Is It Rolling, Bob? Talking Dylan
Sarfraz Manzoor

Sarfraz Manzoor

August 11, 2019

Blinded By The Light screenwriter Sarfraz Manzoor joins us for an unexpected “Bob Meets Bruce” episode. A passionate Dylan man, Sarfraz first saw Bob in 1990, camping out with other hardcore fans for tickets at Hammersmith Odeon (he tips his hat to the legendary ‘Lambchop’).
 
Topics include Oh Mercy (“...it feels like a contemporary album. That swampy, darker take on things feels right for now”) and Bob’s age when he recorded it (“he seemed a Methuselah-like prophet, but was the same age I am now!”). In our three-way conversation, Dylan shares centre stage with Springsteen: Sarfraz is a big fan of their “appalling” live duet of Highway 61 Revisited. Don’t miss this surprising episode with the summer’s filmic man of the moment.
 
Born in Pakistan, Sarfraz Manzoor is a British journalist, documentary maker and broadcaster. He is a regular contributor to The Guardian, presenter of documentaries on television and radio and a cultural commentator who appears on programmes such as Radio 4’s Saturday Review. His memoir, Greetings From Bury Park, was published in 2007. He co-wrote the just-released film Blinded By The Light, based on his book.

https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/whats-on/film-news/manchester-author-sarfraz-manzoor-16627048

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2019/jul/27/sarfraz-manzoor-bruce-springsteen-and-amolak-changed-my-life

Twitter: @sarfrazmanzoor

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Recorded 4th February 2019

Sheila Atim

Sheila Atim

July 28, 2019

Sheila Atim - actress, singer, writer - won an Olivier Award for her performance as Marianne in Girl From The North Country, which transferred to the West End from London’s Old Vic. Sheila takes us behind the scenes of the most successful theatre adaptation of Dylan’s work.

Did Bob come to see it? “I had a fantasy of him in a trench coat and hat, leaving a little post-it note at the stage door, saying “well done”. But that didn’t happen. A mug with his name on it was printed for him. I don’t know who has it now!”

Sheila Atim’s acting credits include Othello (Shakespeare’s Globe), The Tempest and Julius Caesar (Donmar Warehouse) and Les Blancs (National Theatre) as well as work for the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal Court. This year, she begins filming the much-anticipated prequel to Game of Thrones (HBO). ANGUIS, Sheila’s first stage play, opens 31 July 2019 at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

http://avalonuk.com/olivier-award-winning-actor-sheila-atim-brings-first-written-play-to-edinburgh-festival-fringe/

Twitter: @sheila_atim

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Recorded 16th January 2019

Stephen Unwin

Stephen Unwin

July 14, 2019

Theatre director Stephen Unwin joins Luke and Kerry for one of their widest-ranging discussions; from Unwin’s favourite album The Times They Are A-Changin’ to The Bootleg Series Vol 8: Tell Tale Signs and Tempest. Topics include Bob and Brecht, Dylan and The Dead (“like orange juice and milk”), his disbelief in Tom Waits and his amazement at Bob’s awards ceremony persona (“such a tiny, eccentric, weird little guy!”).
 
Tracks explored include Early Roman Kings (“can I be bothered with this?”) and North Country Blues (“deep American poetry”). Along the way, the mysterious location of the Red River Shore is cleared up and Roll On John is pronounced “a fantastic song”.

Stephen Unwin is a director, writer and teacher. In the 1980s he was Associate Director at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh. He founded English Touring Theatre in 1993, was resident director at the National Theatre Studio and in 2008 opened the Rose Theatre, Kingston, where he was Artistic Director. As well as directing more than fifty plays and operas, he has written eight books on theatre and drama, along with four original plays. He has translated twelve foreign language plays, written numerous articles in books and newspapers and has taught at drama schools and universities in Britain and the USA.

