Saturday, 24 September 2005
constantly in a state of becoming
Dylan has been in my soundtrack for the last few weeks; when I recently stayed in SoHo I bought an album in Union Square and I just finished Bob Dylan's Chronicles autobiography. The UK media is ready to celebrate Dylan's portrait film by Martin Scorsese, and my co-incidental update prepares me for some interesting coverage.
No Direction Home is the Scorsese title including new rare footage. In the book, Dylan talks about the Gaslight Club, the areas around NYC's SoHo, Greenwich Village and West Village where he played and hung out and references Joan Baez, Dave Van Ronk and Allen Ginsberg.
I liked the beginning and end of his book a lot. The middle details Dylan's recording work in an enthusiast's way. The ends were more evocative, conveying the inner voice of Dylan. He makes good witness to his own life, candid and laconic.
There are some great book moments, like his description of his visit to Woody Guthrie's home, wading across a swamp, meeting a young Arlo Guthrie whilst trying to track down manuscripts of additional Guthrie songs. He ultimately returns empty handed. Fast forward to Billy Bragg and Wilco some 40 years later using those manuscripts for the Mermaid Avenue album. All of Dylan, Bragg and Wilco treating it as a pilgrimage.
Scorsese's film includes the famous performance from a militant Manchester Free Trade Hall, when a voice from the audience shouts "Judas!" Dylan leans into the microphone. "I don't believe you," he says and then after an electric pause - "You're a liar." As he blasts the Telecaster into "Rolling Stone" there is confusion, defiance and the start of another chapter.
Don't look back.
Tag: music, guitar, Bob Dylan