Strategies for coping with Bob Dylan: an open reply to Lucy Pepper.

Over at Blogzira, Lucy Pepper – the prodigiously gifted donor of my disco-dancing topless avatar – has publicly requested my help regarding a rather nasty outbreak of Dylan Worship on the part of her Life Partner.

I am in need of your esteemed muso-help, as I can’t think of anything musically clever to say to him to make him shut up once and for all and keep the Dylan to himself, like a dirty little secret.

Dear Lucy,

Alas, I fear that Dylan-itis is a largely uncurable disease. “Bob-heads”, as they like to call themselves (I know) are an uncommonly intractable bunch, and most provocation will only inflame the condition.

(It’s a Martyrdom Complex thing. To paraphrase Neil Innes: Bob has suffered for his art, and now it’s your turn.)

However, maybe there are ways of reducing the symptoms. So why not try some of these for size?

1. The “Clay Feet” approach.

Does your Life Partner know that His Perpetual Right On-ness has licensed one of his wretched CDs for exclusive distribution by the Great Satan that is Starbucks? Or that he has appeared in an advert for a tatty bra-n-knickers emporium called Victoria’s Secret? Tell him, Lucy! Tell him!

2. The “Fighting Fire With Fire” approach.

Load up your music player with some of Bob’s, um, less seminal works, crank up the volume, set to repeat, and prepare to cut a deal.

Here are my top tips for maximum damage.

a) Any live recording from the past two or three years, which reveal the great man’s vocal range – never that impressive in the first place – to have shrunk to about three notes. Until you have heard the once-passable “Like A Rolling Stone” re-worked as experimental plainsong, you haven’t truly suffered.

b) Selected works from his “Born Again Christian” phase of the late 1970s – in particular, the execrable “Man Gave Names To All The Animals“, which includes this deathless couplet:

He wasn’t too small and he wasn’t too big.
“Ah, think I’ll call it a pig.”

3. The “Mike Yarwood” approach.

Buy a cheap mouth organ (don’t worry, you won’t need lessons), smoke 40 consecutive Marlboro Reds, mix yourself a nifty paint-stripper ‘n thumb-tacks mouthwash, and treat him to a Zimmerman-esque rendition of these deliciously appropriate Baby Boomer Busting lyrics, from the pen of The Overnight Editor. Now, that’s Social Commentary! A few repetitions, and he’ll be jibbering putty in your hands.

We shall overcome!

Yours in solidarity,
Mike xxx

Supplementary material: This week’s “In The Dock” debate over at The Art Of Noise, and a live review cum hatchet job of mine own.

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