Thursday, May 24, 2012


Back some time around 1985 or so, I was listening to a whole lot of Dylan all the time. I’d been a fan for years, I went to the “Rolling Thunder Review” at Tarrant County Convention center in 1976, and the horrible music from the early 80’s had sent me running back to Dylan. I was just a huge fan.

And one day I sat down and wrote the Bobster a letter. It went something like this

Dear Bob Dylan:
I am huge fan of yours. I know all your songs by heart. All I listen to anymore is Bob Dylan, and Bob Dylan, and more Bob Dylan. I never listen to Duran-Duran, or Van Halen; all this “Guys like you Micky” these days is flat killin' me, and  you won’t catch me listening to any Men at Work. I think Christopher Cross is an OK guy, but he can’t hold a candle to you, Bob.
So what I would like to do, Bob, is to invite you down to Texas, where I have a nice little campground on Toledo Bend Lake, and we can do a little bass fishing and sit up at night, poking the fire and singing your songs. In the morning I’ll fix you a nice breakfast with bacon and eggs and coffee and pancakes if you like. Then we can go run the trotlines and have catfish for supper. I think you would enjoy that very much.
So once again, I would like to say how much I like your work, and how much we seem to have in common, and just let me know what day you will be coming down and I’ll have the boat and groceries all ready to go.
May you stay Forever Young,
Bulletholes in the Mailbox

Well, ol' Bob never wrote me back. I never got to go camping and fishing with him.
But a few years later I saw an interview with him, and he said that he got letters all the time from people that thought they knew something about him, and that wanted to do some gardening with him, or take him to a show, or to sit around and help him write a song.
And he said he got letters from people that wanted to take him fishing, or go jogging with him, like he could relate to any of that, but that these people didn’t know him, and that he could prove they didn’t know him in any court of law.

And I thought to myself “Is he talking about me?”
Do you think he was talking about me?
I got to tell you, I never did like him so much after that.

Here's Bob, getting ready to go run the Trot lines.
Happy Birthday, 71 years old today!


Kristi said...

So what did he like to do? Sit around and drown in his misery so he could write another hit song?

bulletholes said...

Its funny, I cant really find any real misery in his life, other than being saddled with the resposibility of being the voice of a generation. But he had a way of capturing things people go through.
A friend of mines daughter discovered Dylan when she was about 16. "Blood on the tracks" had been out for about 20 years, and she heard it and she asked me 'Do you ever get over a song like "Tangled up in Blue"?
I had to laugh, because no way she had been through what the protagonist in the song had been through, but just like me when I was her age, I could totally relate to the idea that I would go through those things, and I really did anticipate- or maybe "savor" is a better word- the idea of living my life with that kind of pain.
So I had to tell her that no, you don't ever get over hearing a song like that, all you can do is hope you maybe get to live some of it.
Hi Kristi!

soubriquet said...

I've liked mister Dylan's music greatly over the years, and read and heard a lot about him.
Waaaay back in, I think, 1972? someone lent me a copy of Anthony Scaduto's biography of Dylan, which, because in those days I had some stupid internal rule that said I had to read any book that was presented to me. Now this idea fell by the wayside, when I incautiously, nay, stupidly, mentioned it, in confidence to a work-mate.
Oh foolish me. In about five minutes I was besieged by people proferring worthy tomes with titles like "The Population Ecology of the Water Vole", and " Old English Deverbal Substantives, Derived by Means of a Zero Morpheme", I kid you not. Dieter Kastovsky. I read it end to end, despite the fact that it was a book bigger than a refrigerator.
Tubingen. University of, I think it was his doctoral thesis. After that I was offered "A Brief Introduction To Stress-Concentrations Within the Core of the A1 Nuclear Reactor."

I gradually realised, probably half way through an exciting tome on the subject of slippage along shear planes in pacific abyssal ooze, that my friendly colleagues were betting on where I would break in my ongoing struggle to keep true to a foolish vow. Also, at the time, I was working at the National Lending Library for Science and Technology, so my tormentors had an endless supply of turgid texts.
It was something of a relief to be handed a doorstep-sized volume on Soviet Steam Locomotive Construction, in Russian.
It was clearly beyond me, as I have no grasp whatsoever, of Russian. I don't even know the cyrillic alphabet, so I had to content myself with looking at the engineering diagrams and the black and white photo-plates of triumphant sons and daughters of the revolution cheering brave locomotive crews as the sons of Genghis hurried thousands of tons of potatoes amidst thunder across the steppes.
Where was I? Oh.. I was replying to Bulletholes' post about Bob Dylan? Oh.
Yes, well. Scaduto. Biography... Oh yes. Well, I was amazed that there was a biography, after all, this was 1972, and Dylan had barely started. The thing I learned, and that none of the intervening decades has disproved is that the man's a great poetsingersongwriter, but an absolute arrogant asshole.

bulletholes said...

Absolute arrogant asshole. Soubby you manage to sum up my entire post in three words.
And I love that library you used to work at. I bet you miss it.
And you do crack me up! Water voles indeed.

goatman said...

That'll teach you to mind your own damned business!

bulletholes said...

Ha! Goatman, you know thats what Dylan said about Hurricane Carter. Said he shouldnt have written that song, should just minded his own business.

goatman said...


and also:

"Yes, I received your letter yesterday
about the time the doorknob broke.
When you asked how I was doing
was that some kind of joke?
All these people that you mention
Yes I know them, they're quite lame
I had to rearrange their faces
and give them all another name.
Right now, I can't read too good
don't send me no more letters, no.
Not unless you mail them from
Desolation Row." ♫ ♪

Bob Dylan said...

the horrible music from the early 80’s had sent me running back to Dylan. Agreed

bulletholes said...

Hey Bob! How about some tickets for the Nov. 1 show in Grand Prairie?
And that was me you were talking about, the fishing thing, right?