Dylan.

Thursday, 30 April 2009 23:05
apolla: (Percy)
I saw Dylan on Sunday. Got up ridiculously early on a Sunday morning to pick up tickets, went home and had lunch, sat for awhile watching movies and then thought 'fuck it, just go get in the queue'. I was stood in that queue for five fucking hours. On my own, but for the Irishmen that got in the queue behind me who were very nice but proper Bobcats. One of them had come to England for ALL the Dylan shows, and has seen the old man over 300 times since something like 1995. That's a level of obsession I can't relate to, man.

Anyway, the wait in the sunshine paid off and I was at the front except for one woman even shorter than me and with an excellent view of the Old Man at the keyboard.

However, the gig wasn't lifechanging or beyond brilliant. It was just a Dylan show, the kind where I think one leaves thinking "well, he has some really bad shows so..." I mean, it was great and he played songs from Love and Theft and Modern Times which I love but... as contrary and curmudgeonly as we all know the old bastard is, it would've been nice for him to acknowledge the seeming specialness of the show.

Then again, I suppose it was 'just another show' to him. I'd love to get inside his mind. It must be really fucking weird to be him, you know.

Dylan.

Thursday, 30 April 2009 23:05
apolla: (Percy)
I saw Dylan on Sunday. Got up ridiculously early on a Sunday morning to pick up tickets, went home and had lunch, sat for awhile watching movies and then thought 'fuck it, just go get in the queue'. I was stood in that queue for five fucking hours. On my own, but for the Irishmen that got in the queue behind me who were very nice but proper Bobcats. One of them had come to England for ALL the Dylan shows, and has seen the old man over 300 times since something like 1995. That's a level of obsession I can't relate to, man.

Anyway, the wait in the sunshine paid off and I was at the front except for one woman even shorter than me and with an excellent view of the Old Man at the keyboard.

However, the gig wasn't lifechanging or beyond brilliant. It was just a Dylan show, the kind where I think one leaves thinking "well, he has some really bad shows so..." I mean, it was great and he played songs from Love and Theft and Modern Times which I love but... as contrary and curmudgeonly as we all know the old bastard is, it would've been nice for him to acknowledge the seeming specialness of the show.

Then again, I suppose it was 'just another show' to him. I'd love to get inside his mind. It must be really fucking weird to be him, you know.

apolla: (George and Arthur)
So, one of the get-back-to-sanity methods I've used this time is Bill Hicks.

I first discovered Bill through my little brother, who sat me down in front of Revelations a few years back, then there was a documentary on Radio 2 which I listened to at work the other day. Ordered the DVDs on Monday, they arrived on Wednesday and since then...

It's a bit like the first time I discovered Jim Morrison (insofar as I can remember those strange, long-ago days). It's a lot like the first time I saw V For Vendetta. There's not many things that actually make me really really think about the world, but Bill Hicks is one of them. For that, I hope Bill knows, sees and is glad.

Like many things, it's something I needed to get to at the right time. I saw Revelations years ago, and although I really liked it, it didn't hit the same thought-chord as it does now. Perhaps I needed The Daily Show, The Colbert Report to show me that satire in America now is good, but not great... to point me towards Bill from the right context. I also needed Cook & Moore and their Derek & Clive, the British satire boom, to put it all into context.

Most of all, I needed to see comedy like Bill in the context of finding it funny but not necessarily laughing out loud. Besides, after Derek & Clive, nothing Goatboy says can possibly turn my stomach - after the i-watched-the-coverage-of-the-dead-pope-and-i-got-the-horn bit, everything seems rather tame.

There's not much that I could say about Bill Hicks that hasn't already been said, and probably better said. All I can say is that I've sat here nodding, smiling and laughing since Wednesday. This is a man who, like Dave Allen, told life as it was. He was a man of great humanity, no matter how vitriolic his shows might seem (mostly to those who disagree with him).

Isn't it great to have a comic stand there for an hour and a half pointing out all our faults and flaws, and the evil in the world... who then ends by saying "hey man, let's take all the money we spend on war and instead use it to feed the world and explore space!" That's the kind of program I can get with.

