forever young – bob now and then

25 May, 2006 at 12:41 pm Leave a comment

dylan ... now  dylan ... then  The man turned 65 yesterday.  That's when normal people are retiring, or when people normally retire.  But Dylan is neither normal, nor does he show any signs of retiring.  "You should be able to go on for as long as you want to go on", he once told an interviewer.  Bob clearly wants to go on going on.  This is the man who wrote Forever Young – his prayer for a generation that cared.  "May you build a ladder to the stars/and climb on ever'y rung/and may you stay/forever young!"  Bob wasn't into everlasting life for just anybody.  It's a prayer for people who thought the world ought to be changed and could be changed.  It's his prayer for the generation that set out to make a difference on behalf of others.  Listen to the words!  "May God bless and keep you always/may your wishes all come true/may you always do for others/and let others do for you …"  Not for Bob the WIIFM (What's In It For Me) self-obssession of post-Thatcher western life and culture!  If you're not up for changing the world, this ain't a prayer for you!  Bob the Ruthless: "…the order is rapidly changin'/so get out of the new road if you can't lend a hand/for the times, they are a-changin'!"

When he wrote those words (bob … then), the train of the new world was just around the corner.  He could hear the whistle and the tracks were humming.  Some years later, newly converted to Christianity, Bob realised the train was perhaps a little further away than he'd anticipated.  It was a Slow Train – but it was "comin' down the tracks".  Only now, the Train was Jesus.  You see, sadly, Bob found Jesus … and lost the world!  If only he'd found the Jesus of the gospels, rather than the Jesus of right-wing American fundamentalism!  I reckon Bob and Jesus have a lot in common when it comes to the state of the world.  Both of them get highly pissed off with injustice, war and prejudice.  Jesus is far more likely to listen to All Along the Watchtower than All Things Bright and Beautiful.   He's got to like Ring Them Bells more than The Old Rugged Cross!  And John Brown vs Onward Christian Soldiers?  I mean, are you seriously suggesting there's a competition here???  Dylan "gets" Jesus on the world far better than most Christians.  He just falls apart when he goes into "Christian" mode!  Bob's at his most Christian when he's at his angriest and saddest with the way the world is.

And bob … now?  He's given up neither on Jesus nor the world.  Still hasn't got the necessary connection between the two, mind, but he's definitely on the side of the angels!  Everyone's allowed some blindspots – especially when you're young!  And Dylan's forever young – which suits me fine!  Way to go, Bob!  Happy 65th birthday!

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Entry filed under: bob dylan, christology, music.

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