Sunday, March 29, 2009

Bob Dylan's Outhouse Raising a Stink Among Neighbours

Veronica Schmidt, for Times Online, writes:

Fans might consider him a champion of civil rights, a counterculture luminary and a musical icon but Bob Dylan's Californian neighbours just think he stinks.

A family who live near the singer-songwriter's home in Malibu are outraged at what they’ve encountered blowin’ in the wind after he installed a portable toilet on his property.

David Emminger has called in the local authorities after investing in five industrial-sized fans in his garden but finding he still couldn’t send the stench back towards Dylan’s compound.

"It's a scandal,” he told the LA Times. “‘Mr. Civil Rights’ is killing our civil rights."

Of course, Schmidt couldn't avoid the all-too-obvious "blowin' in the wind" reference. Neither could any other 'journo' who picked up this story. Still, the story does have an 'amusement' factor (unless, I suppose, you happen to be one of Mr. Zimmerman's long suffering neighbours).

But, if you spin it a different way, perhaps Bob Dylan's odorous outhouse is actually a blessing in disguise. Perhaps it is an antidote to the cultural alienation of the Malibu uber-class. By selflessly posing as a sacrificial common irritant, Dylan has sparked a renewed sense of neighbourhood cohesion -- a rallying point to promote a renewed neighbourhood solidarity.

Remember the words to Brownsville Girl (penned by Dylan, in collaboration with the actor Sam Shepard):

Strange how people who suffer together have stronger
Connections than people who are most content.
I don't have any regrets;
They can talk about me plenty when I'm gone.

You always said people don't do what they believe in,
They just do what's most convenient then they repent.
And I always said, "Hang on to me, Baby.
And let's hope the roof stays on."

Or, perhaps Dylan's just being a dick. Your call.

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