Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Dylan and the Virgin Mary: healers of the sick

Dylan has been compared to many other agenda-setters, but rarely to the Virgin Mary.

A lovely article I just re-discovered compares Dylan’s powers as a healer to that of Our Lady of Lourdes, the Catholic pilgrimage mecca in southern France.

Cultural commentator Jonathan Meades, in a typically thought-provoking piece, likens the scene at the Lourdes grotto to that of Dylan’s legendary London Earls Court gigs (published as Lourdes: a last resort - Jonathan Meades’s Sense Of Place column, in The Times, Sat 15 Jan 2005):

“It is however another performance that Lourdes brings to mind. Bob Dylan. When this genius cum charlatan… played Earls Court… his gigs were packed out by paraplegics, quadraplegics, the chair-bound and the literally legless. He might cure.”

Typical Meades juxtaposition: he will be known to some UK readers as a refreshing writer/broadcaster. I’ve been singing his praises since his first TV docs – contrarian, challenging, wholly original – were aired nearly 30 years ago.

Gerry Smith