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Monday, September 29, 2014

Ask Bob: Is there something to "Nothing to It"?

The little critic-inside-the-critic sneers and taunts me:
    "So, how is the big Bob Dylan project going?"
    "Lousy. Beyond rotten. Don't ask."
    So my little critic just sits there, head tilted, with a patient smirk, expectant and waiting. Her usual pose. Me, I'm off to the English Language & Usage/ Stack Exchange, a newly discovered website where it is possible to waste hours and days exploring the nooks and crannies of the lingo we speak, earning points, badges and other rewards while possibly improving the expression of it. For merely knowing the word "moocher" indeed, I have piled up points and badges galore. Gotta love success, even the somewhat nebulous cyber-Pavlovian kind.
    But in the back of my distracted mind remains that inner critic and the Dylan-problem. Part of me says just ditch it. Abandon the intractable knot. Bequeath the headache to the grandchildren...
    My cute inner critic, however, readily pops by and starts asking pointed questions. "So, a quitter, eh?
    Well, not quite. While waiting for some sort of brainstorm on publishing my heap of Dylan-research I can still add to it. And the Basement Tapes lyric-trove, happily, has expanded with a whole album of new songs released in late 2014 with lyrics written by Dylan during the 1967 Basement Tapes period, and performed by Elvis Costello &Co. Are they too Shakespeare-based? Seems so, here's Macbeth, signifying "Nothing to It" (and that IS a dagger you see before you at about 1:47 of the video which is also the video-illo as you first encounter it on YouTube; cute, Bob, very cute). "Married to my Hack" clearly derives from All Is True aka Henry VIII. Already mentioned these two roots in detail on Twitter to dead silence and, I'm guessing, utter incomprehension. Initial indications too are that "When I Get My Hands on You" is derived from all the detached hands in the revenge-saturated Titus Andronicus--although maybe I'll let someone else do all the word-by-word, concept-by-concept, pun-by-pun analysis for me. Getting sort of weary of it.