Something is happening - updated November 21st  2016

As we bask in the glory of the Live 1966 collection, the Nobel story is still causing waves. After previously having commented on the award itself and then, via an interview, the comments he made to Edna Gundersen re songs with “Homeric values”, I have more to add about his remarks to Edna and now about the furore over his non-attendance at the Nobel Awards dinner in December. I think it is worth pausing for a minute to remember the following comment made to Ms Gundersen (emphasis mine): ““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.” It’s especially funny coming, as it did, just after he’d included Hurricane and Joey in his “Homeric value” list. You can almost guess his tone in the interview when you read this and even more so with these words: “He has never, of course, been one to explain his lyrics. “I’ll let other people decide what they are,” he tells me. “The academics, they ought to know. I’m not really qualified. I don’t have any opinion.”

Dylan not going to Stockholm in December has led to a plague of headline where one can often find the words: "arrogant" and "snub". Of course, as always seems to be the case with Dylan, people rush to draw conclusions (positive as well as negative) without knowing anything factual on which to base those conclusions.

No-one knows what his other commitments are. They could be deeply private - family or religious reasons, say - and he wants them to remain so. They could be medical come to that. For all we know he has an operation booked and doesn't want to advertise what it is nor move it. Please note that I am merely listing hypothetical possibilities. In other words, there are lots of reasons one can imagine that would obviate his attendance and that he would want to keep private. As the article below points out, the wish for privacy is a light in this dark world of publicity-seeking nonentities and demagogues.

He may also just not want to go. Imagine that, Bob Dylan doing what he wants and not what other people would like him to do? Whatever next? He might attend a ceremony and see a lot of himself in Lee Harvey Oswald, or go electric, or find Jesus, or ruin the end of Live Aid, or not speak to the audience at gigs (oh the horror), he might write and perform Hero Blues, It Ain't Me, Babe, You Go Your Way And I'll Go Mine and Trust Yourself just in case you are hard of hearing. I'm glad that he trusts himself to 'do what's right and not be second guessed' and that decade after decade he gives us his heart, but it's just a pity that so many still want his soul.

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