Forever Young: Happy Birthday Bob Dylan.

24 05 2012

 

“Something there is about you that moves with style and grace,
I was in a whirlwind, now I am in some better place.
My hand’s on the sabre and you’ve picked up on the baton,
Something there is about you that I can’t quite put my finger on.”

71 years ago, a hero was born. At the time he wasn’t a hero, but he fast became one. Bobby, you are everything and more to me. I know of a couple of fans of him, I know more who do not like them. Let it go, I let it go. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion- but don’t say you don’t like someone if you’ve never heard it. Better yet, don’t say you hate Bobby when you have never listened to Blonde On Blonde. I treat that record like I’d treat a kitten. With care and love. I listen with tenderness and caution.

As you know (or maybe you don’t) Bob Dylan was my mum’s obsession growing up. So, she passed that obsession onto me. For as long as I can remember his music was always played in the house. Being rocked to sleep in her arms as she sang Forever Young. Watching the video to Subterranean Homesick Blues and being told, “Watch him Liv. Just watch him.” And watch him I did. I was in awe of his posture, his waistcoat and his words. Everything about him turned my world upside down and back again. Sort of like when you fall for someone completely unaware. It’s a bitch, but it is also enjoyable. If it goes your way. Personally? It never does. It’s okay, I’ve got music. When I was at Uni and until I lived on my own until ate last year, I had section of my wall just dedicated to him. I’m not ashamed at all. As soon as I get myself sorted, it will be up once more!

For Morrissey, I had to do that silly open letter (I’m sorry if you read it) but for Bobby, I just want to let out what his music means to me. No letter, just..an expression of sorts.

Bobby taught me how to care for everything around me. The unfairness and the equality. Tread carefully, but use your tongue as wisely as possible. He taught me about sufferings past, present and those that were to come. There’s a handful of singers that made me aware of words. Not just how you write them down, but how you say them. I have always had a weakness for the Bobby pronounces his words. Certain words, all words- just everything Bobby stood for, I stood for too. Of course I am too young to have been aware of him from the start. But he was there since I was born. He’s always been a constant in my life. I really wouldn’t be as in love with poetry as I am if it wasn’t for Bobby. I used to read his lyrics as poems to truly feel and understand every single word. I still stand by Hurricane being one of the greatest things he has ever written. The songs about love and the ending of love always mean a lot to me. Don’t Think Twice (It’s Alright) is a song I can associate with one or two. It’s the perfect song to connect a fading love to.

Like A Rolling Stone was a song I played religiously it seemed towards the end of my time at University. That was an awful time. So, I did what any music obsessive would do- I had Like A Rolling Stone tattooed on the back of my neck. It was the second tattoo I had done, it was by no means my last. This song just made me feel less alone with not knowing what was going on. When he sings, “No direction home” I just feel as if it was written for me. That specific line. I’ve never really had a home, and I have never felt like I belonged anywhere. I guess it is why I get frustrated that I cannot settle. That line means more to me than most, I wouldn’t be surprised if I ever got that tattooed on me to be honest.

Bobby’s music was always used as a lullaby. I never had an issue with sleeping. The main problem I think was, I just fought it. I would be tired, but I’d stay awake and act as if I couldn’t sleep just so I could hear certain songs to help me sleep. Eventually, my mum caught on to what I was doing and just used to put me to bed with music playing anyway.

I don’t bang on about my political views at all (I’m not religious, but I believe everyone is entitled to their own views and shouldn’t be told they are wrong. HOWEVER, I hate racists and would like to see an end to certain political “parties.”) But Bobby made me socially aware, it of course became more dominant when I was at Uni. Don’t worry, I never went on a protest or anything because I wanted to be seen or to be a typical student. Far from it. Start your own movements, in your own way. I think speaking up to a person one on one when something is wrong is just as powerful (if not more) than chanting up and down a street. Again, that’s just how I see it and I’ll probably be told I am wrong. It’s cool, if it makes you feel better..crack on love.

Bobby is like that cup of tea on a really cold day. His words warm your soul. He soothes your insides. Like whiskey, he is an acquired taste. I fully understand that. Bobby fans are hard to find. We’re a gentle bunch, so be kind to us. We’ll be kind to you.

So many times I have heated conversations with my mum about the best Bob Dylan record. She never understood how much I loved Blonde On Blonde until a few years ago. I remember getting a text it read, “I fully get why you love it. It’s his best work x” I firmly believe it is. Thing is, I even love his Christmas records, and I hate Christmas songs. I do a good Bob Dylan impression, but I will only demonstrate if I feel comfortable with you. And as I don’t feel that too great around most, I rarely do it. I’m such a tease aren’t I. In the most non-sexy way possible.

I could never pick my favourite Bobby song. I have such love for I Want You,It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding), Maggie’s Farm, Positively 4th Street. There are hundreds more that I just adore. Positively 4th Street is the perfect, “Fuck you..I know what you’re like and I don’t want you around no more” kind of song. Bobby can make you fall in love and make you cut things out of your life all in one go.

Aged 71 years young today, he is still one of the most influential singers of all time. Some may still call him out as “Judas” others know that he is just easily the greatest. For me, he’s everything. Just everything. A saviour and a friend. His words mean more to me that I can put into words. The love I have for him goes beyond description. That’s when you know it is love, and how you know it is forever. No words are enough.


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