Monday, February 9, 2015

Dylan story: the sequel

Somewhere in the vast archives of this blog I recounted this banal and fabulous celebrity story. It is a favorite of mine and is perhaps even the starting point for the frequent visitations of the hilarious Bob Dylan to clerkmanifesto.

I don't expect you to remember the story. Wait, no, I do expect you to remember everything, but I recognize that that is a frankly bizarre expectation, so I will happily recount the story here, and then add its absolutely delightful new encore.

I have a friend who is a teacher (he is free to step forward in the comments and take a small bow if he likes), a professor now, I guess, but more of a teacher then, though I suppose it is all the same. More than 20 years ago he was single and he had a friend in the L.A. music business. This friend was friends with one of Dylan's managers, someone who knew Dylan personally. The two of them hatched the idea that my friend and Bob Dylan's daughter should go on a date. In the development process of this grand project the idea found its way to Bob Dylan. Why he had anything to do with it is beyond me, but whatever. It came to Bob Dylan.

"What's he do?" Bob Dylan supposedly asked about my friend.

"He's a teacher."

"I don't want my daughter dating a teacher." Dylan said, and the proposal was dead.

My friend's response to all of it was charming and amusingly awestruck. "To think that I was in his consciousness for even a moment."

I don't know why exactly, maybe because it's fun to imitate Bob Dylan's voice saying dismissively "I don't want my daughter dating a teacher.", but I've told that story a lot. I like it.

Now, fast forward 23 or 24 years. Fast forward to right now. Bob Dylan has a new album of standards. He has granted his first official sort of interview in three years. And what astonishing, fabulous, hilarious and wonderful thing does dear Bob Dylan say in this interview?

"If I had to do it all over again, I'd be a schoolteacher."


  1. That was me! And one tiny correction: it was my agent friend's idea to have me go on a date with her. I was completely out of the picture. If I had known this might be a possibility I would likely have not slept for days and eaten many, many cookies in anticipation of the possible date.

    I would also add, Dear Readers of Clerkmanifesto, that if you read and reread Dylan's speech from his MusicCares tribute, you'll find many hidden references to me: "Come gather round people wherever you roam," for example, has the pronoun 'people' in there. That's not just any people, that's me, who Bob Dylan has always meant to apologize to, and did so in song, many songs. Remember this one: "There's a slow, slow train comin' up around the bend"? Well, I'm in that that train, the guy who wasn't allowed to date his daughter, and the day of reckoning is at hand. I imagine it would have been weird, though. I mean, we would have had to really hit it off to get from out of the shadow of her dad. How could I not have said, in the midst of a dinner date, "So...that "Jokerman" song...." "What's Donovan really like?"

    1. Ah, horrors! I was unclear! Yes, when I say the two of them hatched an idea I did mean the agent friend and Dylan's manager person. I did understand you were out of the loop on this.

      I am fascinated by all the cryptic references to you. Apparently Dylan can't let his slight of you go! But, I ask you, perhaps Dylan was setting you on the course of your life, that is, in denying the date he was making sure you would find your wife and that your children would be born.

      Aye, he is like the godfather of your children!

      Of course, this would be more certain if he sent them birthday gifts.


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