Website: http://www.stephenunwin.uk/

Twitter: @RoseUnwin

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Recorded 11th January 2019

More Michael Gray

More Michael Gray

July 6, 2019

 

In our second Michael Gray episode, the noted Dylan authority exults in Bob’s legendary 1984 David Letterman appearance: “he breaks through the oleaginous smear that is American television and creates an authentic moment”. He goes on to describe “the fairly heavy occasion” backstage at Earl’s Court in 1978 with his young son, who bums a biro off Bianca Jagger to seek Bob’s forbidden (left-handed) autograph.

Countless tracks and albums are measured up, praised or dismissed, including the recent Sinatra years: “horrible finger snapping”. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear unvarnished opinions and future plans from the man who changed the face of Dylan criticism.

Michael Gray is a world authority on the work of Bob Dylan. His Song & Dance Man: The Art of Bob Dylan, published in 1972, was the first full-length critical study of Dylan’s work. Its massive third edition, Song & Dance Man III (2000), is an essential part of any Dylan fan’s bookshelf. Michael's vast Bob Dylan Encyclopedia (2006) won the International Association of Music Libraries’ C.B. Oldman Prize. Another major work, Hand Me My Travelin’ Shoes: In Search of Blind Willie McTell, was published in 2007.

His articles have been published in Rolling Stone, The Times, Literary Review, Independent, Guardian, Observer, Sunday Times, Weekend Telegraph, Independent on Sunday, Sunday Telegraph, Melody Maker, Uncut and many more.

Website: www.michaelgray.net

Twitter: @1michaelgray1

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Recorded 12th June 2019

Michael Gray

Michael Gray

June 30, 2019

We devote our next two episodes to Michael Gray, one of this podcast’s literary heroes. Seems we owe it all to Linda, the university girlfriend who introduced him to Bob’s work. “Coming from a rock ‘n’ roll background, I had no interest in folk-clubbery; it just seemed weird”. Soon he was marvelling at the poetry and, at Liverpool in 1966, Dylan’s “extraordinary ability to recite at length, stoned out of his head, yet word perfect.”

Michael talks us through the various editions of his classic Song & Dance Man, from the slim first edition to the gigantic third version, which Uncut called “dazzlingly brilliant... an intellectual tour de force... an essential companion”. In between, we hear about his relationship with “the bony figure who came through the middle of the curtain” and changed his life.

Michael Gray is a world authority on the work of Bob Dylan. His Song & Dance Man: The Art of Bob Dylan, published in 1972, was the first full-length critical study of Dylan’s work. Its massive third edition, Song & Dance Man III (2000), is an essential part of any Dylan fan’s bookshelf. Michael's vast Bob Dylan Encyclopedia (2006) won the International Association of Music Libraries’ C.B. Oldman Prize. Another major work, Hand Me My Travelin’ Shoes: In Search of Blind Willie McTell, was published in 2007.

His articles have been published in Rolling Stone, The Times, Literary Review, Independent, Guardian, Observer, Sunday Times, Weekend Telegraph, Independent on Sunday, Sunday Telegraph, Melody Maker, Uncut and many more.

Website: www.michaelgray.net

Twitter: @1michaelgray1

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Twitter @isitrollingpod

Recorded 12th June 2019

Dorian Lynskey

Dorian Lynskey

June 16, 2019

At age 14, journalist Dorian Lynskey had a “huge resentment” towards Bob Dylan and the “horrible old has-beens” in the Traveling Wilburys: “SCREW YOU! GET OUT OF THE WAY!” Young Dorian continued to be unmoved by Dylan’s 1997 heart condition: “Oh, I guess he’s dying now: Time Out Of Mind is the mortality album”.
 
He has since revised his opinion. “I like his weird, apocalyptic psycho-geography of America.” He admires the man’s indifference: “Piss off. I’m going to disappoint you again”. In-depth discussions include: Masters Of War, the upcoming Neil Young Hyde Park concert, Greil Marcus, Chronicles Volume One and the best Dylan cover versions (check out Phil Flowers And The Flower Shop’s version of Like A Rolling Stone).
 
Dorian’s books include The Ministry Of Truth: A Biography of George Orwell’s 1984, 33 Revolutions Per Minute: A History of Protest Songs and The Guardian Book of Playlists. He writes on music for The Guardian, was music critic for The Big Issue and has freelanced for Q, GQ, Mojo, Word, Spin, Empire and The Observer.
 
