- 10 Jun 21
As part of our 'Bob Dylan at 80' special feature, Fontaines D.C.'s Conor Deegan shares his reflections on the influence and impact of the iconic singer-songwriter.
With Bob Dylan there are many lessons to be had – the songwriter extols virtue in his early lyrics to an unparalleled degree. However noble these lessons are, I think the one that is most interesting is the idea of his realisation of self after the times they are a-changin’.
A boy of only 23-years-old was to be saddled with the weight of the world, the civil rights movement in America, and to be expected to live up to the seriousness of this. In his casting off of this identity, and to live his life for himself, he shows the world the first punk motive – that to be great in itself is not good if you’re not free.
In essence he embodies with his own life the virtues signalled by his earlier art, through the act of forsaking it. To reclaim his youth and be free was by no means an easy move, but one which paved the way for so many to come to constantly assess where they are in life, or in art. And this is a lesson for anyone who has suffered, who has lived too seriously too young, only to find life becoming a drag and the most mundane crisis.
Maybe there would have been an evolving Bowie or Sex Pistol, but the bar was there for them to climb on to. And youth culture, (read: lowbrow culture) was never the same again, through his synthesis of the naïve and the profound. And through it all he blurred the line between the intentional and the nonsensical – who really is Dylan, and how does he really feel? To be a complete unknown...
Even now in 2021, Dylan constantly reinvents himself – now into a man who actually smiles during his own concerts.
We’ll never really know Dylan. But at 80 years of age, I hope he still feels like the man who proclaimed, ‘Oh but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now’.