I've seen Bob Dylan in concert around thirty times - which must make me rather more than the average fan. Fanatic may be a fairer description. The first time was at Earls Court in June 1978. We queued all night and half the next day for tickets. This was Dylan's first UK appearance in ages and London (where we were living then) rocked with excitement and expectation. The last time was at Nottingham's Capital FM Arena on 11 October this year. Although Dylan was, for him, energetic, communicative even - he stage-walked quite a bit instead of hiding away behind a keyboard - I found the gig disappointing and alienating. The music was hammeringly loud and unsubtle, almost devilish. And his guitar, keyboard and harmonica playing teetered on the edge of embarrassment. I may not go and see him again. But, as Am reminded me in a recent comment she left on my blog, he's been fading into his own parade for a while now.
All this by way of explanation why I own so many goddam Bob Dylan books. They've been begged, stolen, borrowed, gifted - occasionally even bought. You might spot the odd Neil Young, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash and Picasso (uh, how did he get there?) on these shelves - but essentially it's just Dylan, Dylan, Dylan.