Ministry of Truth webpage
 
Twitter: @Dorianlynskey
 
Podcast: Remainiacs

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Recorded 28th May 2019

Jonjo O’Neill

Jonjo O’Neill

June 2, 2019

Actor Jonjo O’Neill tells the true story of how Bob Dylan changed his life. Coming to Blowin' In The Wind through a dodgy guitar teacher in Catholic Belfast, moving on to full-blown Dylan conversion through Scorsese documentary No Direction Home, realising that Bob is “a messianic boy who ends up, like Jesus, saying: "Why, Father?"”
 
He continues: “I placed myself as the character of 'Bob'. I felt totally intoxicated by playing him. I felt the drama of what he was doing. I wanted to be Bob Dylan. I was jealous that no one else got to do it!” Join us for one of our most unexpected episodes.

Jonjo O’Neill, born in 1978, is an Associate Artist with the Royal Shakespeare Company, where he played Richard III and Mercutio. He also has strong connections with the Royal Court Theatre. On film and television, Jonjo is best known for DefianceDoctor Who, The Assets, The Fall, Constantine, Patrick Melrose and the final, stagecoach section of the Coen Brothers film, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.

Website: https://jonjooneill.com/
 
Twitter: @ONeillJonjo

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Recorded 25th February 2019

Dan Rebellato

Dan Rebellato

May 19, 2019

Professor and playwright Dan Rebellato sets out his stall by praising Dylan’s simplicity, his humour and his relationship to the spiritual world. “I was raised on Bob Dylan. The album John Wesley Harding gave me nightmares but I love it for its religion – it’s exactly as Christian as I like my Bob.”

If you don’t know John Wesley Harding, this episode is your way in. If you do know it, Dan will take you deeper. “Suddenly, he becomes a storytelling songwriter. He’s no longer mocking the conventions of storytelling. There’s something epic and foreboding about these stories, something deeply fearful and puzzling about this record.”

Dan Rebellato is Professor of Contemporary Theatre at Royal Holloway, University of London. He has written over twenty plays for BBC radio and another sixteen for the stage, performed at the Edinburgh Assembly Rooms, Theatre 503, the Arcola and the National Theatre. His radio work has been nominated twice for Sony Awards. Dan writes regularly for The Guardian Theatre Blog.

Twitter: @danrebellato

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Recorded 28th January 2019

 

Larry “Ratso” Sloman

Larry “Ratso” Sloman

May 5, 2019

From New York, it’s the legendary Larry “Ratso” Sloman, author of On The Road With Bob Dylan, the up-close-and-personal story of the 1975 Rolling Thunder tour. Ratso shoots the breeze with Luke and Kerry about Bob, Joan, Sara, Joni, Roger, Renaldo, Clara and the rest of the gang. The Scorsese Rolling Thunder Revue doc is previewed and his new album discussed.

From his beginnings as a suburban teenage accountant to hanging out with the foulmouthed Fugs, blagging his way into Rolling Stone magazine, accosting Dylan outside a beauty parlour and being invited on tour, to recording a duet opposite Nick Cave (with flute by Warren Ellis) - it’s been a long, strange trip.

Our conversation with Ratso includes Stubborn Heart album producer Vincent Cacchione.

Ratso Sloman was known as Larry until Joan Baez changed his name. He has written books on Houdini, David Blaine, Mike Tyson, Howard Stern and Anthony Kiedis. He has directed a Dylan video, edited National Lampoon and written a history of marijuana in America. More importantly, Ratso has a Master’s Degree in Deviance and Criminology.

Podcast: Ratso & Friends

Twitter: @ratsosloman

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Recorded 10th April 2019

 

 

Trailer

Trailer

April 26, 2019

Featuring guests:

Billy Bragg

David Baddiel

Kenneth Cranham

David Morrissey

Barb Jungr

Larry 'Ratso' Sloman

David Hepworth

Sheila Atim

Paul Morley