Time, as a Bob once observed, is
an ocean. Quite what he meant by this when
he wrote it can at best be only an intelligent guess. Which rules me
out of the contest to come up with an explanation. I did briefly wonder
if he was trying to draw a parallel between every tick and every drop,
but decided that I was interested more in how the song feels than
what it might signify. Of course, now that a(nother) Bob is in the bath,
I have an opportunity to ask him about it, though whether he can
remember, or choose to remember, is another matter. So how would I know
it was the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? I guess I’d
have to decide that for myself. Or ask an expert. O bugger! The bloody
post has arrived. Best see what’s in the pile.
Jim. I’m really impressed by your ability to present Bob, his life, his
music and his impact in such an accessible and often hugely funny way.
It’s made me reconsider his art and what it means for me. This has saved
me a small fortune in books by learned men who use the pen to narrow
things down to their sad understanding. What bigger fools we are to
defer to them.
Blimey! It’s not often any child can ever claim to please a parent, so
even though I think she has me confused with someone else, it’s a letter
I’ll treasure. What’s next?
I write to
cancel my subscription to Freewheelin’ as I can no longer put up with
the idiot ramblings of the WWIYW columnist. He does very occasionally
make a telling point, but his tendency to treat everything Bob does as a
joke – or at least as much less important than things like pollution,
exploitation, tyranny and GM crops, undermines his arguments. I’m not
saying that preventing genocide in the Sudan is less important than
tracking the sources of material on the Fantasy acetate, but as the
entirely admirable (even when he tried to disconnect those cables) Pete
Seeger observed, “to every thing there is a season…”. Personally I
think that WWIYW stands for Why Waste Ink, You Wally!!!.
couldn’t agree more. Next.
LAUGH! I nearly drown in my tears. It’s nice to weep for something other
than humanity’s failings and the idea of Bob in the bath is FANTASTIC. I
bubbled with laughter at the load of old flannel you came up
with. There’s enough material for it to make in to a soap opera, so
PLEASE don’t pull the plug on it. There’s so much more to tap in to and
the only ones who won’t be amused are that utterly humourless shower who
devours every line for influence, meaning and argument. Mind you, it
deflects some of ‘em from bible study. And thanks for your recent
hospitality. I’d like to call again.
H’mm This may be a spoof, not that I mind, as it’s well
intentioned. Now what’s this?
Hello mate! Have you
seen Bob’s interview in the Sunday Telegraph? What a wind-up! The only
thing funnier than the idea of Bob going to West Point is Bob laying
that load of old hokum on us. Here’s the enigma himself, explaining why
he wrote the book:
"In part, I guess I
wanted to set the record straight. "I knew there had been other books
about me and I'd even read a couple of them - although frankly you
can't spend time reading books about yourself, no matter who you are.
Some of the books were more accurate than others but no one knew the
full story, apart from me. So I sat down and started tapping away on
my old manual typewriter. Initially the book was going to be about the
background to some of my albums but then it took on a life of its
What’s really funny is that when you go off on one of your tangents,
it’s at best received a mostly tolerant smile, though most folks
probably do the same as me and ignore most of it. Yet when Dylan
suddenly comes out all frank and open about Dylan Thomas, granny’s lost
leg, family life in the backwoods, his time as the two-gun kid, being a
club turn and whatever, it will sell in droves. Tell that John Stokes to
pay you whatever you ask, as the only way of coping with Bob’s flights
of fancy, is to plunge in to something even more surreal. PLEASE don’t
let Bob out of the bath – you can shower at my place. Ok, Clarence is
tootin’ his horn, so I gotta go – Patti says HI! And that she’ll call
Catch you soon, Brooce.
Now there’s a true pal. A real blue-collar guy whose
genuine modesty is exceeded only by his generosity. Why, he’s happily
helped out any number of good causes – and some lost ones, which is
where Bob and I probably come in. One more.
YOU’RE GOING TO BURN YOU SPAWN OF BEELZEBUB YOU. SATAN HAS COME AMONGST
US IN THE GUISE OF A MOTLEY FOOL, SOME SCRIBBLER WITH A SUCCUBUS FOR A
SOUL. THAT SHOULD OF COURSE BE ‘SOLE’, YOU HEEL YOU. IT’S NOT ENOUGH
THAT YOU RIDICULE THE SUPREME CREATOR, BUT YOU ALSO DO THE LORD GOD A
DISSERVICE. ONLY THAT ANTICHRIST FROM FREEHOLD THAT YOU SUMMON TO YOUR
PUTRID PAGES DESERVES ALL HE GETS. PS Can I have your autograph, as it
makes the chances of a successful exorcism that much greater. Jesus
teaches us to be merciful, so take comfort sinner. For verily, merrily,
I will pray for your salvation, then come and cast ye screaming in to
WOW! These are the kinds of letters I like. He certainly
says what he means, whoever the hell he is. Oh well, best to be prudent
and not book for anything too far ahead.
STOP! This sketch is
far too silly. Time for a reality check, impossible though that may
seem. Whatever I try to do to with the absurdity of it all, be it some
of Dylan’s own actions, or those amongst us who feel compelled, either
for monetary gain, ego, applause, or therapeutic need, to explain,
interpret, construct, deconstruct, reorder, repackage, remember
conveniently, or whatever, Bob outdoes it effortlessly. I really don’t
have a clue why he wants to unleash Chronicles, tour so
relentlessly (and to me, largely unrewardingly), participate in terrible
underwear commercials (the clothes, as well as the video) and allow his
name to be stuck on the side of some toxic brew, though maximising
revenue is a suspiciously common factor. But Bob, you really can’t take
it with you. Death, like the ocean, ends at the sure. I think I’ll nip
up and stick his head under the water for a bit. And mine.