The Cambridge Bob Dylan Society   Contact TCBDS: email John Nye  email John Stokes

TCBDS archive


In the Press - about The Cambridge Bob Dylan Society

TCBDS Organisers, March 2019TCBDS organisers [from left] John Nye,
John Stokes and Chris Cooper. Jim Johnson joined the organisers committee on 25 June 2021.
We need a new picture!

Click here to see the pdf of an article published in the Cambridge Evening News on

16 August 1989: "Superstar has superfan club".


Click here to see the pdf article about The Cambridge Bob Dylan Society published in the March 2005 edition of Our Time magazine, "Cambridgeshire's number one nostalgia magazine".


Click here for the pdf of the article about The Cambridge Bob Dylan Society published in the May 2005 edition of Cambridgeshire Life magazine: "Meet our Bob Dylan devotees".


TCBDS poster 129 TCBDS poster 104 TCBDS poster 111 TCBDS poster 120 TCBDS poster 136 TCBDS posters here



TCBDS Things Have Changed
Keith Agar, our luvvable MC, at Things Have Changed, the event organised by TCBDS to celebrate Bob Dylan's 70th birthday [see below].


2001: Dylan Books Exhibition - May/June 2001

  • To celebrate Bob Dylan's 60th birthday, an exhibition of Bob Dylan books was held at the Cambridge University Library during May and June 2001. Exhibition organiser was our own Allen Purvis. For pictures from the exhibition, click here.

2004: The Cambridge Bob Dylan Society's 20th Anniversary Celebration, Holiday Inn, Cambridge - 24 September 2004

  • For pictures from the event, click here.

2009: The Cambridge Bob Dylan Society's 25th Anniversary Celebration, Holiday Inn, Cambridge - 29 May 2009

  • To see a record-breaking rendition of Is Your Love In Vain, performed by all at the event, click here to see the video on YouTube.

  • For details of the event, click here.

  • For pictures from the event, click here.

  • To hear Keith Agar's interview on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire - Sue Dougan Show, Wednesday 27 May 2009, click here.

2011: Things Have Changed - The Cambridge Bob Dylan Society celebrates Bob Dylan at 70, Holiday Inn, Cambridge - 20 May 2011

  • The Cambridge Bob Dylan Society celebrated Bob Dylan's 70th birthday with a stirring rendition of Changing Of The Guards, click here to see the video on YouTube. [I don't know why they removed the audio - it wasn't that bad!]

  • Details of the event can be found here.

  • Pictures from the event can be found here.

  • To hear Keith Agar's interview on the Andy Burrows show on Radio Cambridgeshire, recorded on Dylan's birthday May 24, click here.



Johanna's Revenge


Johanna's Revenge was the title of a series of audio cassettes put together by John Nye and made available to members of The Cambridge Bob Dylan Society over a four year period from September 1990 to September 1994. Every meeting John would bring along another one. Advance Johanna's Revengewarning of its contents had been given in the Tight Connection newsletter he would compile and either mail out prior to each meeting or bring along with him. Some of the later JRs featured primarily live performances and were compiled by Chris Cooper.


The thinking behind the series was to make available hard-to-find Dylan rarities - studio outtakes and live performances - in the best possible quality. Cassettes generally available at that time at Record Fairs or in trade with other collectors were usually several generations down from their source, and often sounded like it. John had access to some top quality recordings and laboured long and hard over transferring these to cassette, using domestic equipment. Clearly a labour of love.


The first song on tape one and the last song on the last tape, tape 25, was Visions of Johanna [see pictures below], the song which inspired the title of the series. Many requests were made for a Johanna's Revenge mark 2, and indeed another series, called Series Of Dreams - with the first cassette having the memorable spine reference of SOD1 - was begun, but sadly didn't continue.


Click on pictures to make them larger


Johanna's Revenge 01   Tight Connection 01   Johanna's Revenge 25   Tight Connection 25
Johanna's Revenge 01   From Tight Connection 01   Johanna's Revenge 25   From Tight Connection 25


The Cambridge Bob Dylan Society - Stories In The Press

Below is the article (minus pictures) that appeared in The Cambridge Evening News on Saturday 20 May 2006.

 Pensioner Dylan is forever young

IN THE 60s, Bob Dylan was the voice of youthful protest, his songs soundtracking everything from the civil rights movement to a generation's outrage over Vietnam.

But even the voice of youth has to grow old some time and, this week, the man born Robert Allen Zimmerman on May 24, 1941 officially becomes a pensioner.

Not that he has any intention of settling down. Dylan has been on a "never-ending" tour since 1988, and plays his latest batch of live shows in the UK next month.
The Cambridge Bob Dylan SocietyClick for larger image

One fan who's already bought his ticket is John Nye, from Cambridge, who has seen Dylan more times than he can remember over the past 40 years.

"My first concert was the Albert Hall in '66, when I was 15," says John, now 55. "That was my musical awakening. I went home with my ears ringing, absolutely mesmerised."

