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BeeHive  >  Press Articles  >  Sing me a new song

Sing me a new song

I was at the Bob Dylan concert at the London Arena on Saturday night, listening to his complete re-working of the tunes and arrangements of another slice of his substantial back-catalogue of original songs. Bob’s well-known for this and it makes his concerts all the more entertaining. Like if you want to hear something that sounds exactly like the original recording, here’s an idea - why don’t you just listen to the original recording? That sort of thing. Anyway, it was a great concert and those of us who follow Bob love to go hear him and try to work out what songs he’s singing.

Sometimes he just changes the tune and that’s pretty easy to get, but other times he changes the whole arrangement too and that’s a bit more difficult. The hard ones, though, are where he changes not only the tune and arrangement, but he changes the words as well. That’s really difficult to pick up as, technically, it’s a new song. He also does a funny thing where he sings one song, but to the tune of another and that can be pretty weird. For instance, he was nearly half way through what I thought was ‘Man of Constant Sorrow’, when it dawned on me he was actually singing ‘Visions of Johanna’, but I got it in the end.

In fact, I got more of them than any of my friends did and all of them quicker than they did. There were only two all night that I couldn’t get at all, even by the time Bob’d finished singing them, but that itself was some sort of a record; most people around me seemed in awe of my skills.

I put it all down to the years of practice I’ve had reading and interpreting the complex and convoluted documents from the various government departments that control our pensions in this country. I mean, how many times have we all read all the way through one of their documents, got right to the end and still not had a clue what they’ve been going on about? Admit it, we’ve all been there. I think it’s the same thing really. The skills are transferable and really do have some application in real life. It’s not all a waste of time after all.

Steve Bee

First published in Pensions Management, 01/06/02