Gray study

Michael Gray, who as the author of Song and Dance Man and The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia is somebody who can get me to change my mind (or at least revisit my opinions) about anything Bob Dylan-related, has listened to Christmas in the Heart and found it good. In fact, he loves it and admires it, which is a reaction just about completely the opposite of mine.

Reading the post, I instantly imagined a Dylanesque take on A Christmas Carol in which Gray, as the Spirit of Dylan Albums Present,  snatches away my earbuds and warns me of the consequences if I fail to join the Perry Como chorus. I then notice two Prada-clad figures huddled at his feet.

“Are these yours?”

“They are man’s. They are Hipness and Snark. Beware the last one particularly — especially in the Internet era, when no blog post can be lived down!”

“Is there no forgetting?”

“Are there no remainder bins? No Amazon Marketplace? No Half.com?”

I am then visited my the Spirit of Dylan Albums Past, who reminds me of the Dylan discs I now love, or at least enjoy, years after I scoffed at them. (“Street Legal, hey? Remember that?”) And then the Spirit of Dylan Albums Yet to Come reduces me to gibbering in terror by pointing to a Sony Legacy catalogue with multi-disc “Bootleg Series” sets of outtakes from Self Portrait and Knocked Out Loaded. No! Noooooooo!

Anyway, I don’t know if I’ll make like Nick and do an Alastair Sim about Christmas in the Heart. So I’ll just congratulate Michael on the 10th anniversary of Song and Dance Man, a book that will continue to dominate the field of Dylan criticism decades from now.

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