Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The following article was first published on the website, "useless-knowledge" (see URL below).

Chronicles, Volume One, by Bob Dylan--Jon Aristides May 21, 2005.

Well, we have all heard so much about the great man from other sources: there were even stories about journalists going through his garbage in the hope of getting a story. Now at last the man who has been called "the voice of a generation" (much to his own discomfiture), speaks out for himself. So how does the "voice of a generation" sound, now that the generation he spoke to, are ready to start taking their pensions?

Dylan's prose voice is both more poetic and more mundane than one might have expected. It is difficult to call him "anti-intellectual" given his friendships with people like Archibald McLeish and Allen Ginsberg, but that is how he comes across much of the time. He openly admits that his grades at school were below average and the overall impression is of a man struggling to understand why so much hope and trust were invested in an "everyday Joe". The truth is, however, that Bob Dylan is sometimes more than a little disingenuous in these pages. Did he really not see how his early work like "Times They Are-A-Changin'" had set him up as the spokesman for the protest movement? The truth would seem to be that Dylan never did much believe in anything except himself and his own spiritual journey. In the early days, he used the protest movement as a ready made power pack to jump start his career. After he'd made his name, he wanted to move on and discard the people who had helped him---and was surprised to find that these same people believed he had betrayed them.

The voice in this volume is often similar to the image crunching voice of the songs: there is little analysis. We just have the Dylan perspective on everything from Marxism to Robert Johnson--and that is really quite a lot. This book definitively demonstrates that Dylan is not, nor never was, any great thinker. His skill is to wrap up common events and ordinary people's lives with dignity and a certain poetic majesty. Why should we ask for anything more?


*By the way, I'm beginning to enjoy this Blogging lark. I'd like to thank Ashish Gorde for opening my eyes to the medium's possibilities. He has his own well established Blog and Webpage which talk about contemporary social issues and give an enormous number of useful links. The addresses are:




Blogger pluto85 said...

anche questa รจ una composizione con pensieri profondi,27enne mio.................TI AMOOOOOO PAZZAMENTE
by tua 20enne ely

1:16 PM  
Blogger Jon Aristides said...

Grazie, cara.

11:13 AM  

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