1. On seeing Bob Dylan in interviews
2. Yet more updates
yet more updates & summaries, not only because the messes I
see annoy me, and because they are not my intentional
doing, for they are
mostly due to the buggy tools - "men have become the tools of their
tools" (Thoreau, long before the Surveillance State) - I have to use
and the lousy and sore eyes
with which I have to type, but also because I want it all done by the
end of the year, so that there is at least a fairly clear survey of
what I wrote in Nederlog in 2012, and
with texts that look mostly all right.
In this context: I don't mind a few typos, and indeed I dislike
spellcheckers so much that I almost totally avoid them, but I
dislike seeing different fonts in different sizes, which is what had
happened to my Philosophical
Dictionary, which I had been editing with
Seamonkey's Composer, that hid my mistakes from me, through a stack of
overrides, that I still don't understand, and don't have the health to
be willing to even try to properly understand.
Anyway... the news about the updates is at the end,
and my readers who
want "something more personal" get some reminiscences and impressions,
and also, at the end, a plan: I may write my autobiography, in Dutch,
in Nederlog, bit by bit.
1. Seeing Bob Dylan in
In the Dutch communist youth movement in which I figured,
some three or four years younger than most others, and that I left when
17, for personal reasons - I gave up communism briefly after
turning 20, and this was mostly due to reading Plato and Aristotle, who
struck me as a lot smarter than Marx, and then Russell, Beth and mathematical
logic, who struck me as a lot more rational than Karl Marx- Bob Dylan
was wildly revered, mostly for political reasons, or so it
seemed and seems to me.
Actually, it all was quite odd: When I arrived in the communist youth
movement, age 14, in early 1964, pop and rock had not yet broken
through, and most of the older guys - almost everyone - pretended to be
much interested in jazz, especially the wilder varieties: Miles Davis, Dizzie
Coltrane and such were often on the turntable,
and I was thoroughly introduced to them, in several long sessions,
meant - it was claimed - to educate my musical taste, and to
liberate my soul.
In fact, although I really tried, being young, naive, and also very
little learned in music, to me it seemed to be almost all ugly and
awful, but then I certainly was musically
quite naive, and knew little more than Beethoven, Mozart, Vivaldi and - if it
comes to "swing" - the gospel songs of Mahalia
Jackson that I liked, as music, and that my parents had records of.
Also, I am describing not judging: I have heard
hardly any of the "free style jazz" that was fashionable in early
1960ies since then, and if I did, or would listen to more of it, I
probably I would judge it somewhat differently now, even though
my guess is that I still don't like it, for this just is not my
kind of music, though indeed I have come to like some jazz, if not that
kind. Also, at the time I was between 14 and 17, and quite ignorant
about music of nearly all kinds, and had been somewhat seriously
exposed only to classical music.
In any case, at that time and age, the jazz I was exposed to struck me
as quite awful, and as something I much rather
did not hear at all. Alas, in the beginning of 1964, that was not on in
the circles I moved in: It was free jazz almost all the time - until
suddenly first The
Beatles struck, very briefly, and then, late 1964 and early 1965, Bob
Dylan arrived, whose records suddenly replaced all the jazz that
seemed so very delectable, so great, so liberating, and so inspiring.
And with Dylan and the Beatles soon lots of pop music arrived - The Rolling
Stills Nash and Young, Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin ...
and free jazz died in the circles I moved in, and died very quickly,
and was never to be heard again.
This taught me something, viz. that those who had lectured me on the
hidden beauties of Monk and Gillespie had been mostly play-acting, and
had pretended a great liking, deep admiration, and
an intellectual comprehension that they did not really feel or have,
but then indeed it is also true that I
was 14, and they were 17 or 18, and that we all were inventing
ourselves, and had to do so with such materials as were available.
In any case, then and there where I first heard it, Dylan's music came
to me as a considerable relief, at least compared to
Miles Davis at his wildest, though again I was puzzled:
He did not have
a great voice; his music, though tuneful and melodic, was quite simple,
and was not something one could really dance to, like one could with
Rolling Stones, who also got popular in the circle I moved in, just a
and most of all, Dylan's lyrics were mostly riddles, to me and to the
others, for none of us had much experience of American English, or much
knowledge of what was then still called American "bohemia" and later
"the underground" - nor
indeed were the lyrics available in print, while they were, for
Dutchmen, very difficult to pick up from the records.
In the group I figured in, Dylan was popular mostly because he was
young, because he was fashionable and most of all because he was A
Protest Singer Of Our Generation, who seemed to be against racism,
against the atom bomb, and in favor of many of the things we were in
favor of, and who
also, unlike most other pop musicians, seemed to be a poet and a wit,
even though none of us could really follow his
spoken or sung American English.
All in all, and speaking only for myself, I was neither deeply
impressed nor in any way abhorred, but I did much welcome the fact
that his kind of music replaced the squealing and squeaking
that had been popular before: It was a considerable relief, and I also
did like some of the early Dylan, until the LP John
Wesley Harding appeared,
and I gave up on Dylan, as I had given up on the communist youth
movement in 1967, and as I soon was to give up on communism and
socialism in 1970: Not really interesting, not my kind
of thing, and also, in Dylan's case, not
really great music, poetry or singing, if textually less boring than
most other pop songs, and often with memorable simple tunes.
