All our musical heroes are dying, or thankfully getting old. Eighty might be the point that a Bob doesn’t want to carry on doing the endless tour, and instead puts his feet up with a fortifying glass of Dylan branded whiskey and a good dog by his feet, catching up on a few movies, perhaps, and taking some time to enjoy all that money he accumulated through his genius for capturing the zeitgeist and patching together imagery using Rimbaud’s needle and Verlaine’s thread.
The pre and post ‘motorcycle accident (cough! Rehab!) Bob are two different beasts. Before he was a shining light, a strange young man, and after, more a crafter, a technician of songs. He must have had notebooks that would last him almost a lifetime. I figure he musta run out sometime around Wiggle Wiggle. As for the new gumpf that is Rough and Rowdy Ways, Key West comes on like a brochure advertising the Keys to the elderly for a nice relaxing break:
Key West is the place to go
Down by the Gulf of Mexico
Beyond the sea, beyond the shifting sand
Key West is the gateway key
To innocence and purity
Key West, Key West is the enchanted land
None of it is any good. None of it makes you stop and stare like It’s alright ma, I’m only bleeding or Ballad of a Thin Man. It is adequate, but we are so into worshipping living idols before they shuffle off this mortal coil, that it feels somewhat churlish to point it out.
Happy Birthday Mr. Zimmerman. You were on fire there for a while, so much the boy genius that I’ll ignore the ’80s, I won’t even mention the Sinatra thing, and I’ll admit I might have looked to you for an answer here or there, but don’t worry, I got over it reasonably fast. I even gave up the wayfarer’s for some warhol round frames. Not a savior, just a talented visionary beat poet with some really good drugs, a great record collection to rip off, and a fine appreciation for the French poets. Long life to you!