?”

                   “That was your life mate!”

It’s like that sometimes. And possibly that is why I found the 20th anniversary of our Cambridge meetings such a surprise. TWENTY YEARS!  How the hell did that happen? We’ve had many changes, many venues, and our latest one in fact has been in such upheaval that we were forced to hold the 20th in a larger and grander venue than usual in Cambridge. It looked like we would make quite a loss at this event, as our usual crowd is around 30 and in no way would that cover our overheads. I am not sure yet how things went financially but we certainly did well people wise with I would think more than 90 people there. It was a mighty fun day. If you have been to one of our “John Green Days” then you know the format well enough, as it was similar in a much smaller way. Plenty of video, Dylanesque to entertain us and the indefatigable Mr. Keith Agar to once again sew it all together.

I’m not sure if it was said on the night, but to the hardy panel that make up our “Committee”, Congratulations - John Stokes, John Nye and Keith Agar.

Hopefully soon I can be of greater practical value. But it was good, and it will continue. But God! Another 20 years?

Lots of Freewheelers were there, John and I, Mark Carter, with piles of FW articles, Richard Lewis, how you ever managed to concentrate on that audio playing with all those people around I will never know. Paula Radice, who stayed with Dizzy and I for the weekend and almost ran off with my cats. And all the many, friends from Cambridge.

Here are a few photos to show you that I ain’t lying.

Be at the next John Green Day, You really must

And thanks guys...

The Cambridge Gang of Four
John Nye, Keith Agar, John Stokes, Chris Cooper

Richard Lewis & Paula Radice

Bob’s Birthday Cake

[more pictures from the TCBDS 20th Anniversary celebration can be found here]

Till Next Time