Inspiration for mixed media
This new piece began, believe or not, with a series of events set in motion by an initial fascination with Bob Dylan‘s music, a fascination that led to a lot of questions as I began to listen more and more fervently to the lyrics, especially those so heavily laden with metaphor and image, not so much narrative as language poetry, I guess. And I found them mostly in those songs from 1966, songs like “Just Like a Woman,” “Desolation Row” and “Visions of Johnanna.” My questions led to investigation, which took this writer time and time again to Google searches, fine tooth searches that ultimately led to the internet discussion boards. . . places where they have threads with names like “Who is the Jack of Hearts and What Do You Think He’s Doing These Days.”
Here was a place where you could literally log in from home and talk about Bob with insomniacs all over the globe, people who couldn’t fall asleep for those same burning questions that could only be answered by the man himself. ..man of mystery and seclusion, but especially since the incident involving a souvenir-seeking concert-goer, armed with a pair of styling scissors. . . for the rest of us, we guessed the internet would be a place we might find him somehow, perhaps even hiding behind his own persona and avatar. .. as one of us.
Alas, if Bob wasn’t going to give any clues to those inscrutable lyrics, here was a community of strangers that would try and channel them somehow.
And at this point I must also confess I was drawn to the photos as well, photos both showing the innocence of that unwashed moppet face,
and every incarnation of it. ..
from relaxed and happy activist mode to cocaine-addled “I don’t much give a damn mode,”
the one that was launched across an ocean in the act that would eventually be referenced as the electric tour. These performances got him tremendous praise and pummeling from fans and critics alike, some becoming so enraged and crazy they couldn’t decide whether to crown or disembowel him for that tour, especially the English leg. .
Alas I digress but that last sentence is kind of an appropriate segue into the next part of my story, the pinnacle of enlightenment and embarrassment as well as source of numerous neuroses brought on by a secondary obsession, that of posting under a pitiful series of usernames on aforementioned forum, one that, to save further embarrassment. ..shall remain nameless.
At any rate, this was a time of learning a great deal about internet entanglements and much ado about nothing. ..of how the world worked when people hid behind musical usernames and the most flattering of avatars, which made it way too easy to lob a lot of potshots and innuendoes at one another, a sordid seedy underbelly of the poetry and music scene. ..and a place where you meet some of the most interesting people. . .
enraging and engaging one another in various on and off topics, topics involving everything from the intricacies of symbolism and metaphor in music to the unabashed eruditeness of threads entitled “What color is Bob’s underwear?”. . .each of us at home, screaming, spitting and oftentimes flirting with the printed words and photos of our fellow posters, and coffee cups launched across the room with laughter. . . and other kinds of incidents involving tears, humiliation, and the craziest kind of intangible anger imaginable.
It was in this atmosphere of high anxiety and insanity that I met the muse for much of my recent work.
We started off on the most mangled and crazy foot imaginable. . . you might say. . .with myself more or less playing the role of idiot in distress and him looking past the insanity that was me. ..
to defend my honor anonymously against all manner of masked and tyrannical attack. (Admittedly I deserved it though. But will spare this gentle reader the boredom of those details. . .except to say that it was comforting to be defended in such a playfully strange and gallant way, from so far across the ocean, where he sat in his Swedish apartment, consoling with words of encouragement . . .)
We became fast friends in the private message area, where I initially thanked him for the uninvited kindness but also warned that the geography and age difference would prove to be difficult if ever we became too attached.
That all fell away in a matter of days as we more or less became inseperable as chatting companions.
In all my life, I’d never met anyone who could turn a phrase the way he did, (especially in a second language) or make me laugh and react. .finding all the right songs by indie artists I’d never heard of. .. and then passing them across on MSN, both of us blabbering on for hours and hours, me dripping and drooling with interest for his quirky and insightful criticism. . .and him just so happy with the fact that I adored it.
The most challenging thing for us, was the distance part, I guess, and we were able to bridge it a little with incessent chatting and skyping.
He often liked having someone to listen while he practiced playing guitar and singing. . . and I liked having someone to comment on my work in between sets.
Anyway, as relationships go, this whole arrangement just defies definition as again, I am considerably older and then there is the matter of distance. . .and as the days pass and the birthdays go by, I think of every reason I should be ashamed of myself. ..and sigh.
So we just take it a day at a time and I make a lot of art. . .we exchange overseas home-made presents and candy in the mail. . .and it’s lovely to come home to his puffy chartreuse envelopes, postmarked from Sweden. . .
And here, is the latest attempt at reaching out to my dear friend so far across the world. ..a gift inspired by his love of black and white photos, avante garde and bizarre images, horror and Lovecraft, the latter obsession leading to more discord and dismemberment between us than I care to elaborate on, especially when I can’t get past my own insecurities about losing him somehow. .. to the demons that take him away from me. 😉
To be continued in Part II, coming soon. (I can’t show you this before he sees it, now can I?) See you. . .