Besides, the man was cynical, barbed and loved rock music. He's me, only funnier. Maybe if I drank, smoked and 'shroomed, I'd be Bill Hicks. He spoke of the people who came to us and said "it's only a ride" and were killed for it... and then became one of them. Listen to him, man, because the man, he makes sense.

Mostly, I found myself sat here thinking "God, I wish Bill was here to talk to us about now." The great irony of this statement is that you can watch him, in Revelations particularly and none of it is out of date. Hell, most of the fucking names are still the same! All  you do is swap Quayle for Cheney, Major for Blair/Brown and... oh me my!

*

As part of my rehabilitation to re-enter the world of humans, I went to the National Gallery & The National Portrait Gallery this afternoon. I could've sat at home watching shite old movies (or Bill Hicks), but I forced myself to clothe myself and travel over to Trafalgar Square.

I like very old paintings of myths and religious episodes and I like portraits, so it's my kind of bag.

Of course, it made me feel better. There's not much better than having Dylan piped into your ears and surrounding yourself with some of the most wondrous works of beauty and art in the world. Stood in front of St Catherine and the Madonna of the Pinks by Raphael, or the Virgin Mary by Sassoferrato, or the Da Vinci cartoon, or the rest of it, it's easy to believe in the ability of humans to create great beauty instead of just destroying it.

At times like those, I allow my cynicism to melt away just a little, and allow myself to believe that actually, humanity might not be totally doomed. Were I rich enough, I would travel around the world to seek out the works of Raphael - no print in a book or online compares to the experience of actually seeing a painting close enough to see the brushstrokes.

Of course, seeing those paintings, I now yearn and wish for Florence. I can't win.

*

I have excellent friends, by the way. I have no idea why they put up with me, but I'm very glad they do. If I feel better, it's because of them first, Bill Hicks a distant second and Raphael thirdmost.

I suppose that the way to tell a true friend is the same as a true love- you can show your worst, your very worst qualities to them and they will still look you in the eye and care about you, love you.

I get the feeling you know, that in Friends, they all rather go their own ways after the end, no longer kept together by easy geography. I live no closer than 80 miles to my very very best friends, and it doesn't matter. I just need to scuffing remember that.

*

In other news, the Dylan movie, I'm Not There, in which like, seven people play The Bob, looks like it's either going to suck big time or rock big time. Being cynical and having seen the trailer, I'm going with the first. With someone like Dylan, I can't imagine who'd rather watch other people pretending to be him when you can watch the man himself in things like Don't Look Back.
apolla: (George and Arthur)
So, one of the get-back-to-sanity methods I've used this time is Bill Hicks.

I first discovered Bill through my little brother, who sat me down in front of Revelations a few years back, then there was a documentary on Radio 2 which I listened to at work the other day. Ordered the DVDs on Monday, they arrived on Wednesday and since then...

It's a bit like the first time I discovered Jim Morrison (insofar as I can remember those strange, long-ago days). It's a lot like the first time I saw V For Vendetta. There's not many things that actually make me really really think about the world, but Bill Hicks is one of them. For that, I hope Bill knows, sees and is glad.

Like many things, it's something I needed to get to at the right time. I saw Revelations years ago, and although I really liked it, it didn't hit the same thought-chord as it does now. Perhaps I needed The Daily Show, The Colbert Report to show me that satire in America now is good, but not great... to point me towards Bill from the right context. I also needed Cook & Moore and their Derek & Clive, the British satire boom, to put it all into context.

Most of all, I needed to see comedy like Bill in the context of finding it funny but not necessarily laughing out loud. Besides, after Derek & Clive, nothing Goatboy says can possibly turn my stomach - after the i-watched-the-coverage-of-the-dead-pope-and-i-got-the-horn bit, everything seems rather tame.

There's not much that I could say about Bill Hicks that hasn't already been said, and probably better said. All I can say is that I've sat here nodding, smiling and laughing since Wednesday. This is a man who, like Dave Allen, told life as it was. He was a man of great humanity, no matter how vitriolic his shows might seem (mostly to those who disagree with him).

Isn't it great to have a comic stand there for an hour and a half pointing out all our faults and flaws, and the evil in the world... who then ends by saying "hey man, let's take all the money we spend on war and instead use it to feed the world and explore space!" That's the kind of program I can get with.

