Saturday, January 19, 2008

Bob Dylan and me

While I was in Spain I finally got around to reading "Chronicles" by Bob Dylan. I had been putting off reading it, because for some reason I thought it was going to be a tedious "kiss and tell" type book. Well frankly I had lost faith in Bob Dylan many years ago. I grew up listening to Bob Dylan. In the early 80s this was uncool for many reasons. At the time the charts were full of Duran Duran. If I had been cool then, I would have been listening to some arty post punk music, but I wasn't. Dylan was viewed as a spent force. Although he had put the fantastic infidels album, after a period of born again Christian music (that I actually quite liked). I didn't like the other albums he released in the rest of the 80s and 90s. Over the holiday period there was an article in Guardian about various artists who were washed up, but still put albums out. The examples were Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney (who has been crap for over 30 years now). The author of the article used Dylan as an example of an artist who was washed up, but somehow managed to move back into the fore front of music/art. I wasn't convinced by this, much as a like his albums after "Time Out Of Mind". The book is really fantastic. It jumps between various periods of his life. There are some scenes when he is just starting out in New York. Also there are parts about when he was recording "Self Portrait" and "Oh Mercy", neither of which are great albums. The stories he tells about making the records are more interesting than the finished music. When he was making "self portrait" he was hounded by people and was missing a normal life. When he was working on "Oh Mercy" he was feeling washed up as an artist. It is so cleverly written. Of course I don't think you get to see the real Dylan. There is still a lot of smoke and mirrors around, but I would't have wanted it any other way. Hey Bob Dylan you are back for me.