a disease called Bob Dylan…

I remember wearing new boots… It was 1968ish and a high-school “camp” held over a weekend at Macclesfield, a small country town about as far south as Meadows. There were a couple teachers running it, but on the Saturday someone had been brought in to give a talk. We were staying on some kind of farm with accommodation split between boys and girls. Anyway, on the Saturday the son of the woman who ran the Theosophical Book store on King William Road, next door to Trims in the city, gave a presentation to further his theory that someone using the name Bob Dylan, was a poet.

The Theosophical Society used the rooms above the bookshop for their meetings, open to all. Trims was a clothes store similar but not exactly like, an army surplus. I have no idea how the son of the proprietor came to be giving a talk about Bob Dylan at our weekend holiday, either.

He was also interested in photography.

What he talked about was how you could define Bob Dylan as a poet, as if his song lyrics could be seen to be poetry. And he gave examples of “how” by quoting various songs.

We all sat around, me in my new boots, and just let him talk on and on about Bob Dylan. I had very little interest in poetry, you see, anyway. And I thought the weekend was going to be about hiking and relaxing with school friends.

But that was when the “disease” first entered my life to infect me. A disease called Bob Dylan. With words strung together in ways that could not be understood, no matter how hard you tried or how much leniency you gave him. It wasn’t until his “Christian revival” days in the 70s, or was it the 80s? that something he sang could appear to almost mean something. But even then, it came across as a disease, hitting the target which was the Vogue theatre on Belair Road, now used as a Christian Revival center. Over the years quite a few high earning US rock and rollers did songs about that “moonlight mile” of Unley to Belair Road, including Cyndi Lauper and Madonna.

So as poetry? it was pretty good “theosophy” whatever that is. Something about Madame Helena Blavatsky, a Russian psychic or spirit medium occultist or something.

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