That passion for Dylan never waned and, in 1984, John got together with friends John Stokes and Chris Cooper [and Chris Rolph (ed. by JN after publication)] to form The Cambridge Bob Dylan Society. Still going strong after 22 years, it is now the longest-running Dylan society in the country and regularly attracts between 50 and 80 members.

"We're a meeting place for Dylan fans," says John, who still runs the society with John and Chris, plus more recent recruit Keith Agar. "We fill a niche; Dylan's always been very secretive about himself and fans always wanted to get a little closer to him. They want to hear more about him and understand what he's up to and keep in touch with developments."

The society meets every two months at The Boathouse pub in Chesterton Road, Cambridge. Members swap Dylan anecdotes and opinions, watch rare video footage and, occasionally, welcome live Dylan tribute artists or authors who have written biographies of the great man.

"It's very informal - it's more like a friends' society, really," explains John. "Around 20 or 30 of the people have been coming along since the beginning, while others come and go.

"People come along to be entertained - Dylan described himself as a song and dance man years ago. He's there for entertainment, and so are we."

Sadly, the society has never had any contact with Dylan himself. "I don't think he even knows we exist," laughs John. "Dylan lives a very private life. He's not a great communicator."

Not in conversation, maybe. But through his music, Bob Dylan is one of the great communicators of the age.

"Dylan's big achievements are threefold - as a songwriter, vocalist and musician," says John. "As a vocalist, he tried to break the notion that a singer had to have a conventional good voice. He sings with a very natural voice, and that opened doors for other people to do the same.

"As a musician, he sparked several genres of music, including electrified folk rock and country rock. And as a songwriter he pioneered different schools of songwriting, from confessional singer-songwriting to the hallucinatory stream of consciousness type of songs. If it wasn't for him, you wouldn't have had Strawberry Fields Forever or a Whiter Shade of Pale or anything like that. He was a huge influence on The Beatles and his influence is still seen today, with bands like Coldplay and Oasis. He's still as relevant as ever."

As for turning 65, John doesn't think his hero will use the landmark birthday as an opportunity to look back.

"Dylan always looks to the future," he says. "He's still writing, still touring - and he's started presenting his own radio show. The famous documentary film about Dylan was called Don't Look Back, and he never does."

□The society meets on the last Friday of every other month at The Boathouse, Cambridge. The next meeting is on Friday from 8pm.


20 May 2006

First appeared in the Cambridge Evening News

Our first meeting was:       Poster 138
Click for larger image

Contact TCBDS: email John Nye
November 1984   Inaugural meeting, Jesus College [founders/organisers: John Nye, Chris Rolph, John Stokes, Chris Cooper]  
February 1985   Regular meetings started, Jesus College  
We then moved to:      
May 1985 Christ's College [during our time at Christ's College we also held one meeting at Hand and Heart, Peterborough, March 1986]  
October 1986   Corpus Christi  
1987   The Royal Standard, Mill Road, Cambridge [Keith Agar joins the organisers around this time, replacing Chris Rolph]  
September 1990   The Portland Arms, Chesterton Road, Cambridge [during our time at The Portland Arms, as well as holding our regular video-based evenings, we also held several audio/chat evenings]  
November 1997   The Golden Hind, Milton Road, Cambridge  
May 2004   The Rope and Twine, Pound Hill, Cambridge [renamed The Sino Tap, also known as The Punter] [during our time at The Rope and Twine we also staged the TCBDS 20th Anniversary, Holiday Inn, September 2004]  
January 2006   The Boathouse, Chesterton Road, Cambridge  
September 2006   The Unicorn, Church Lane, Trumpington, Cambridge  
July 2007   The Red Lion, High Street, Grantchester, Cambridge [during our time at The Red Lion we also staged the TCBDS 25th Anniversary, Holiday Inn, May 2009; the TCBDS "Things Have Changed" Dylan 70th birthday celebration, Holiday Inn, May 2011 and first Bobchat meeting at The County Arms, 20 November 2012]  
January 2013   The Red Bull, Barton Road, Newnham, Cambridge [for Bobchat meetings] [Allen Purvis joins the organisers around this time]  
February 2013   The Boathouse, Chesterton Road, Cambridge [for video meetings] [last meeting at The Boathouse: 7 March 2014]
30 January 2020   Our last Bobchat meeting at The Red Bull prior to the Coronavirus pandemic and subsequent Government lockdown measures, which included the closure of all pubs throughout the UK. Organisers are now John Nye, John Stokes and Chris Cooper. Allen Purvis left in December 2018.
7 May 2020 We held our first ZOOM online Bobchat meeting, hosted by John Nye from his home in Cambridge. By the time of ZOOM Bobchat meeting number three, we had participants in from the UK, the US, Ireland, Saudi Arabia, Sweden and Australia - truly international! The meetings were started because of Government restrictions on visiting pubs due to the Coronavirus pandemic
25 June 2021   Jim Johnson joins the organising committee of The Cambridge Bob Dylan Society
Present day   Still no meetings at The Red Bull. ZOOM online Bobchat meetings are held the first Thursday of every month