Saturday, November 05, 2005

turquoise, gold, diamonds, and the world's biggest necklace

"I was thinkin' about turquoise, I was thinkin' about gold/I was thinkin' about diamonds and the WORLD'S BIGGEST NECKLACE/As we rode through the canyons, through the devilish cold/I was thinkin' about Isis, how she thought I was so RECKLESS."

Bob Dylan should be ashamed for rhyming "necklace" with "reckless". Or very proud. I'm not sure which.

I am going through a bit of a Bob Dylan revival. When I was 21 I had a huge crush on one of my five summer roommates who I lived with in a house painted robin's egg blue in Vancouver. He was mad about Bob Dylan. I felt it was horribly inappropriate, deeply embarrassing, (and inevitably doomed) to have a crush on my roommate, so I did my best to hide it -- but I did go out of my way to spend as much time with him as possible. He seemed amenable to that, since we got along beautifully as pals.

One day he told me that I was a lot like his little sister. I absorbed this news with as much casual aplomb as I could muster, but my heart broke a little and I had to try very hard not to blurt out a suddenly defensive (and too-revealing) "Am not!"

He got into a program at U of T starting in September and left; we stayed in touch a little for a few months, but I never shook the feeling that he didn't really get who I was, and eventually we both stopped writing.

Anyway, thanks to him, I have a deep appreciation for Bob, because during that summer of pining I listened to a LOT of Bob Dylan with one of his biggest fans. Even though Dylan is often a wretched singer, an average guitar player, and can be a total shambles on the harmonica, I do believe (as many do I suppose) that he is one of this century's great songwriters.

So lately I've hauled out "Blood on the Tracks" and "Desire", to revel in the searing poetics of such lines as "Little red wagon, little red bike/I ain't no monkey but I know what I like". (OK Bob.)


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