the state of things

 

A Bit of This, A Bit of Bob

by Douglas Lindsay - 09:35 on 12 December 2008

Behind the curve today. I started with a list. The clock on the Mac says 10:00am, and so far I've chalked nothing off the list.

Our American friend Ron, who we knew in Senegal, used to say behind the curve. We started saying it as a bit of a joke, because it was such an American expression. Now we just say, behind the curve like it makes sense. The kids always say what curve, and they have a point. So in the morning I've stopped shouting at the kids, come on get dressed, we're behind the curve and have changed it to a more direct for god's sake will you just bloody get dressed. Of course, even when I say that, they just glance up from their Nintendos with a vague look of bemusement, as if they're not entirely sure who I am.

The week from hell coming up. Pre-Christmas, and parties and other social events coming out of our ears. I'm in the process of changing my nationality to Polish, so that I have official clearance to be miserable during Advent. And miserable for the rest of the year as well. I will no longer have to justify any outward appearance of gloom and dejection. I'll have the passport.

The agent I've been speaking to wasn't sure about a thriller which involves the main character turning into a bar of chocolate. That's just bizarre. He did suggest meeting for a few pints to discuss ideas. Maybe he's going to suggest my government minister should turn into some other inanimate object. Like a cabinet. Or a pair of women's pants.
*
Dylan's European tour dates are out for next year. I have a theory about Dylan concerts. Everyone says that sometimes he's really good and sometimes he's really awful, it just depends on his mood. That's the general consensus. However, I reckon he's the same every night. Obviously, he does different songs every night. There's probably not a performer out there who does a greater breadth of back catalogue. You could go and see Dylan every night for a week and barely hear the same song twice.

But every night Bob gets up there, shuffles on without a word and stands behind his keyboard. He plays seventeen songs every time. He can barely sing a note, or chooses not to, so he croaks at the microphone, only every now and again recognisably singing the original tune of the song he's performing. So sure he might sing Hollis Brown, but he won't sing the melody you know whilst strumming away on an acoustic, he'll sing a completely different tune with a six piece rock band backing him. If the sound quality is bad, and you have trouble making out what he's singing, you can be halfway through the number before you finally click on what it is. I had that with Blowin' In The Wind in Berlin last year. Blowin' In The Wind for goodness sake. Three verses in before I finally picked up the hook line. The sound quality was particularly atrocious.

And here's the thing. Some people walk out of there thinking, I just saw Bob Dylan, that was great! And some people walk out saying, what the hell was that? Bob just does his thing, and I don't reckon he's inconsistent. It's the audience that's inconsistent.

It's now later than 10:00am, and I still haven't ticked anything off.


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