The August edition of Lancashire Life is just out. The magazine was kind enough to give a plug to my second novel No Precedent with a bit of blurb from the back cover. They did this in the middle of a double-page spread entitled Bob Dylan’s Lancashire, written by Spencer Leigh. I’d have loved them to have made a cross-reference to the text of my novel, but that would have been asking too much. As all who read my blogs will know, I have been Dylan nut ever since a similar incident to the one described below by Bob Swarbrick in the novel.
“The winter of 1962 lasted well into the next year and was far and away the most ferocious in living memory. We were in the Lower Sixth. Coming out of that winter, the very late spring seemed like the first one ever on Planet Earth. In the middle of weather bad enough to be considered heavy even on the border line, a little-known Bob Dylan came to London to appear as a hobo folk singer in an oddball BBC play, Madhouse on Castle Street, singing the newly-written ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ over the final credits. I didn’t know anything about it at the time; in our house we were watching Frank Ifield yodelling on Sunday Night at the London Palladium. Later in 1963 though, the year Freewheelin’ was released, my independent world of thought kicked off, just at the point where Harold Wilson was elected Labour leader. I bought the album after a recommendation by John Lennon to the listening public on the Light Programme’s Saturday Club. I couldn’t believe how good it was. I’d constantly replay Hard Rain and was word perfect. I still am. Philip Larkin had duly celebrated the end of censorship, the arrival of the Beatles and the discovery of sex by the end of that cold winter, though the girls of St Chad’s were only ready for the second of those. I was just beginning to enjoy the delights of female company at the point I was introduced to Dylan. It was a feverishly exciting time.“
And a bit later:
“It’s the chaotic imagery of the archetypes that emerge from Dylan’s subconscious to the pounding rock beat that’s been my pulse throughout…”
You can take a man out of Lancashire but you can’t take Lancashire out of the man. You can’t take Bob Dylan out of him either. We’ve been together through life.