If you ever manage to come face to face with Bob Dylan don't, under any circumstances ask him what his work 'means.' Don't ask him to explain what the cultural significance of wearing a Triumph T-shirt is or if he really took someone's wife to Italy, he won't thank you for it.
Dylan has been pigeonholed his whole career, as a folk singer, a protester, a traitor, a championer of the underdog and a genius and depending on which song you listen to he could be all of or none of these things. But then Bob Dylan cares for labels as much as he does for explaining his songs.
Bob Dylan is an icon, of what exactly is up to you to decide but there can be no doubt that his music has had, and continues to have, a profound effect on music as a whole. In short, if you don't like Dylan, you don't like music.
Born in 1941, Dylan grew up 50's America, an America with the ever present and real threat of nuclear war and before he reached his 20th birthday he would have lived through some historical events. He enrolled in college but never attended classes, he "didn't have time" and eventually left for New York in 1960 to visit his idol Woodie Guthrie in hospital. He inevitably found his way to Greenwich village, the birthplace of the Beat Generation and stage for the revival of American folk music. And it was here, amongst all these writers, poets, singers and other bohemian types that Bob Dylan began changing the world.
Dylan's path in life seems to have been laid early, when he was 10 years old he came across a guitar and maybe more importantly a radio and he says the poet in him was brought out by Gloria and Echo, two early girlfriends.
But it was almost very different.
Dylan tried and failed to get into Westpoint, a United States Military Academy and even envisioned himself dying a heroic death, such was the political climate at the time.
Dylan changed his name from the less glamorous and decidedly more Jewish, Robert Zimmerman but he says he doesn't really know why. Theories have been put forward that it was after Welsh poet Dylan Thomas or because his given name was obviously Jewish and he changed it to avoid anti-Semitic feeling that was around at the time. Regardless of the reason it would be his stage name that would forever be linked to his unique singing voice and narrative style, first unleashed on the gathered crowd at Greenwich village's cafe Wha? on his first night in NY city.
He made a living in the 'basket houses' of Greenwich village, performing in between sets of poetry and passing a basket around to collect whatever donations found their way into them before moving on to the next place. Dylan began to assimilate everything that was around him and some people think he made a 'deal at the crossroads' that made him virtually unrecognisable when he returned to visit Minnesota a short time later.
Dylan was 'discovered' by Columbia Records producer John Hammond who convinced the company to take a chance on him. They did, but only because Hammond's reputation was respected due to his knack of discovering talent.
Dylan is an enigma and over the years has frustrated reporters with his lack of directness and sometimes point blank refusal to answer questions, instead, offering vague answers that are as much questions as the questions themselves. A frustration for reporters and Dylan himself seems to be the meaning behind his songs. Dylan maintains his songs are not about specific events and in Martin Scorsese's documentary 'No Direction Home,' Joan Baez recalls talking to Dylan about the meaning of a specific song with Dylan replying that he didn't know what it was about but "people in the future will write about what these songs are about."
Dylan lived through turbulent times and certain events must have had an effect on his music but he constantly refused to be drawn into politics, refused to be used and remained a thorn in the side of all kinds of groups, including his own fans. Dylan performed at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, sharing the stage with Martin Luther King Jr amongst others but refused to be a public part of the anti-Vietnam war campaign.
Dylan also became the focus of an boo campaign and was dubbed a traitor to folk music for his inclusion of Mike Bloomfield and The Paul Butterfield Blues Band to his concerts, especially at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival where even fellow performers were disturbed and even angered by his loud, bluesy backing band, although the debate about why the crowd were booing has passed into music folklore. In the two years preceding this Dylan was the toast of the festival.
Dylan's subsequent tour to Australia and Europe would be his last for 8 years, some say because of the motorcycle accident he was involved in when he returned to the USA but the constant booing and jeering that followed him on that tour, particularly in England may have proved too much for Dylan, who was still a relatively young man at the time.
Dylan continues to record and tour and still manages to surprise people too, most recently with his 2009 album Christmas In The Heart. And if you think Bob Dylan is just for old people just watch the video for the song 'Must Be Santa' from the aforementioned album.
Friday, 23 April 2010
Wednesday, 14 April 2010
Friday, 2 April 2010
A little list of what's on in Korea this month has been collated by me from various resources for your reading delectation.
Some links to the calendars of various magazines first
Here is a selection of events from the huge list on Korea4Expats. Here is a link to the list on their site where each event has its own link to another page with even more info.
