Merrill » eccentric behavior

Bob Dylan’s Biggest Fans

Posted April 27th, 2009
Tags: , , , , ,

Only a few people in entertainment retain real icon status for me. Bob Dylan is one. And so, I thought I would use the release of his newest album as an occasion to expound on my “relationship” to Bob. Such as it is. He had a huge impact on my ideas about music and creativity when I was a kid. I was never “in love” with him, like I was with John Lennon, (he was too incomprehensible and prickly, whereas John Lennon was just the right amount of both.) but I actually snuck out in the middle of the night once when I was in high school and Dylan had just gone electric, and some how finagled a ticket to a performance he was giving at Berkeley High School.(!) Our tickets entitled my friends and I to sit on folding chairs on the apron of the stage, only a few feet from him. It was so surreal, even then, that I sometimes wonder if I made the whole thing up. Anyway, over time I have become a lot more jaded and cynical ( though I was doing a pretty good job of appearing to be both even when I was in high school) but I still think Bob Dylan is a very big deal.

Cut to : Now. Bob Dylan lives generally in my neighborhood. And when I say “lives” I have no idea what that means. I don’t know if he’s ever there.  I have never seen him. I definitely LIVE in my neighborhood in every sense of the word. I know the cashiers at the markets by name.  But I never have seen Mr. Dylan waiting on line with a basket full of groceries or standing at the dry cleaner with an arm load of soiled pants. Perhaps he throws his clothes out after one wearing, like I read that Jerry Lewis does with his socks. I really have no idea.

But I do know two fairly amusing things about Bob Dylan. The first one is that he puts up the most enjoyable  Christmas decorations on his block. In a neighborhood that is filled with huge homes that are constantly in a state of getting even larger, and home owners who hire day laborers to carefully finesse the seasonal decorating of their yards almost as though they were department stores or hotels, someone at Bob Dylan’s property put up this  string of lights :20071215_0019

I instantly loved his approach so much that I snuck out to take a picture. In my fantasies, I like to think it was Bob himself who hung them because who would hire an assistant this sloppy? It reminded me of something someone’s irritable  uncle might have done as a concession to his nagging wife. “There! I put up the God Damn Christmas decorations,  are you happy? So shut up and stop talking about it, for crying out loud.” Now I hear he has a Christmas album coming out. I can only pray that he brings the same insanely casual and off center approach to his interpretation of the Christmas classics. It might not sell that well but I would definitely get a kick out of it.

The second slightly amusing thing is  that Bob Dylan has apparently ticked off the people who live across the street from him. And when I say “live across the street from him”, these people  do appear to live there. They have a house and cars and a mailbox. But they overlook a piece of the Dylan property that is kind of a no-man’s land. There is a chain link fence and slightly visible behind it are large rusting storage dumpsters and a number of deteriorated car exoskeletons that never move. There is also dirt road that leads to what, I do not know. Somewhere in the midst  of this tableau is a porto-potty that apparently Mr. Dylan rented to service his security guards. And  that is what is driving these neighbors to distraction.

I first read about it all when a friend of mine sent me a link to an article in the L.A. Times. It explained the nature of the brouhaha in general and the fact that the  people across the street had  apparently felt the need to deflect the wafting porto potty odors by filling their front yard full of fans.  We, at my home, looked at each other quizzically since we had walked down this block millions of times and couldn’t remember smelling any human waste or seeing any fans. So the next time I went out for “A Full Bob” (we have a couple of different  routes we take . The one that takes us past the Dylan storage dumpsters is about a three mile route that we refer to as “A Full Bob. “) I brought a camera. And there they were.  Poor Bob. Still being hounded by fans.bobs-big-fanas