Getting the Nobel Prize for Literature, our all time folk and country blues author Bob Dylan comes to media focus again: something he probably hates the most about fame that has surrounded his art from the early days. Yet, he always had his funny ways of avoiding being the entertainment for the masses, and that might be the reason the masses followed him, as he has been and remained interesting throughout his entire fruitful career.
He sums it up perfectly in an 1986 interview which is a part of a BBC ‘Omnibus’ documentary called ‘Getting to Dylan‘ released in 1987:
‘I don’t play that game.
And you wouldn’t either if you were in my shoes.‘
Indeed, from early interviews it was obvious, almost tangible, how he hated the press – as if he were interrogated and was hence avoiding giving answers, concealing his intimacy behind jokes. Because that is what art is – intimacy, and intimacy is difficult to be kept within chains of fame.
‘People treat famous people all the same. Doesn’t matter what the person’s famous for: you could be famous for shooting a president or something, you know what I mean – you’re still famous, it puts your picture across on all the newspaper; you’re famous for something: maybe you’re a famous fashion designer, or famous movie star or famous Wall street executive but you’re still on your degree of fame. You know, you’re just famous and people… people react to famous people. So, if you talk to famous people (I guess I am one ’cause I have a certain degree, you know, variety of fame) everybody just kinda’ copes with it a different way, but nobody really seems to think it’s what they went after. A lot of people go after fame and money, but they are really after money, they don’t really want the fame, you know, ’cause the fame is… You know, to walk down the street and go somewhere and have people (sic), so, when you look through the window… say, you’re passing a little pub or a little inn and you look through a window and you see all the people eating and talking and carrying on… you can watch outside the window and you can see them all being very real with each other… As real as they’re gonna be, because when you walk into the room it’s over. You won’t see them being real anymore. (…) Me… and even when you’re in the room you’ll notice the things have changed. Things have changed just because the person who walks into the room who can be a focus point to everybody. I don’t know, maybe that’s got something to do with it, I really can’t say… I don’t really… I don’t pay any attention to it. (…) I just don’t.‘
In later interviews he claims it was all destined, all his art and fame that comes with it, and he provides an uncanny definition of ‘destiny’.
‘It’s a feeling you have that you know something about yourself that nobody else does, the picture you have in your mind on what you’re about will come true. It’s kinda’ thing you kinda’ have to keep to your own self because it’s a fragile feeling and if you put it out there somebody will kill it so… it’s best to keep it all inside.‘
… And he kinda’ did.
And, with all his despise for fame, let us not forget that back in 1962 when he was 20, in his first appearance on the Folksingers Choice radio show in an interview with Cynthia Gooding originally aired on WBAI FM in New York City, he innocently stated:
‘Oh, I’m never going to become rich and famous.‘
I’m so glad you were wrong with this one.