posted a day late.
I’ve never been a great Dylan fan. Sure, I’ve listened to his songs, and have liked quite a few. When I think of Dylan, there are three things that come to my mind. Long, long songs; bits of great poetry; and the fact that he seems to constantly sing through his nose.
So I googled it, that singing through the nose bit. And got ‘about 368000′ results, most of which (I went through 25 pages) seemed to give rather detailed information on how NOT to sing through your nose!
And then, one wonders why. Is it that the sound is unpleasant? Is it reflective of an ambivalent attitude to doing things the ‘proper’ way? Does it display a lack of culture, of refinement? Is it non-sexy? I don’t know, I’m asking. And that leads to a few more questions. How does one define a pleasant sound? Whose perspective? Do things always need to be done the ‘proper’ way? Is there another way of doing it? Is being ‘refined’ important? Whose definition of refinement do we go by? Is it important to be ‘sexy’? And the question that, for me, it all seems to lead to-is there something one is saying when one sings through one’s nose? Is there a message somewhere? Is there a politics to singing through your nose?
If one were to sing, as Dylan sometimes did, of the poor, of the oppressed, what would it sound like? Would one try to make it pleasant? ‘Proper’? Refined? Sexy? Is that what is important? Or would one sing a song with jagged edges, like a broken bottle? Songs that smash through the middle-class complacency we live in? Songs that will hurt and shred and tear at the walls we have built around ourselves? Songs sung through one’s nose?
And today’s the man’s birthday. So hey. Have a nice day, old man. But more importantly, tomorrow is the anniversary of the movement in Singur against forcible acquisition of land. The land that is being used to build the Nano-the car that will solve India’s transportation problems. That is the epitome of the great Indian dream. That is being built by the company that has an image that it cares for India. The marvelous one lakh car. The people’s car. The car that is being built on stolen land.
I don’t know, honestly. I still am not a great Dylan fan. But I’m beginning to think maybe, just maybe, it’s time to start singing through my nose.