Then again, I do recall it all fairly well, for it was much in the air,
much played, and much admired, and not just in the groups I had been
figuring in as a teenager, but by many:
From ca. 1965 onwards, Dylan
was hard to miss if you were young, and was admired by many, though
understood by few, at least in Holland, for few had the grasp of
American English or the
knowledge of the United States to grasp most of his allusions - for
which see this
bit of a Pennebaker movie, that then as now was quite striking, but
Dutch 17 year olds at the time could properly get most of it, though it
was original, catchy, new and daring, whatever was alluded to.
Last night I did what I haven't done for decades: Listen to
Dylan's music, indeed mostly from The Sixties, since it is mostly then
that I listened to it before, and also from then that I recall it,
not followed his later records and shows, though I do know a little
about his later career,
and also, for the first time ever, seeing and hearing him interviewed,
namely - for what I saw - in
1965, aged 23, and in 2005, aged 63.
Well... he struck me mostly as a nervous fool. Not a wit, not a great
or good mind, not a great or interesting poet, not sharp, not
intelligent, not learned, and indeed just not interesting, though
indeed also a writer of some catchy phrases and tunes, who clearly is
special, at least, in those respects.
It does not show in the interviews I saw and listened to - not
at all, and indeed
in strong contrast with some of his contemporaries: John Lennon was
a sharp and
witty person, as was and is Grace Slick; Frank Zappa
evidently had a fine mind and could converse well, Jimi Hendrix, was evidently special, if
indeed also not a
great talker, but then, indeed as with Dylan and other musicians, there
is no obvious reason why somebody who does excel musically also
excel conversationally or otherwise, as few excel in one thing, and
most excel not at all.
But seeing and hearing Dylan interviewed was somewhat of a
While I certainly had not expected to
see or hear a great wit - if he had been, I would have heard, meanwhile
- I tended to expect somebody who would have sounded more intelligent,
gifted, and more interesting as a person tnan in fact he did.
Finally, because I have heard it said many time that "Bob Dylan is a
genius", and that especially because of the texts of his songs:
I do not think so, not at all, but then I am widely read indeed
- and I can't believe one believes this if only one has read Sophocles, Lucretius, Shakespeare, Lord Rochester,
Keats, Heine, Tennyson, Whitman, Nietzsche or indeed
- for Dutchies - De Schoolmeester:
If it comes to the writing of great poetry, or indeed to having a great
mind and writing poetry, most of these, and others I could mention, are
greater than Dylan, but then again it is also true they were not in a
position to write catchy tunes to their poems, and storm to amplified
world fame in what was effectively show business for the masses.
2. More updates
As I said in my introduction, there are also some more updates - removals of typos mostly
- & more summaries, and I
think all of the Tour of the
site shows mostly one font now, as it should. The Tour, by the
way, is mostly as I wrote it in 2009, but then it is also true that
since then little was added except in Nederlog.
Also, to liven up Nederlog, I am considering to write my autobiography
in it, bit by bit, if and when the spirit moves me, and in Dutch,
because it is mostly about Holland.
I am not sure yet, though I probably will do a few bits, and the
reasons I am not sure yet are mostly the following two, indeed "signs
of the times".
First, if I write what I think - and there is little point for me in
doing it if I can't - I'll have to use aliases of some kind, because
quite a few people I may write about are still alive. I do not plan to
savage persons I have been friendly with, but then I can imagine quite
a few simply would not want to be written about by me, and indeed
perhaps also not by anyone else. I don't know, but I do know I do not
plan on asking permissions to write what I think. So that's one
difficulty, if I want to do it well and fairly completely, at least.
Second, a similar difficulty is that, as the political and judicial
climate is now in Holland, that rapidly is growing into a terrorist
state, and already is a surveillance state, where the worst psychopaths
have positions of power in very many places, smiling like villains, and
where a few, from the new nobility that form the political parties,
rule all and make fortunes, legally and illegally, I can't name public
political persons and write the truth about them as I think it is,
without grave risks to my life, income or health.
So I'll have to think about this, and indeed one way to - more or less
- solve both problems is to make a sort of fictional story out of it.
In any case, I do intend to write some about my life, in Dutch, and may
start with the fairly uncontroversial bits between ages 0 and 10, which
I still recall quite well, mostly with considerable fondness, which
also is one reason to want to write about it.
But I make no promises, if only because I have neither the health nor
the eyes to be able to do that, reliably.
1] The internet really changed that - I mean being forced
provincialism: Amsterdam in the 1960ies may have been, indeed was, one
of the most progressive and richest cities in the world, but even so
one was limited to what was available in record shops, and was written
about in printed weeklies, mostly, and on whoever appeared on stage, if
one had the money, or happened to be on television
or in the movies.
I can currently pick up on more in a few days or in a week, simply by
surfing the internet, than reached me in a year in The Sixties.
(Indeed, what is
that this great increase of the availability of "cultural stuff" seems
to have liberated or helped very few: Now as then high
high art only moves a small group of talented people, while the masses
prefer to consume popular trash, and are quite happy with that.)
(that I prefer
to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search machines) which
is a disease I have since 1.1.1979: