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Ah get born, keep warm
Short pants, romance, learn to dance
Get dressed, get blessed
Try to be a success
Please her, please him, buy gifts
Don’t steal, don’t lift
Twenty years of schoolin’
And they put you on the day shift
Look out kid
They keep it all hid
Better jump down a manhole
Light yourself a candle
Don’t wear sandals
Try to avoid the scandals
Don’t wanna be a bum
You better chew gum
The pump don’t work
‘Cause the vandals took the handles.
–Bob Dylan, Subterranean Homesick Blues
Aug, 1964 Hotel DelMonico, New York City:
After much anticipation and excitement, Dylan meets the Beatles for the first time. . .his jealousy over their “bubble gum” success almost palpable. . .
As the story goes, the unwashed phenomenon offers the fab four their first marijuana cigarette and bam, music is changed forever.
At least that is what they say anyway. It was the drugs that did it.
Fine. I will grant you that one in theory. No doubt the sloshing and slowdown of brain function had an impact. . .there’s zero denying that. Love minus zero denying the altered state and how it changes things. And if you want to go to that altar and worship the gods of creativity, you can use drugs to do it. . .
Or you can just let the awkardly emo chips fall where they may.
There is a price to pay for imbibing. . .no denying that either. And speaking strictly for me, I would have to admit that my own delicate physiological state can’t absorb the shock of it so I choose to abstain. . . not out of any kind of moral high ground choice. . .it’s just simply a result of cause, effect and lesson learned. I simply cannot handle the crash that follows a high. It feeds these suicidal tendencies, ones that I already have a hard enough time with, minus any other kind of input from unprescribed chemistry. But there is also a price to pay for sobriety, especially when it comes to friends and fitting in, having something significant to offer in a situation wherein many of the participants are saying things you really can’t relate to. . .
It’s not hip to open that can of worms, I know. And I await the backlash to come. But whatever. (I still say that 40 minutes of meditation does a kickass job at calming the nerves and relieving social anxiety, without the accompanying slowdown of actual awareness followed by a significant chemistry crash and paranoia. And people forget to mention it. ..especially in a culture dominated by a consumer mindset, one that says if you are lacking something, especially charisma, creativity, self-confidence, there’s an app for that.)
Again, you get screwed up for turning it down too. . .you spend a lot of artist time alone for being such a square that way. . . That’s life, I guess.
So anyway, back to the Beatles vs. Bob and August 1964.
And a question for you to ponder. Just suspend your belief system for a minute with me here, and then let go of everything you know about music and drugs. Then consider this question and proposal if you will:
What happens when strong emotional input follows intellectual stimulation, mixed with a bit of jealous venom from the guy who could/would smash the competition in a single strum?
And there is just no denying it. Something happened that day. ..something that had a massive impact on the fab four plus one. So here we go again. ..which one had the most impact that day? The weed or the seed? Maybe a bit of both; you decide.
No doubt it had to hurt the first time the boys heard Bob’s unabashedly sneering parody of Norwegian Wood. . .
Enough for them to have wanted to break free of that kind of scrutiny, looking for the cracks in the floor, lettin the shortcomings slip into them. . .
And what ARE you really saying with your art when all you do is sit in a room and pencil dream about some girl who’s got you by the short and curly:
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And then enter Yoko, who was undeservingly designated as breakup scapegoat for a lot of years. . .I guess if you forget about Bob, you might want to grab a club and go after that, but think about it. That moment when Dylan saunters out of the room after having been introduced to the newest Lennon/McCartney collaboration.
Think of it again. Hard. Imagine half of that creative team walking away that much more determined in his resolve to writing “Silly Love Songs,” and the other just feeling crushed and stuck to the bottom of Bob’s bootheel.
And now to drive it home and see if I can get there without anybody getting hurt by this rant. ..(with apologies to Doors fans as well as anybody who has to deal with the insanity of the prison industrial complex, one that punishes us all for just trying to escape this ratrace and make some art. Love to you all. xoxo)
This is your brain on drugs:
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This is your brain on Bob.