- Andy Warhol Exhibition, 12 Dec to 04 April 2010, Seoul Museum of Art
- The Beat - Non-Verbal Show, Fri –Sun 26 Mar-4 Apr 2010, Seoul
- Wearable Art - Batik Exhibition, 1-21 April 2010, KFCC Gallery, Seoul
- KOTRA - Free Korean Classes, 19 April-29 June 2010, Yangjae, Seoul
- World Cinema VII, 19 Mar - 25 April 2010, Cinematheque Pusan
- Tom Jones Concert, 2-3 April 2010, Olympic Park, Seoul
- Ancient Culture of Uzbekistan, to 25 Sept 2010, National Museum
- Miss Saigon, 13 Mar-4 Apr 2010, Goyang Aram Nuri Arts Complex
- The Exciting World of Animation, 16 March - 13 June 2010, Seoul
- Modern Art of Vietnam I , 6 Mar – 15 April 2010 Busan Museum of Art
- Justice for North Korea Demonstration, every Saturday, Insa-dong
- Opera on Film - Turandot, Wed and Sat to July 2010, COEX Seoul
- Seoul City Improv Comedy Show, Sat 3 April 2010, Itaewon
- The Exciting World of Animation, 16 Mar – 13 June 2010, Seoul Arts Centre
- Gugak - Traditional Korean Music Performances, Saturdays 2010, NCKTPA
- RAS April Tours, Saturdays and Sundays, April 2010, from Seoul
- LIG 8th Korea Open Marathon, Sun 4 April 2010, Jamsil Stadium, Seoul
- LoA MasterMinds Meet-UP, Sun 04 Apr 2010, Itaewon, Seoul
- Ball Hockey League Spring Schedule, March-June 2010, Sports Complex
- Korean Contemporary Art Festival, 5- 12 Apr 2010, Seoul Arts Center
- Exhibition: Hakuna Matata, 26 Mar – 18 Apr 2010, Jongno-gu
- Cinematic Classic Concert, 6 Apr 2010, LG Art Center, Seoul
- Contempory Art Festival (KCAF), 7-11 Apr 2010, Seoul Arts Center
- Int'l Artists Exhibition, 7-18 April 2010, Insa-dong, Seoul
- Philadelphia Orchestra, 30 April-1 May 2010, Sejong Center, Seoul
- Free Screening of 63 Years On, Sun 11 April 2010, Insa-dong Area
- Muckleshunter 01 May- Scottish Dance Practices-Wed April 2010, Seoul
- Julio Iglesias in Seoul, Fri 16 Apr 2010, Sejong Center, Seoul
- Traditional Drink & Rice Cake Festival, 18 -23 April 2010, Gyeongju
- Opera:Lucia di Lammermoor, 19-25 Apr 2010, Seoul Arts Center
- Opera: Manon Lescaut, 22-25 Apr 2010, Sejong Center, Seoul
- House of Sharing English Tour, Sun 25 April 2010, Seoul Departure
- Tanz in den Mai - Dance Into May, Fri 30 April 2010, Grand Hyatt
Here is Korea4Expat's baseball schedule for April, covering the whole country.
And K-league fixtures are here
The official site has this list of more traditional festivals.
World Photonics Expo 2010
Period: 04-02-2010 ~ 05-09-2010
Gaya Culture Festival
Period: 04-27-2010 ~ 05-02-2010
Jindo Sea-parting Festival
Period: 03-30-2010 ~ 04-01-2010
Yeoju Ceramics Expo
Period: 04-24-2010 ~ 05-09-2010
Icheon Ceramics Festival
Period: 04-24-2010 ~ 05-16-2010
Cheongpungho Cherry Blossoms Festival
Period: 04-08-2010 ~ 04-18-2010
Hwagae Cherry Blossoms Festival
Period: 04-02-2010 ~ 04-04-2010
Icheon Baeksa Sansuyu Flower Festival
Period: 04-02-2010 ~ 04-04-2010
Jinhae Gunhangje Festival
Period: 04-01-2010 ~ 04-11-2010
Yeouido Spring Flowers Festival
Period: 04-06-2010 ~ 04-18-2010
Ulsan Soeburi Cultural Festival
Period: 04-30-2010 ~ 05-02-2010
Gwangalli Eobang Festival
Period: 04-23-2010 ~ 04-25-2010
Goryeong Daegaya Experience Festival
Period: 04-08-2010 ~ 04-11-2010
Yeongam Wangin Culture Festival
Period: 04-03-2010 ~ 04-06-2010
The Great Admiral Yi Sun Shin Festival
Period: 04-28-2010 ~ 05-02-2010
Namwon Chunhyang Festival
Period: 04-23-2010 ~ 04-26-2010
Hampyeong Butterfly Festival
Period: 04-23-2010 ~ 05-09-2010
Jeonju International Film Festival
Period: 04-27-2010 ~ 05-02-2010
Jeju Canola Flower Festival
Period: 04-10-2010 ~ 04-11-2010
Gyeongju Liquor & Rice Cake Festival
Period: 04-17-2010 ~ 04-22-2010
Mungyeong Traditional Tea Bowl Festival
Period: 04-30-2010 ~ 05-09-2010
Chris in South Korea, or CISK has a good roundup of what's going on in Korea this month and Matt Kelly has a round up of spring flower festivals on his blog Discovering Korea.
That's all for this month.
A lovely label cloud
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