Besides, the man was cynical, barbed and loved rock music. He's me, only funnier. Maybe if I drank, smoked and 'shroomed, I'd be Bill Hicks. He spoke of the people who came to us and said "it's only a ride" and were killed for it... and then became one of them. Listen to him, man, because the man, he makes sense.

Mostly, I found myself sat here thinking "God, I wish Bill was here to talk to us about now." The great irony of this statement is that you can watch him, in Revelations particularly and none of it is out of date. Hell, most of the fucking names are still the same! All  you do is swap Quayle for Cheney, Major for Blair/Brown and... oh me my!

*

As part of my rehabilitation to re-enter the world of humans, I went to the National Gallery & The National Portrait Gallery this afternoon. I could've sat at home watching shite old movies (or Bill Hicks), but I forced myself to clothe myself and travel over to Trafalgar Square.

I like very old paintings of myths and religious episodes and I like portraits, so it's my kind of bag.

Of course, it made me feel better. There's not much better than having Dylan piped into your ears and surrounding yourself with some of the most wondrous works of beauty and art in the world. Stood in front of St Catherine and the Madonna of the Pinks by Raphael, or the Virgin Mary by Sassoferrato, or the Da Vinci cartoon, or the rest of it, it's easy to believe in the ability of humans to create great beauty instead of just destroying it.

At times like those, I allow my cynicism to melt away just a little, and allow myself to believe that actually, humanity might not be totally doomed. Were I rich enough, I would travel around the world to seek out the works of Raphael - no print in a book or online compares to the experience of actually seeing a painting close enough to see the brushstrokes.

Of course, seeing those paintings, I now yearn and wish for Florence. I can't win.

*

I have excellent friends, by the way. I have no idea why they put up with me, but I'm very glad they do. If I feel better, it's because of them first, Bill Hicks a distant second and Raphael thirdmost.

I suppose that the way to tell a true friend is the same as a true love- you can show your worst, your very worst qualities to them and they will still look you in the eye and care about you, love you.

I get the feeling you know, that in Friends, they all rather go their own ways after the end, no longer kept together by easy geography. I live no closer than 80 miles to my very very best friends, and it doesn't matter. I just need to scuffing remember that.

*

In other news, the Dylan movie, I'm Not There, in which like, seven people play The Bob, looks like it's either going to suck big time or rock big time. Being cynical and having seen the trailer, I'm going with the first. With someone like Dylan, I can't imagine who'd rather watch other people pretending to be him when you can watch the man himself in things like Don't Look Back.
apolla: (Default)
I first became aware of the Traveling Wilburys when I first fell into the black hole I like to call Life, After The Beatles. It was a dimly-understood idea - bunch of very famous people (and Jeff Lynne) have a laugh, sell scads of records. Of course, I knew very little beyond that because the records were long-deleted by the time I went to find them.

I tracked Handle With Care and End of the Line down thanks to the wonders of the internet - a decent argument for filesharing, I thought. I remember I saw the video for End of the Line so late one night it was actually 5.55am, and it was the last song Vh1 Classic played before switching from late-nite rock to all-day-slightly-crap-old-pop. I seem to remember shedding a tear when the Big O's bit came up and the train upon which the video was set went 'into a tunnel'. No, I'm positive I cried - and this was in the days before George went and died himself.

Then, I let them fade a little from my consciousness. I listened to Handle With Care, End of the Line and even Tweeter & The Monkey Man a fair bit after George died, but because I knew I couldn't get the records, it was a bit 'whatever'... and I got to a point where listening to George just made me want to stab myself in the head.

Then last year, I finally got over the grief of losing a hero (mostly) and spent the next few months listening to little but George. I thought of the Wilburys also, wondering if I could get anything more - Wilbury Twist was the last song I took off the internet that I didn't pay for, but the quality was shite, so I barely listened to it. Besides, I got 'Wig Wam Bam' by the Sweet the same day and I have an affection for that record it doesn't deserve.

Then the last few months I've had myself a bit of a Dylan revival thanks to Modern Times, which is an excellent record and I like his catarrhal death rattle voice that he has now more than the old nasal whine. More Wilbury build up, you might say.

