Saturday, January 24, 2015

Bob Dylan's 115th Dream

Bob’s friends in New York:
Jailed for harpoon possession.
That’s the least of it.

"Bob Dylan's 115th Dream," which appeared as the last song on side one of "Bringing It All Back Home" in 1965, is a long, ridiculous saga that can scarcely be stuffed into 17 sounds. I wrote this one about 10 times before producing the present defensive maneuver that you see here. Here's the longer story, which involves Bob discovering the New World with a gang of lusty sailors aboard the Mayflower. They're promptly jailed, though Bob breaks out and encounters a variety of freaks and geeks all over lower Manhattan while trying to spring his crew. As he passes Christopher Columbus on his three ships on the way out of town, he wishes them a cynical "good luck."

1. Bob and Captain Arab sail the Mayflower and take a break from hunting Moby Dick after espying land.
2. They name the place America and buy it from the natives, paying beads as the Dutch did for New Amsterdam/Manhattan. A cop arrests them for carrying harpoons.
3. Bob gets directions to a Bowery-area protest from a cow. He joins in, then realizes he's hungry.
4. He orders crepes suzette from a bewigged etiquette book writer doubling as a chef. Bad moonlight option, no doubt, as the kitchen explodes from boiling fat.
5. Bob goes to the bank to borrow money to make bail for his crewmates. He drops his pants when asked for collateral. He ends up in an alley, meets a French girl, goes to her place, gets beaten up by her boyfriend.
6. He asks a guy for help. Guy says, get off my property. Dylan compares himself to Jesus. The guy knows better than to buy that.
7. After a cameo encounter by one of the Beatles, he visits a funeral parlor. The funeral director can't help his crewmates unless they're dead.
8. He decides to abandon his quest and finds a parking ticket on the mast of the ship. The coast guard interrogates him, but lets him go.
9. He hears that Arab is stuck on a whale married to the jail's deputy sheriff. Christopher Columbus and his crew shows up. Bob exits.




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