Bob Dylan: Only a Song and Dance Man

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.

 

 

Love Gina Wings

 

 

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Secret Love Two Centuries Away: Ludwig van Beethoven

 

It is July 6th and 7th, year 1812. Love letters, addressed to the Immortal Beloved were safely placed in a drawer, to be found, unsent, in the composer’s estate after his death.

 

immortal beloved

 

Love and longing are almost tangible in each word he puts down, and we all, familiar with love’s pains and sufferings, can relate to every single one…

“… why this deep grief, where necessity speaks – can our love exist but by sacrifices, by not demanding everything. Can you change it, that you are not completely mine, that I am not completely yours?”

And, as always in love, there is hope that keeps the love alive. With every word the object of his affection is less distant and more real…

“We will probably see each other soon, only, today I cannot convey to you my observations which I made during these few days about my life – If our hearts were always close together, I would have no such thoughts. my heart is full with so much to tell you – Oh – There are moments when I feel that language is nothing at all.”

But maybe the most loving, sincere words filled with longing and desire are kept in letter written the day after…

 

immortal beloved

 

“Good morning, on 7th July.
While still in bed my thoughts turn towards you my Immortal Beloved, now and then happy, then sad again, waiting whether fate might answer us – I can only live either wholly with you or not at all, yes I have resolved to stray about in the distance, until I can fly into your arms, and send my soul embraced by you into the realm of the Spirits – yes unfortunately it must be – you will compose yourself all the more since you know my faithfulness to you, never can another own my heart, never – never – O God why do I have to separate from someone whom I love so much, and yet my life in V[ienna] as it is now is a miserable life – Your love makes me at once most happy and most unhappy – at my age I would now need some conformity[,] regularity of my life – can this exist in our relationship? – Angel, I have just heard that the mail coach goes every day – and thus I must finish so that you may receive the letter immediately. – be patient – only through quiet contemplation of our existence can we achieve our purpose to live together – Be calm; for only by calmly considering our lives can we achieve our purpose of living together.- be calm – love me – today – yesterday – What yearning with tears for you – you – you my life – my everything – farewell – oh continue to love me – never misjudge the most faithful heart of your Beloved

L.

Forever thine

Forever mine

Forever us.”

 

immortal ever mine

 

Supposedly romantic as he was, Ludwig, despite many liaisons, was unable to form a lasting attachment to one woman, and had remained single his entire life. With this fact in mind, I cannot help but wonder whether such depth of feeling, and such yearning would be possible if it had not been aimed at a person unattainable?

Is unavailability the crucial ingredient of longing so deep and intense, as if knowing that the one we are longing for is available, but not to an extent we are hoping for?

 

Beethoven

 

We’ve come a long way from mail carriages and weekly delivery – with today’s technology the most beautiful love messages are deleted – rather than kept in a drawer. Stolen in uncertainty and born out of longing and yearning, they are as ephemeral as summer dew… with the first glimpse of Sun they are gone. Yet they remain the most precious and most sincere, and, probably, the most loving of them all. There is an uncanny force in longing that makes the objects of our passions more precious, more wanted, more desired. With each hour passing the desire increases.

 

But, a romantic soul in every one of us will know… this is how love longing sounds like…

 

Love Gina Wings

The Power of Music: Saturday Night Fever

On this day, December 14, 1977, Saturday Night Fever was released. It hit the blockbusters and has become one of the most influential movies of the time, propelling disco out of the underground and skyrocketing disco fever to bliss of stardom.

Based on an almost innocent article published in New York Magazine on June 7th, 1976, Saturday Night Fever is a dark tale of a dead-end kid who seeks glory on the dance floor. When John Travolta stepped out on streets of Brooklyn on rhythm of Bee Gees, he ushered a new era in pop culture and music. Stayin’ Alive had become the sound of the times and a story of life in urban jungle: it sets the atmosphere of the movie and talks about the hardships of being a kid growing in urban New York. It is not just about getting dressed, getting high and getting sex, it is about survival.

Before the movie release, disco was a New York City phenomenon: underground, black, gay, and never before had that drug-laden, sex-drenched atmosphere been captured on celluloid. It had come in a perfect moment: America had suffered through Vietnam, was gravely affected by Watergate and suffering the lingering recession, so the people were yearning for an escape hatch from reality. Once John Travolta’s polyester moves hit the cineplex, it triggered the social movement. The movie reminded us what music really is, especially when you are young: go out, have fun, have a good time when you are dancing, it is Saturday night and you’ve got the fever. All of a sudden, pessimism was out and hedonism was in: urban dwellers were dancin’ away their problems.

Nobody expected Saturday Night Fever to do anything: in the beginning it was just a vulgar little movie, yet it will forever define the age of disco when Saturday night mean sex, drugs and dancing. It was a brave movie, it was revolutionary at the time and perhaps people didn’t realize how revolutionary it was. It represented the perfect marriage of music and film, a cinematic breakthrough that pioneered a whole new breed of Hollywood movies. It was a new form of musical, a musical in which music animates every single scene, a first modern film with a soundtrack as important as the script. In the end it seemed the music has been tailored for the movie.

Saturday Night Fever is a film that set trends and captured imagination, and its influence is still being felt today. Rather than heralding the death of disco, the movie ushered its heyday: the music and the lifestyle were celebrated in the nightclubs like New York’s Studio 54. Indeed, people who never bought records before, were taking dancing lessons, all over the world. That was the magic of the fever: everybody wanted to dance. 

More than a film, Saturday Night Fever was a milestone that perfectly captured a moment in time, it is a time capsule, a perfect representation of time and place in the seventies urban America. Though the fashion may have faded, the message and the music live on. It is out of our hands, it is history: music was celebration and there was nothing wrong about it.