Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Q: Do you think of yourself primarily as a singer or a poet? A: Oh, I think of myself more as a song and dance man, y’know.

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There are definitely worse things you could do with your life than watch No Direction Home, the Scorsese documentary on Bob Dylan which just finished premiering on PBS.

I actually found Part I to be a little slow, mostly because it was quite different from what I was expecting — though I was surprised by Dylan’s visit to my hometown’s mental institution, Greystone Hospital, where Woody Guthrie was hospitalized with Huntington’s Chorea, my family’s very own genetic sword of Damocles. I’d never heard of any of this. It was good and all, but I felt there was too much from other people and not enough Bob, and I wasn’t sure if I would take time out from endless paper-grading to watch the second half.

I’m glad I did, because Part II picked up the ball and ran with it. The focus of the movie’s second half is on the early 1960s, when the folk perception of Dylan and the rock interpretation of Dylan collided, much to the confusion and occasional consternation of the actual Dylan. It’s really fascinating stuff, and the archival video footage alone is worth the price of admission, much less the incredible soundtrack.

Watching the young Dylan flounder about while everyone else tells him what he means is a trip, and judging from Chronicles (blogged), it’s a feeling he’s never really gotten over.

Here’s hoping there’s yet to be a No Direction Home II. The adventures of 1970s evangelical Dylan have yet to be fully told.


Written by gerrycanavan

September 28, 2005 at 2:51 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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