Thursday, April 16, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Will Dylan Help You Find Directions Home?

This is a re-post of a 2009 blog entry that I had fun putting together. 


How would you like to be together through life with Bob Dylan? I mean, when you’re driving in your car and you don’t know which way to go, you can turn on the GPS and, hey, you’ve got company. Yes, to drive beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free, silhouetted by the sea... heading on out to Highway 61, or wherever.

Oh where have you been driving my blue-eyed son?
Oh where have you been driving my darling young one?

Dylan created a stir the other night by mentioning on his BBC radio show that he's been in discussions with not one, but two sat nav companies as a candidate to be The Voice that leads you home.

The idea isn’t so novel when you discover that other celebs have already been actively directing peoples' drives, from John Cleese and Mr. T to a Sean Connery knock-off and the real Homer Simpson. (I don’t think I want to hear a “Doh!” every time I make a wrong turn though.)

My guess is that once the novelty wears off you won’t care too much who’s chattin’ at you as long as the directions are accurate. Whenever we stopped to ask for directions in Mexico they almost always said the same thing: “Todo derecho” which literally means, “All right” but we took to mean, “Just keep going straight ahead” because that’s where they were always pointing. Which meant the directions were usually useless.

The Dylan comments seem to have created quite a buzz, though. Was it a trial balloon to see how much interest there would be in the idea? Rumor has it that six other rock stars made similar comments on the air this past two months and not one story appeared in print afterwards, proof that Dylan’s still got pull and a lot of others are still just wannabes.

Journalists are having fun with the story though. I liked this one from the London Telegraph with the subhead “For anyone lost on their way to Maggie’s Farm, this might be just the thing.”

Then there's the guy in California, Jonathan Mann, who already wrote and YouTubed a "Sneak Preview" spoof version of what the new Dylan GPS system will sound like.

Actually, this guy Mann seems pretty clever. What Julie Powell did with a year's worth of Julia Child recipes, he's attempting to do with a year's worth of songs... writing one each day, turning it into a music video and airing it on YouTube. To get exposure he's been playing off the news, and is evidently getting a following.

Side street: Several years ago when podcasting first came into its own, a woman from the Dakotas podcast a song which she recorded each day and ultimately, by month's end obtained a $900,000 recording contract from Sony. I guess when you live in the middle of nowhere, you get exposure any way you can.

Back to the main road: Dylan in the news always becomes an occasion for me to share one or more of my Dylan paintings. The two pictures on this page were taken earlier thi month using the green sillouhette background which which was a foreground for my original Dylan profile. Or vice versa.

Heading down another side street... if you could have anyone in the world giving you directions on your GPS, who would it be? I can picture my brother choosing Cary Grant. He's smooth. But there are plenty of other pretty distinctive voices out there. Jimmy Stewart might be fun. Paul McCartney. How about Marlene Dietrich? "Dahling, I believe you just missed your turn."

Disclaimer: The comment about six other rock stars was strictly fiction.

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QUICK REMINDER: 2015 Duluth Dylan Fest is coming up fast. If you want to be part of the annual Singer/Songwriter Contest, it will be in Duluth on Friday the 22nd. There may still be room to participate. There are still seats available for the Hibbing Bus Tour which returns Saturday evening for the Acoustic Salute to the Music of Bob Dylan. Details here and here



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