October 28, 2016

Bob Dylan says he'll attend the Nobel Awards ceremony: "Absolutely. If it’s at all possible."

This comes in an interview with The Telegraph's Edna Gunderson:
And as he talks, he starts to sound pretty pleased about becoming a Nobel laureate. “It’s hard to believe,” he muses. His name has been mentioned as on the shortlist for a number of years, but the announcement was certainly not expected. When he was first told, it was, Dylan confides, “amazing, incredible. Whoever dreams about something like that?”

In which case, I can’t help but ask, why the long public silence about what it means? Jean-Paul Sartre famously declined the award in 1964, but Dylan has these past weeks seemed intent on simply refusing to acknowledge its existence....

For his part, Dylan sounds genuinely bemused by the whole ruckus. It is as if he can’t quite fathom where all the headlines have come from, that others have somehow been over-reacting. Couldn’t he just have taken the calls from the Nobel Committee?

“Well, I’m right here,” he says playfully, as if it was simply a matter of them dialling his number, but he offers no further explanation.
AND: Does he think his work belongs in the Nobel literature category? Gunderson reminds him of what's being said about Homer and Sappho and how their poems were written to be sung, but we still read them apart from whatever that music was supposed to be, and Bob Dylan's words could be read.
“I suppose so, in some way. Some [of my own] songs – “Blind Willie”, “The Ballad of Hollis Brown”, “Joey”, “A Hard Rain”, “Hurricane”, and some others – definitely are Homeric in value.”

35 comments:

Sebastian said...

"definitely are Homeric in value" So not only is he not a narcissist, as we've been told, he also doesn't suffer from false modesty.

Rob said...

@Sebastian Dylan would say that no one is better than he at not suffering from false modesty.

FullMoon said...

Joey and Hurricane about psychopaths. Murderers.

coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Terry said...

"Gunderson reminds him of what's being said about Homer and Sappho and how their poems were written to be sung, but we still read them apart from whatever that music was supposed to be, and Bob Dylan's words could be read."

Gunderson is displaying a truly pitiable level of reasoning.


Why are there so many songs about rainbows
And what's on the other side
Rainbows are visions
But only illusions
And rainbows have nothing to hide

So we've been told
And some choose to believe it
I know they're wrong, wait and see
Some day we'll find it
The rainbow connection
The lovers, the dreamers, and me

Left Bank of the Charles said...

"Absolutely. If it's at all possible." - is still sticking it to the Swedes. Well played, Bob. As for the long public silence, it's just been two weeks.

khematite said...

And then there's this from the Voice of His Generation:

“There’s a certain intensity in writing a song,” he replies, “and you have to keep in mind why you are writing it and for who and what for,” he says. “Paintings, and to a greater extent movies, can be created for propaganda purposes, whereas songs can’t be.”

Spiros Pappas said...

Not as good as Homer!

Amexpat said...

Odd that he included "Joey" and "Hurricane" as they were co-written with Jacques Levy. According to Levy, Levy wrote most of the lyrics to "Hurricane". Not sure who wrote the most of "Joey".

Mac McConnell said...

“Paintings, and to a greater extent movies, can be created for propaganda purposes, whereas songs can’t be.” Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger would disagree.

Mitch H. said...

Of all of his songs, he picked out 'Hurricane', which was an unworthy, polemic piece of garbage, as 'Homeric'? What the ever-loving hell?

Big Mike said...

How come the Telegraph can reach him and the Swedish embassy says it can't?

Psota said...

Come on, Bob! "Joey" is a terrible song!

LYNNDH said...

Never heard of Joey or Hurricane (I surmise it is about Ruben "Hurricane" Carter though). I just hope he doesn't break an arm patting himself on the back.

BudBrown said...

Well Homer spent a lot of time sitting around singing about
various ways guys beat the crap out of each other.

surfed said...

"Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memohis Blues Again" follwed immediately by "Tangled Up in Blue" - Homeric in the arc of a man's relationships with women. Others may differ...

Lydia said...

Maybe he'll ask Cate Blanchett to attend the ceremony in his place. She was a very believable Bob in I'm Not There.

BudBrown said...

Stuck Inside of Mobile ... is the Dylan song I sing in the shower.
If I segue into Tamborine Man I've learned to immediately go all cold water.

Amexpat said...

According to the BBC, Dylan has been in contact with the Nobel Foundation.

...on Friday, the Nobel Foundation said Dylan had called Sara Danius, Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy, telling her: "The news about the Nobel Prize left me speechless. I appreciate the honour so much."

Link at: http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-37806639

Guildofcannonballs said...

"Of all of his songs, he picked out 'Hurricane', which was an unworthy, polemic piece of garbage, as 'Homeric'? What the ever-loving hell?"

The reason I dislike Dylan's music generally is because of how righteous I felt at 19 listening to "Justice is a game" and then later realizing it was true and I didn't understand a thing about Hurricane or Dylan or music: only the self and its righteousness is what Stained my previously pure Catholic soul.

