Whew. Glad that’s on record – there’s bound to be a McCain supporter or two who will change their vote now that His Bobness has spoken.
Bob Dylan – who could justifiably claim to be the architect of Barack Obama’s ‘change’ catchphrase – has backed the Illinois senator to do for modern America what the generation before did in the 1960s.
In an exclusive interview with The Times, published today, Dylan gives a ringing endorsement to Mr Obama, the first ever black presidential candidate, claiming he is “redefining the nature of politics from the ground up”.
Dylan, 67, made the comments when being interviewed in Denmark, where he stopped over in a hotel during a tour of Scandinavia.
Asked about his views on American politics, he said: “Well, you know right now America is in a state of upheaval. Poverty is demoralising. You can’t expect people to have the virtue of purity when they are poor.
“But we’ve got this guy out there now who is redefining the nature of politics from the ground up…Barack Obama.
“He’s redefining what a politician is, so we’ll have to see how things play out. Am I hopeful? Yes, I’m hopeful that things might change. Some things are going to have to.”
He added: “You should always take the best from the past, leave the worst back there and go forward into the future.”
In all seriousness, if McCain wins, I might move to Denmark. Luckily, I don’t think he stands a chance, unless something weird happens.
The Bob Dylan exhibit sounds interesting. I wish I could take a week or so off and go to England.
The haphazard process leading to the London show began nearly 20 years ago when he was approached by an editor at the American publishing company Random House. “They’d seen some of my sketches somewhere and asked if I’d like to do a whole book. Why not, you know? There was no predetermined brief. ‘Just deal with the material to hand, whatever that is. And do it however you want. You can be fussy, you can be slam-bang, it doesn’t matter.’ Then they gave me a drawing book, I took it away with me and turned it back in again, full three years later.”
Published in 1994 under the abbreviated title Drawn Blank, the resultant images had been executed both on the hoof while he was touring and in a more structured way in studios, using models (“Just anyone who’d be open to doing it”) and lights. What was going on in his life during that three-year period to inform or provide a back story to the work? “Just the usual,” Dylan shrugs, fixed in the hunkered-forward, hands-clasped position he will maintain for most of our time together. “I try to live as simply as is possible and was just drawing whatever I felt like drawing, whenever I felt like doing it. The idea was always to do it without affectation or self-reference, to provide some kind of panoramic view of the world as I was seeing it.”
Built up of work that is often contemplative, sometimes exuberant but consistently technically accomplished and engaging, that view is of train halts, diners and dockyards, barflies, dandies and uniformed drivers glimpsed in New Orleans or New York, Stockholm or South Dakota. And of women. We’re left in no doubt that Dylan likes women. “They weren’t actually there at the same time,” he notes quickly, pointing, when his page-turning reveals the painting Two Sisters, its subjects lounging, one clothed, the other naked but for her bra. “They posed separately and I put them together afterwards.”
The method used to turn them into the paintings about to go on exhibition in London involved making digital scans of the original drawings and enlarging and then transferring them on to heavy paper ready for reworking. Dylan then experimented with treating individual images with a variety of colours. “And doing so subverted the light. Every picture spoke a different language to me as the various colours were applied.”