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‘I have written a blasphemous book’, said Melville when his novel was first published in 1851, ‘and I feel as spotless as the lamb’. Deeply subversive, in almost every way imaginable, Moby-Dick is a virtual, alternative bible – and as such, ripe for reinterpretation in this new world of new media. Out of Dominion was born its bastard child – or perhaps its immaculate conception – the Moby-Dick Big Read: an online version of Melville’s magisterial tome: each of its 135 chapters read out aloud ...
 
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show series
 
Belfast’s Steven Cockcroft (co-host of leading Beatles podcast Nothing Is Real) offers unexpected takes on The Boys and Bob: “Roll On John isn’t about an individual, it’s about the sanctification of Lennon” and “The Travelling Wilburys was a calculated move by George”. Also on the menu: Dylan’s questionable harmonies on an obscure Ringo album track…
 
Our special culinary episode with critic Eric Asimov includes the story of long-time Dylan bass player Tony Garnier’s delicious Christmas gumbo and Dylan’s wine-making venture, Planet Waves (“the wine has aged better than the album”). A fan since hearing “I Want You” the age of eight, Eric is “drawn to the atmosphere Bob creates. It’s misty. It’s a…
 
Singer, songwriter and saxophonist Curtis Stigers tells us true stories with a cast of characters including Van Morrison, Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan. A fan from way back (“Bob is the perfect creation. He’s an art form in himself”), his jazzy cover versions include Things Have Changed (“people go nuts for that song. Their heads explode”). A committe…
 
Comic actor Thom Tuck discovered Bob Dylan when, growing up in Bangladesh, he caught the promo for Subterranean Homesick Blues on MTV Rewind. His family eventually returned to Leeds, where his outsider status was made even worse/better by his obsession with all things Bob. At university, he didn’t improve his lot by writing a play called “One More …
 
Fellow podcaster Laura Tenschert’s Definitely Dylan contains multitudes of theories and insights which she shares in this eye-opening episode. German-born Laura learned English by listening to Bob, which gave her sharper ears than most. Dozens of songs are given forensic treatment, ranging from classics like Lord Protect My Child and Buckets of Rai…
 
Writer and musician Richard Strange insists “If you don’t want to be Bob Dylan, you shouldn’t be writing songs”. He takes us on a journey that starts in his Brixton comprehensive (“I was always bunking off, going to art galleries and the haunted, dingy Soho flesh-pot folk clubs”). He discovers “the boy band of Beat literature: Burroughs, Kerouac an…
 
Author, editor and podcaster Andy Miller is mad as hell and he’s not going to take it anymore: “Bob Dylan is not a safe option!” “The heritage industry around the Beatles and Dylan is neutering the anarchy of the music. The world sees me as just another bloke buying a Dad Rock box set at Christmas. But it’s not a hygienic vision of what rock ‘n’ ro…
 
Music journalist Kate French-Morris, 29, found her calling in a University of California class taught by Greil Marcus (“he gets closer to Bob’s mind than anyone can, with his sideways thinking and his cattiness”). Kate shares a birthday with Dylan, but her main man might be Bruce Springsteen, who figures strongly in this, our first studio recording…
 
While held captive for 32 months by Somali pirates, writer and Dylan fan Michael Scott Moore had plenty of opportunity to contemplate lyrics, especially All Along The Watchtower. He was given a Bible during his captivity and discovered, in Isaiah, “the ramparts, the princes, the two horsemen and the wildcat. The whole song clicked! It’s about the f…
 
Comedy writer Daniel Radosh initiated the Twitter hashtag #BD969, celebrating every officially released Dylan song, as well as posting four playlists for The 80th Birthday: Bob Dylan For Beginners. We discuss these gems and open up the contentious topic of Dylan’s album cover art, from best to worst and everything in between. Other albums covered i…
 
Jonathan Taplin, former road manager for The Band, has done it all. He set up the equipment for Dylan’s electric set at Newport in ‘65 (“the soundcheck lasted ten minutes”) and was production manager for Dylan and The Band at the Guthrie Tribute in ’68. He organised the groundbreaking Concert For Bangladesh and produced the concert and film of The …
 
Ann Powers, writer and lead music critic for America’s National Public Radio, joins us from her East Nashville home to discuss gender, sexuality and “the body” in Bob Dylan’s work. Sparked off by an emotional encounter involving Joni Mitchell, Ann compares Mitchell’s work with Dylan’s and discusses other groundbreaking female artists like Roberta F…
 
Journalist Richard Williams joins us to talk Dylan and to surf “the waves of his career”, from Freewheelin’ (“one revelation after another”) to Murder Most Foul (“I was astonished by it. The level of detail. It’s like a John Coltrane quartet.”). Richard reminds us of “one of the great things I learned from Dylan: if you don’t understand something, …
 
Music and political journalist John Harris joins us just before Bob Dylan’s 80th birthday to celebrate the man with “the wink and the nod and the little impish skip” as well as the man who gives us “the solace of emptiness”. Mr Harris is not afraid to go against the grain: “”Love And Theft” is as good as Highway 61 or Blood On The Tracks”. As for J…
 
Nashville musician Charlie McCoy’s Dylan-related achievements include those distinctive guitar licks on Desolation Row, that blues harmonica on Obviously Five Believers (a rare example of another person playing harp on a Dylan session) and the inventive bass lines on John Wesley Harding, Nashville Skyline and Self Portrait. His motto: “Say yes - an…
 
Musician and writer Michael Simmons has written dozens of Dylan cover pieces for MOJO magazine, as well as incisive liner notes for Another Self Portrait and Bob Dylan 1970. “I remember where I was when Kennedy was assassinated and I remember the exact moment I heard Like A Rolling Stone. It sounded like freedom.” He praises Bob as both “a revoluti…
 
To mark our 50th episode, writer and podcaster Tom Jackson gives us his clear-eyed take on Dylan’s “Born Again” albums: Slow Train Coming, Saved, Shot Of Love and Trouble No More. “Slow Train Coming is not a smooth record, not a pleasant record, but I enjoy the tension.” And the accompanying live performances? “They were church services, really. Bu…
 
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