Gram Parsons never stained me, Flying Burrito Brothers neither.

Anyhow, all my abuse is to keep you graceless slaves bastards out of their gas chambers, again, fucking ingrates.
The lot of ya.

Laslo Spatula said...

Socially Awkward Guy Who Makes No Eye Contact says:

I once called a girl I kinda liked a lot, and left a message. The days that followed crawled by so slow: I would check the answering machine to see if she called back, but there would be nothing. The next day: nothing. The day after: nothing…

I started to think I was a fool for even reaching out to her: like any girl would ever bother calling ME back. She was probably making fun of my call to her friends, and they were all laughing at me, calling me names and saying I was a loser…

I wished that I could only take back that call: I would pretend it never happened, that it wasn't me, that someone else must have called and pretended they were me: those kinds of things, but the silence continued to torture me…

Then -- after two weeks -- she returned my call! My mouth went dry, and I felt light-headed. It turns out she had called me the day after my phone call, but my Mom had picked up the phone and told her I was busy washing the bedsheets I peed the night before: Thanks, Mom….

Then the girl apologized to me for telling all her friends and laughing at me about peeing the bed. I told her it was 'okay, really' but then she started laughing and said that the only reason she was calling to apologize was that her Mother was making her do it, and that she didn't hang out with bed-wetters and that I was also creepy and needed to wash my hair because it was stringy and gross and then said I was creepy again…

A year later her younger sister died in a car accident, so maybe wetting the bed wasn't such a big thing after all, now was it?

Like no one else thinks these things.

I hope the Girl with the Blue Hair is working at McDonalds today.


I am Laslo.

rhhardin said...

I used to go to recitals and talks at the local university to support the artists and speakers, but they started charging admission to recitals and requiring whole classes to attend the lectures, which took the point out of it.

Now there's youtube anyway.

rhhardin said...

Of all the things I've lost, what I miss most is my mind.

- Somebody, turned up on a DVD somewhere.

Ken B said...

This award is perfect if you recognize its true purpose: to justify the nostalgic boomer circle-jerk we have all been witnessing.

traditionalguy said...

What a day. Our cup runneth over. The times are a changing, and all for the good.

Bobby accepts a real tribute. Witch Hillary melts away. And Trump wins the wrestling match.

rhhardin said...

That's zeugma or something. Possibly antanaclasis.

Jose_K said...

Bob Dylan: “If I accept the prize? Of course.” Nobel Foundation Press Release on the 2016 Literature Laureate: http://goo.gl/famqId

16:59 - 28 oct 2016

Guildofcannonballs said...

At an advanced age, with success modicum's defined and literally blown through, you ought do what I once swore was stupid, give it all away.

Your god ain't ours.

I got none myself though.

But Brad from Sublime.

Only 'cause he dead see.

Guildofcannonballs said...

Gee, small g or big G?

I wondery.

Char Char Binks said...

I'm glad the younger sister died in a car accident. You can take solace in that, SAGWMNEC.

Ambrose said...

My prediction is that Dylan will realize that ignoring/declining the award will attract more attention than simply accepting - so he will simply accept. Another post somewhere noted that Sartre practically made a career out of having declined the award. Dylan would not do that IMO.

Freeman Hunt said...

Why should he have to respond immediately? Is it because of 24 hour news? People need to calm down. No need to be in such a rush.

lemondog said...

Never been a listener of Bob Dylan music but I find this ebay poster pretty interesting.

uffda said...

What a lot of insignificant sound and fury about a non-response about which few facts are known. How did the committee try to contact Dylan? The guy is on perpetual tour and a world-class protector of his time and privacy. Did they actually get hold of someone with access to him to formally request a response? Did they just email his record company/agent (if he has one) or even just expect the announcement to send him rushing to the phone squealing like he just saw his Powerball number drawn?

Dylan won the Big Prize long ago from his listeners and most critics. The Nobel is really just another honorary award for a guy with a pile of them. For the breakthrough scientist that Nobel may be the high point of his life. Is it hard to understand that someone lauded for 50+ years as the best at what he does might feel differently?

Mitch H. said...

I've thought about this, and decided that this is Dylan trolling his own fans now. Everybody went out on a limb and lauded or denounced his typical Dylan hermetic refusal to engage with the Nobel committee, as something utterly within his character of avoiding others' ideas of himself, his stubborn insistence on being protean.

Now that everybody has committed to this iconoclastic interpretation, he comes out and produces a completely and totally conventional interview that says all the typical things, is shallow in the right places and faux-profound in the expected places, tosses out 'homeric' nonsense, etc.

This is his latest variant on "I like to think of myself as a song-and-dance man". When you expect him to be profound, he'll play the conventional dullard, when you expect him to be a rock star, he'll break out some academic bollocks.

It's almost as if he believes his only path into heaven is if he dies without anyone truly knowing his mind. I swear the man has a child's sled dry-rotting in a closet somewhere.