BOB DYLAN AT LUCCA SUMMER FESTIVAL, ITALY – 1st JULY 2015
Same man – different mask. Bob Dylan – then and now.
Why does Bob Dylan still play live and why do people still pay good money to see him?
The second question is easier to answer than the first. It is something of a cliché to refer to an artist as a living legend but Dylan surely merits this label. It’s therefore only natural that many will flock to pay homage (and cash!) to a man whose vast body of work is second to none.
When he exploded onto the folk music scene in the 1960s, an adoring public would sit in rapt silence to hear the words of this poet come visionary. On his Song For Bob Dylan, David Bowie got it about right when he sang: “you sat behind a million pair of eyes and told them how they saw”.
Robert Zimmerman’s ‘protest’ songs articulated the mood of a nation and helped fuel movements opposed to the Vietnam War, institutionalised racism and the dearth of moral /political values that causes like these symbolized. Yet, Dylan has always diligently avoided aligning himself to political or religious movements, stubbornly following his own path. “Don’t follow leaders” he advised in Subterranean Homesick Blues and he has never set himself up as a spokesman for any generation. Think for yourself has always been his message. Continue reading
TWIN PEAKS : FIRE WALK WITH ME directed by David Lynch (USA, 1992)
If Dune is David Lynch’s prize turkey, Fire Walk With Me, follows as a close second. It is significant that neither are included in the ‘select filmography’ in ‘Catching The Big Fish’, Lynch’s collection of anecdotal reflections on meditation, consciousness and creativity published in 2006.
After two seasons of Twin Peaks on TV, the plug was unceremoniously pulled by the network in 1991 to leave a sense of unfinished business. But much as I loved the show, the recent announcement that a new Showtime miniseries with Lynch at the helm is in the pipeline fills me with more trepidation than excitement. 25 years on, it will be tough to replicate the subtlety and surreal humour that made the small screen version so compelling
Further cause for concern stems from the dire movie spin-off of Fire Walk With Me. The wayward plot focuses on the events leading up to the murder of Laura Palmer leaving a trail of loose ends in its wake.
The movie substitutes cheap horror and seedy sex for anything more considered. Overall, you are left with the distinct impression that it is little more than an elaborate cut and paste job of half-conceived ideas. A bizarre cameo by David Bowie is one of many sequences that serve little purpose. Continue reading
CLOTHES, CLOTHES, CLOTHES. MUSIC, MUSIC, MUSIC. BOYS, BOYS, BOYS by Viv Albertine (Faber & Faber, 2014)
I started this autobiography expecting a fun but frivolous account of the punk era. It is all that and more.
Viv Albertine was at the heart of the heady period in the late 1970s when the British establishment were running scared. The Slits were one of the many bands that were inspired by the so-called ‘filfth and fury’ of The Sex Pistols; four feisty females who were not about to let a lack of musical expertise hold them back.
Albertine was the guitarist in that band’s early years. I regret to say that I never did see them play live but I treasure the memory of first hearing them on a John Peel session – four tracks recorded in September 1977 that captured their ramshackle brilliance.
The book contains plenty of fascinating insights into the ordinary world that preceded and followed the extraordinary explosion of rebel yells. Continue reading