Bob Dylan – The Gabe Files

Did you know that Bob Dylan's last name was Zimmerman?

Did you know that Bob Dylan's last name was Zimmerman?

I sometimes say that I am the opposite of autistic. I would describe myself as empathetic, intuitive, good communicator, sociable, flexible, and completely lacking in spatial awareness (I get lost all the time). But there is one characteristic I share with my son Michael – obsessions or special interests. My current obsession is Bob Dylan and I have been obsessed with the world’s greatest singer-songwriter for the past couple of years.

Don’t get me wrong. I have always liked the man, but I was not previously obsessed with him. In fact, I recall borrowing a tape (yes, you heard me right – a tape) of Bob Dylan songs from the local library when I was in my early teens. I shared a room with my older sister Lisa and let me tell you, she was none to impressed with me playing that tape. She is a bit sensitive to sound and there was something in the quality of his nasal breathing that disturbed her greatly. I can’t for the life of me understand the problem.

Anyway, my obsession began after inadvertently watching on TV the Martin Scorsese directed  ‘No Direction Home: Bob Dylan.” If you haven’t seen it – JUST DO IT! It is brilliant and has some of the best interviews with the man himself, that I’ve seen. As you will be aware he doesn’t like being interviewed. Maybe he really likes Martin Scorsese.

After watching the best documentary ever, I began collecting every Bob Dylan album ever made. Then I began to play every Bob Dylan album ever made; and I didn’t stop for a year. I had my 6 stacker CD player in the car full of Bob Dylan albums. I had, and still do have, Bob Dylan albums piled up and spilling all over the place in the living room. I drove my little 6 year-old Tessa crazy. Michael, on the other hand, just loves Bob Dylan (isn’t he a champion and great taste in music) and never complained. After a year of endlessly playing Bob Dylan albums, and reading biographies and anything else I could get my hands on, I started to calm down a bit. I regained composure and now play Bob intermittently, as is the way of a well-balanced person.

A collective sigh of relief was heard emanating from the Bryden clan (minus Michael, bless his heart).

Earlier this year, however, on a long trip home from Brisbane to Woodgate after visiting my mother, I had the urge to put on ‘The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan’. I had put off playing Bob Dylan because I didn’t want to annoy the sound-sensitive Tessa. All was quiet in the back seat and I thought Tessa might even be asleep; beaudy, at last I can play Bob Dylan. I started playing the album and after a couple of songs a little voice chirped from the rear “Mummy, I’ve got an earache.”

“Oh no, that’s no good. How long have you had it Tessa?” I asked in a concerned voice.

“Since you put Bob Dylan on!”

There’s no accounting for tastes, is there!

20 thoughts on “Bob Dylan – The Gabe Files

  1. Gabrielle! There is something synchronicitous with us. This happened to me twenty years ago. The Dylan songs are burned into the structure of my thinking. There will always be there for you too now. This is a good thing.

  2. What’s not to get? He is and always will be the greatest singer songwriter to walk this (or possibly any other) planet. I share a birthday with the great man… born thirty years after. I once wrote in a poem, ‘Bob, you’re singing all my poems for me’. This has got me all fired up for a big day of Dylan listening… Freewheelin’ just might get the first play… and as you can see over at my blog, I have just been charting the soundtrack to my day. So time to add Bob into the mix.

  3. I adore Bob Dylan’s music. And smiling at the difference between how Tessa and Michael experience his music!

    I relate very much to obsessive interests. I’m very, very project-oriented and focused, and sometimes people have a hard time understanding those traits in me, and yup, like you, when I discover a new passion, it’s complete immersion — research, eating, sleeping, and breathing the topic. 🙂

  4. I think I am like Tessa; my ears don’t work for Dylan. He is too not-Miles Davis or JS Bach (another jazz guy). But I do understand the obsession thing! I think it’s part of how the creative types learn. If a little Dylan is good, listening to it 24/7 is probably even better. Of course.

    • I also love Miles Davis and jazz in general – most forms of music actually. For me Bob Dylan is about the lyrics and his life story, which is reflected in the lyrics – his personality – it’s a bit like a cult – he gets in your head. I can understand why some people don’t like his music – only he can get away with having out of tune instruments (earlier stuff) and sound mixing from hell (the harp is way to loud in a lot of earlier stuff).

  5. My 6 year old is a HUGE Dylan fan! (His dad is an even bigger fan–no surprise!) He also loves Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, and Michael Franti. Great that you can share music with your son even if Tessa isn’t a huge fan!

    • Well let me say your six year old and her Dad have impeccable tastes. It is great sharing music (brainwashing) with your kids. Michael is open to most forms of music whereas Tessa is very particular (she’s more into heavy metal like her Dad!).

  6. Hi Gabrielle. I enjoy Dylan’s music but am not obsessive about him. But I can see how easily that might happen to anyone his musical essence invades. His lyrics are incredible. If he didn’t ‘sing’, I think he’d be a GREAT POET. I hope you get a chance to catch the radio show, which judging from the promos on KKFI could be very interesting—unless you’ve read/heard it all before.

  7. Pingback: Desire for Sameness (The Autism Files) | Gabrielle Bryden's Blog

  8. Pingback: Desire for Sameness (The Autism Files) | Gabe Feathers McGee

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