No Direction Home 2: Bob Dylan / Allen Ginsberg

So we finished the film. Wonderful. Don’t know why Scorsese focused so much on the early 60s, and neglected the 70s–the period after the bike wreck. The 70s were an entirely different phase for Dylan, and not insignificant. But I don’t make flicks, I just watch ‘em. I do feel much better informed about the whole journey. Amazing dude, especially to achieve so much so young. Makes me understand why virtually every album collection I thumbed through as a teenager had Dylan’s Greatest Hits in it. However he is not why I began reading Dylan Thomas in college. That was brought on by curiosity about the Welsh.

Interesting how Dylan seems two different people: the pale-faced kid before the wreck, and the disillusioned man in his 60s now. Is it the same for all of us?

The interviews with Allen Ginsberg were great. Since he died in 1997, I gather that the tapes were rather old, but you never would have known it. The part where he described Dylan as a reticent shaman was pure Ginsberg. You can be sure that Dylan didn’t agree then, or now, and that he wearied of people reading so many things into his lyrics; but that’s the power of understatement. You normally don’t have that option with a novel.

Either way, Ginsberg was always both charming and brilliant. Met him once, in the days when I used to mow William Burroughs’ lawn in Lawrence. Ginsberg was in town for a Beat conference of sorts. Very kind man, but that’s a different story.

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