Anyway, some bright spark finally thought "Hey! Let's repackage the Wilburys!" and did it last month. I saw none of the promotional stuff - even the Olivia Harrison bit on BBC Breakfast had to be missed because I had to go to work. I didn't buy it the day it came out, or the week it came out. In fact, it only arrived last week after I bought it off Amazon.

This is not because I don't care. It's because I haven't had anything in the way of time for so long... and a little because I was concerned I might not like the records as a whole.

My overdramatic 'If This Sucks I'll Kill Myself' attitude was of course, entirely pointless. The mere idea of such a collection of people putting themselves in a room with some guitars and managing to suck is barely conceivable, and it doesn't.

In fact, The Traveling Wilburys are so magnificent in their excellence that I have been in a good mood since last Monday. Nay, a friendly, love-the-world-and-all-its-people-except-cyclists manner. In a bouncing up and down, euphoric way.

The trivial stuff: The first record (Vol. 1) is better than the second (amusing titled Vol. 3), but Vol 3 only suffers because Roy isn't on it.

I listened to it when I was in Dublin over the weekend, and found myself even missing them when I was in a room with the Dubliners.

I have found myself contemplating the possibility that actually, Tom Petty is a pretty cool man.

I have found myself realising more and more that not only is Bob Dylan a genuine, full-bodied, wonderful genius of a man, truly a poet... but that he's also got a really cool sense of humour. Sure, he's a dour-faced Chaplin-alike these days, but I tell thee, the man knows how to laugh.

I have found myself realising that George skirted the line between absolutely-no-ego-at-all and raging-egomaniac as delicately as I do... but on a much larger scale, because he's a Beatle and I'm... not.

I have remembered how much I like Roy Orbison.

I mean, the Wilburys are, like, life-affirming. More than that... it's somehow the final, great death cry of rock and roll, before the corporate shite really took over, before concert tickets required mortgages, before every celebrity spoke only in soundbites, meedja-ese and the Heat magazine-induced ritual humiliation and idolisation of celebrities.

You would not get the Wilburys today. You get 'supergroups' and things like Live 8 and Live Earth ,but you would not get the Wilburys today... because I believe George when he said it all happened "just by magic, just by circumstance." I believe that he was such good friends with each of these people that four legends (and Jeff Lynne) were willing to sit down, record some music for a bit of a laugh and sound better than every single other group doing it straight.

I love, truly love, love knowing that George Harrison was mates with Jeff Lynne and Roy Orbison and Tom Petty and the far-famed Dylan... and that it was genuine friendship that created the Wilburys. So, there's a fraction of promotion and such, but... you could not put this together if you actually tried.

And if you did, it would sound as sterile and mediocre as the most recent Band Aid. And the second one, come to that. Possibly also the first...

The Wilburys are organic and therefore real. Believe me when I say that it shows in the music. It's all there, if you'll only listen- the way George actually auditioned them all for each line... can you imagine auditioning for something after Roy Orbison? Why BOTHER? Except that George didn't just get Roy to do everything, he gave bits to everyone, and it works because of it. It works because there's something of their personalities (as I understand them, anyway), sewn into the fabric of the music.

There's always the beautiful image of these guys sitting around playing guitars and ukuleles late into the night as all the civilians around them fall away... surely they must've looked round and thought "fucking hell, that's *insert name here*!". Even George, you know, must've sat there and thought "bloody hell, we're fucking excellent!"

To have been a fly on that wall I'd sell a kidney. To be good enough to be a Wilbury, I'd sell more or less anything. I might just about stop before flogging my soul, but I wouldn't bet the house on that.

The Traveling Wilburys is like a dream I had... except that somehow, it actually happened. With the Wilburys, who needs to be sad or depressed? The Wilburys prove that sometimes, magical things happen. The Wilburys remind me why it is that it's music which gets me out of bed in the morning, why it's music that's kept me alive these long and often cold, dark years.

*

Notes on The Big O:

I remember Roy Orbison from before I remember George or Bob, and there's a good reason for that: my dad doesn't hate him. When I was a child, a lot of the music I heard that was any good was stuff he listened to, so I knew Roy. I remember when he died, just as that wonderful career resurgence (part-Wilbury induced, I'm sure) was really kicking in. I remember being sad, even then. I also remember my dad always telling me to watch him, and see how little he opened his mouth and moved his lips... and yet out came that sound.

Roy Orbison has one of the very few voices that makes me think of giving up. He cannot be equalled, and it feels fruitless to sing myself at all. I do it anyway, in the hope that one day, I might come close... and so I sing along and I do OK... then comes a note or a phrase that I probably couldn't match even if I cheated on the computer... just to remind me that he's The Big O, and I'm just a silly little girl.

Isn't it funny how some of the saddest songs written in the English language sound, in his capable hands can make you feel better? We really lost a great guy too early (don't we usually?), but you should all get down on your knees and pray to whoever/whatever you believe in that, for a few years at the end, he got the upswing, adulation and plaudits he deserved. For it, I also thank George. God mostly, but George quite a lot too. Mind you, while you're down there on your knees, say a 'ta very much' for your man George too. I shall do so myself, as I do every day.

*

Quirky note I found on Wikipedia: some of the overdubbing on the previously unreleased tracks is credited to someone called Ayrton Wilbury. The civilian name of this fellow? Dhani Harrison. If you know why this is cool, I don't need to explain. If you don't, you don't care.
apolla: (Default)
I first became aware of the Traveling Wilburys when I first fell into the black hole I like to call Life, After The Beatles. It was a dimly-understood idea - bunch of very famous people (and Jeff Lynne) have a laugh, sell scads of records. Of course, I knew very little beyond that because the records were long-deleted by the time I went to find them.

I tracked Handle With Care and End of the Line down thanks to the wonders of the internet - a decent argument for filesharing, I thought. I remember I saw the video for End of the Line so late one night it was actually 5.55am, and it was the last song Vh1 Classic played before switching from late-nite rock to all-day-slightly-crap-old-pop. I seem to remember shedding a tear when the Big O's bit came up and the train upon which the video was set went 'into a tunnel'. No, I'm positive I cried - and this was in the days before George went and died himself.

Then, I let them fade a little from my consciousness. I listened to Handle With Care, End of the Line and even Tweeter & The Monkey Man a fair bit after George died, but because I knew I couldn't get the records, it was a bit 'whatever'... and I got to a point where listening to George just made me want to stab myself in the head.

Then last year, I finally got over the grief of losing a hero (mostly) and spent the next few months listening to little but George. I thought of the Wilburys also, wondering if I could get anything more - Wilbury Twist was the last song I took off the internet that I didn't pay for, but the quality was shite, so I barely listened to it. Besides, I got 'Wig Wam Bam' by the Sweet the same day and I have an affection for that record it doesn't deserve.

Then the last few months I've had myself a bit of a Dylan revival thanks to Modern Times, which is an excellent record and I like his catarrhal death rattle voice that he has now more than the old nasal whine. More Wilbury build up, you might say.

Anyway, some bright spark finally thought "Hey! Let's repackage the Wilburys!" and did it last month. I saw none of the promotional stuff - even the Olivia Harrison bit on BBC Breakfast had to be missed because I had to go to work. I didn't buy it the day it came out, or the week it came out. In fact, it only arrived last week after I bought it off Amazon.

This is not because I don't care. It's because I haven't had anything in the way of time for so long... and a little because I was concerned I might not like the records as a whole.

My overdramatic 'If This Sucks I'll Kill Myself' attitude was of course, entirely pointless. The mere idea of such a collection of people putting themselves in a room with some guitars and managing to suck is barely conceivable, and it doesn't.

In fact, The Traveling Wilburys are so magnificent in their excellence that I have been in a good mood since last Monday. Nay, a friendly, love-the-world-and-all-its-people-except-cyclists manner. In a bouncing up and down, euphoric way.

The trivial stuff: The first record (Vol. 1) is better than the second (amusing titled Vol. 3), but Vol 3 only suffers because Roy isn't on it.

I listened to it when I was in Dublin over the weekend, and found myself even missing them when I was in a room with the Dubliners.

I have found myself contemplating the possibility that actually, Tom Petty is a pretty cool man.

