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A Bob Dylan poem

I recently renovated my office at home and put up my treasured Bob Dylan poster on the wall. Not only is Bob Dylan an artistic hero of mine, he also plays a huge role for me in learning about the craft of great writing. As for the poster; the story of how I acquired it is one of my most treasured New York moments. So, in the spirit of sharing, here is a brand new poem I wrote to try and capture that moment when Bob and I crossed paths in his most famous New York haunts (metaphorically).

the hard rain

surfacing from a gig
in a dive bar
where they are handing over

chunks of the bar
and pints of Courvoisier
because they’re
“Closing down,
tonight motherfucker, tonight!”

I ask for the huge poster of
Bob Dylan
hanging on the wet wall
by the swaying bartender

“You’ve got a lot of nerve,
But, fuck yeah, take it bro”
he says
with a wink
 
I throw back my drink
balance Bob’s wiry frame
over my head
for shelter 
from the storm

freewheelin’ outside
into the concrete caverns
 
the thin mercury sound
of wild Village wind
washing rain inside my shoes

my heels 
still wandering
to the subway station
at 4th street
positively 
singing

10 incredible songs you need to listen to right now

music

Every one of these songs is a masterclass in songwriting and performance. Every one of these songs strike me deep in the heart. Every time.  Some you may have heard, some you may not have heard. Every one of these songs deserves to be heard more often. Enjoy! – Kalle

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1. May You Never – John Martyn

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2. Jesus etc. – Wilco

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3. No Children – The Mountain Goats

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4. Dance All Night – Ryan Adams

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5. Nothing But The Same Old Story – Paul Brady

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6. Pink Moon – Nick Drake

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7. Living Room – David Gray

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8. Things Have Changed – Bob Dylan

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9. Lay Me Down – The Frames

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10. Wagon Wheel – Old Crow Medicine Show

The Lonely Track – short film

One of my favourite Irish musicians is Pearse McGloughlin. His ear for melody is remarkable, and his ability to wind lyrical tapestries around them is a thing to marvel. A few years ago in advance of his second album “In Movement” being released, he commissioned a series of short 60-90 second films to accompany excerpts of songs from the forthcoming record. I was lucky enough to be asked to make one. Having never made a film, but with a deep love for the artform, I gave it a shot. I chose his song “The Lonely Track”, which was deeply atmospheric and really appealed to the storyteller in me. It is a dark and compelling tale which has, to my mind, more than a hint of Bob Dylan’s Isis from the Desire album. I shot a series of sequences on a visit to New York City and I felt that the sensation of motion & advancement was critical to the feel of the music. It was a journey that had darkness and foreboding within it, but at the end of it was the dreamlike hope that a better day was ahead. And so the film above is what turned out. It’s a bit abstract I suppose, but I really like how it turned out. And it was such a great creative task to lean on some other great art as a scaffolding to build upon, especially when I had no real sense of how to make a film. And if you haven’t listened to Pearse McGloughlin and Nocturnes music, I cannot recommend them more highly.

The Subterranean Homesick Fresh Prince of Bel Air by Bob Dylan

For the past decade or so I curated and hosted a variety night of music, spoken word poetry and sketch comedy called The Brownbread Mixtape. It was always themed and we asked along some of the finest local or touring musicians and poets to perform on the theme of the night, and I would usually write some old school radio comedy sketches that myself and the resident sketch troupe would perform. We gathered a really great following of thoughtful, warm fans over the years and it took us on great adventures to several festivals around Ireland. There are also many amazing artistic moments that stemmed from those shows that I will share in future posts. But maybe to start I’ll share this fun snapshot of the rowdy and freewheeling sort of fun we would have. Back in 2013 at one of our monthly shows, we chose the theme of “Chillin’ like Bob Dylan”. As always we made an effort to write sketches and come up with fun interactive magic moments for the audience and, so, our very own Enda Roche appeared as a very passable young Bob Dylan and he delivered this unique Subterranean Homesick Blues style interpretation of the Will Smith classic. I was literally given the cue cards as he stepped to the mic, so it made the moment as spontaneous and electrifying for me as the audience. The video is a great snapshot of the energy of the night by the brilliant Dyehouse Films, and there is an air of mischief and magic about this moment that will forever stick with me.

Dig this man!