Yes, the road.

Yes, the road.
Eagle Nest, New Mexico. “People like to drive because driving is actually and symbolically an almost perfect mechanism for escape…there is probably no human being who does not have troubles, real or imagined, from which he at times feels the need to flee.” George R. Stewart.


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Brooklin, Maine, United States
We own a 1975 GMC Sierra Grande 15 in Maine and a 1986 Chevrolet Custom Deluxe 10 in West Texas. Also a pair of 1997 Volvo 850 wagons. Average age in the fleet is 28 years--we're recycling. I've published 3 novels: THE LAW OF DREAMS (2006), THE O'BRIENS (2012), and CARRY ME (2016). Also 2 short story collections: NIGHT DRIVING(1987) and TRAVELLING LIGHT (2013). More of my literary life is at I was a Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study for 2012-13. I'm an adjunct professor at Colorado College and in the MFA program at Queens University of Charlotte. In 2015-16 I was a Fellow at Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The Autoliterate office is in Car Talk Plaza in Harvard Square, 2 floors above Dewey Cheatem & Howe. SUBSCRIBE TO THE AUTOLITERATE DAILY EMAIL by hitting the button to the right.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Rolling Thunder: Bob Dylan and Parking the Winnebago in Montreal

My Bob Dylan Autoliterate story? One night in December 1975 my sister and I were heading to the Montreal Forum (Home of Les Canadiens, back when they were a hockey team) to hear Bob and the Rolling Thunder Revue. We were on Closse Street, just behind The Forum, a few minutes before the show. I was getting a little spooked--as usual--at the prospect of having to deal with a crowd situation. I wanted to hear the Bobster, but big concerts and crowds of any sort have always made me a little...nervous. I'm a Lone Ranger kind of guy: one of the reasons I prefer the Llano Estacado to, say, Williamsburg.
                                                                        Montreal Forum 4.12.75
       Suddenly a size-large Winnebago motor home with New Hampshire ("Live Free or Die") plates slowed down, and pulled up alongside us. At the wheel, Bob, in  full "Desire"/Rolling Thunder regalia. I mean, not the white face paint, yet, but the hat, the fur jacket, etc. (See above: and the gear he wore on the "Desire" album cover.) 
         He held a puppy in his lap as he leaned out the window. "Can ya help me park this thing?"
        (All my life strangers have been asking me to help park their vehicles. This even happened in Holland, in Dutch. Maybe I look like a car jockey. Hey, if it was good enough for Neal Cassidy...)
     So with a couple of whistles and some hand signals I helped the Bobster wedge that enormous thing into a tight Montreal parking spot. Took a minute or two. And...c'est ca. I mean we weren't uncool enough to ask for an autograph or anything. We went into the Forum, my sister and I, found our seats, and heard the show, which was kind of astounding (with a lot of Canadians on board....Joni Mitchell was there, Robbie Robertson and some other band guys....was Neil Young there that night?) Joan Baez was. There's a story that Bob tried to get Leonard Cohen, a Montrealer, to join the troupe but Lenny declined.
From Concert Vault: "Although debate continues as to which Rolling Thunder performances were greatest, most agree that the December 4th Montreal show was a peak moment, if not one of the best nights of the tour. When Dylan released his first seriously thought out career retrospective box set in 1985, "Biograph," the "Romance In Durango" and cataclysmic version of "Isis" from this night's first set were chosen to represent the era." 

1 comment:

  1. A good parking job always makes me sing my best, too!