I have found myself realising more and more that not only is Bob Dylan a genuine, full-bodied, wonderful genius of a man, truly a poet... but that he's also got a really cool sense of humour. Sure, he's a dour-faced Chaplin-alike these days, but I tell thee, the man knows how to laugh.

I have found myself realising that George skirted the line between absolutely-no-ego-at-all and raging-egomaniac as delicately as I do... but on a much larger scale, because he's a Beatle and I'm... not.

I have remembered how much I like Roy Orbison.

I mean, the Wilburys are, like, life-affirming. More than that... it's somehow the final, great death cry of rock and roll, before the corporate shite really took over, before concert tickets required mortgages, before every celebrity spoke only in soundbites, meedja-ese and the Heat magazine-induced ritual humiliation and idolisation of celebrities.

You would not get the Wilburys today. You get 'supergroups' and things like Live 8 and Live Earth ,but you would not get the Wilburys today... because I believe George when he said it all happened "just by magic, just by circumstance." I believe that he was such good friends with each of these people that four legends (and Jeff Lynne) were willing to sit down, record some music for a bit of a laugh and sound better than every single other group doing it straight.

I love, truly love, love knowing that George Harrison was mates with Jeff Lynne and Roy Orbison and Tom Petty and the far-famed Dylan... and that it was genuine friendship that created the Wilburys. So, there's a fraction of promotion and such, but... you could not put this together if you actually tried.

And if you did, it would sound as sterile and mediocre as the most recent Band Aid. And the second one, come to that. Possibly also the first...

The Wilburys are organic and therefore real. Believe me when I say that it shows in the music. It's all there, if you'll only listen- the way George actually auditioned them all for each line... can you imagine auditioning for something after Roy Orbison? Why BOTHER? Except that George didn't just get Roy to do everything, he gave bits to everyone, and it works because of it. It works because there's something of their personalities (as I understand them, anyway), sewn into the fabric of the music.

There's always the beautiful image of these guys sitting around playing guitars and ukuleles late into the night as all the civilians around them fall away... surely they must've looked round and thought "fucking hell, that's *insert name here*!". Even George, you know, must've sat there and thought "bloody hell, we're fucking excellent!"

To have been a fly on that wall I'd sell a kidney. To be good enough to be a Wilbury, I'd sell more or less anything. I might just about stop before flogging my soul, but I wouldn't bet the house on that.

The Traveling Wilburys is like a dream I had... except that somehow, it actually happened. With the Wilburys, who needs to be sad or depressed? The Wilburys prove that sometimes, magical things happen. The Wilburys remind me why it is that it's music which gets me out of bed in the morning, why it's music that's kept me alive these long and often cold, dark years.

*

Notes on The Big O:

I remember Roy Orbison from before I remember George or Bob, and there's a good reason for that: my dad doesn't hate him. When I was a child, a lot of the music I heard that was any good was stuff he listened to, so I knew Roy. I remember when he died, just as that wonderful career resurgence (part-Wilbury induced, I'm sure) was really kicking in. I remember being sad, even then. I also remember my dad always telling me to watch him, and see how little he opened his mouth and moved his lips... and yet out came that sound.

Roy Orbison has one of the very few voices that makes me think of giving up. He cannot be equalled, and it feels fruitless to sing myself at all. I do it anyway, in the hope that one day, I might come close... and so I sing along and I do OK... then comes a note or a phrase that I probably couldn't match even if I cheated on the computer... just to remind me that he's The Big O, and I'm just a silly little girl.

Isn't it funny how some of the saddest songs written in the English language sound, in his capable hands can make you feel better? We really lost a great guy too early (don't we usually?), but you should all get down on your knees and pray to whoever/whatever you believe in that, for a few years at the end, he got the upswing, adulation and plaudits he deserved. For it, I also thank George. God mostly, but George quite a lot too. Mind you, while you're down there on your knees, say a 'ta very much' for your man George too. I shall do so myself, as I do every day.

*

Quirky note I found on Wikipedia: some of the overdubbing on the previously unreleased tracks is credited to someone called Ayrton Wilbury. The civilian name of this fellow? Dhani Harrison. If you know why this is cool, I don't need to explain. If you don't, you don't care.

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