Over the years, many people whose opinions I respect have tried to convert me to the Dylan cause and Lord knows I've tried, but it just won't take. There are a number of individual songs I find perfectly tolerable; I can sit through Bringing It All Back Home or The Basement Tapes without chewing off my own tongue; Theme Time Radio Hour is a lark, even. Sometimes I'll read a Greil Marcus essay about how The Basement Tapes transformed human consciousness and I'll believe light is about to dawn; but in the end I'm stilling grub around in the dark for clues.
In last Friday's Independent, Andy Gill (a person whose opinions I certainly don't despise) listed "70 reasons why Bob Dylan is the most important figure in pop-culture history". A lot of these turn out to be restatements of the proposition rather than reasons for accepting it, and while No. 61 ("Because he created an entire industry of Dylanologist commentators and interpreters, way beyond the attention afforded any other songwriter or performer") is, I suppose, a reasonable supporting argument it makes me heavy with nausea.
But if you want a knock-down argument, take reason no. 60: "Because, if you turn the cover of John Wesley Harding upside-down and look at the bark of the tree, you'll see The Beatles (vinyl only) (drugs optional)." This sounds like one of those "I buried Paul"/"It's fun to smoke marijuana"-type myths, but further research suggests it may be true, and there is something odd going on at the top of that tree. Is the ability to have upside-down photographs of a well-known beat combo concealed on the covers of your records really a measure of cultural importance? If it is, I for one intend to give up on importance now: I will settle down in my rocking chair and dwindle out my days reading old paperback collections of Peanuts and listening to Val Doonican, as the light of poetry and imagination fades in the west. Please do not disturb this side of the Rapture.
The latest issue of GQ Style asks an interesting question:
In case you can't make it out, it's about halfway up on the left: "Robert Pattinson - Is he the Brando of his generation?"
There are two possible answers to this question. 1) "If you mean 'Is Robert Pattinson doomed to become a bloated, hysterical parody of his former self?', God yes, I hope so." 2) "No. You idiots."
Coincidentally, Pattinson - the sexually restrained vampire heart-throb of the Twilight films - is the same age, 24, that Brando was when he became famous playing Stanley Kowalski in the first production of A Streetcar Named Desire. Here's how Tennessee Williams' stage direction introduces Stanley:
Stanley throws the screen door of the kitchen open and comes in. He is of medium height, about five feet eight or nine, and strongly, compactly built. Animal joy in his being is implicit in all his movements and attitudes. Since earliest manhood the center of his life has been pleasure with women, the giving and taking of it, not with weak indulgence, dependently, but with the power and pride of a richly feathered male bird among hens. Branching out from this complete and satisfying centre are all the auxiliary channels of his life, such as his heartiness with men, his appreciation of rough humor, his love of good drink and food and games, his car, his radio, everything that is his, that bears his emblem of the gaudy seed-bearer.
Literally anybody could fill those boots better than Pattinson: me, you (it doesn't matter if you're a woman), my dog, Daniel Radcliffe. No, not Radcliffe, but you take my point.
Much comment has been aroused by this entry at the Internet Movie Database:
On the now overflowing Anne Sellors messageboards, a poignant comment has been left by toothpastelaser under the heading "anne sellors is my aunt STOP THE LIES!!":
Usually I dont post on IMDB with the many trolls perverts and indy film
makers but this is getting out of hand. Anne Sellors AKA woman who
urinates herself (just a CHARACTOR!!!) is my aunt and I cant bear to
see some of the posts from here and 4 chans that school freinds have
forwarded me on AIM. please STOP the following ridiculous rumors about
1, anne sellors is STILL ALIVE
2 - the role was to be titled differently or she would have chosen another I AM SURE
2a she does not urinate herself and never has, those pointing to
the fact the title is 'urinates' and not 'urinated' need to GROW UP!!
stop laying semantics
3/ NO she was not in anything else and esepcially NONE of the
others I have seen mentioned eg emaneulle 2000, death race remake, LOTR
deleted scene or vo for monkey island, those pictures are PHOTO SHOPS
Needles to say I havent mentioned any of this to her yet. I HOPE I
wont have to. Find someone else to talk about please. BTW Thanks guys
this has really lowered my opinnion of humanity nice job. The internet
needs to be regulated asap
Does the equation of trolls and perverts with indy film-makers suggest this is a deadpan gag, or is that just what people think about indy film-makers?
Albert Camus: "Every achievement is a servitude. It drives us to a higher achievement." (Notebooks, iv: 1942)
From an email sent by felixbadanimal to the Phonography group at Yahoo!:
sorry for the extremely random nature of this post... my Dad is a GP and just sent me this email:
I have a charming patient with chronic pain in his neck arms and shoulders with no releif from neurosurgery who has found that he gets extra-ordinary releif from the sound of screaming children. In the absence of progress with the pain clinics and the neurosurgeon he is keen to explore the "sound therapy" avenue further.
Pass me that child and that book of matches, there's a good fellow.
CausticCoverCritic's interview with the illustrator Andy Smith reminded me that I bought one of his handmade books years and years ago. I did mention to CCC the idea of sending him some scans, but it makes more sense just to post them here. Rather than overload your thrill-circuits with the whole thing, I thought I'd let the tension mount day by day. So there's the cover, and here's the opening spread:
Copyright Andy Smith, obviously: I hope he doesn't mind having his limited-edition genius shared with the world this way.