diamond geezer

 Friday, January 20, 2017

It's not every day that Bob Dylan appropriates your photograph, or at least it's not every day the world finds out that he did. Several people were interested. Actually that would be an understatement.

The world of Twitter got excited. Gizmodo gave it a mention. Various internet forums posted a link, including the venerable b3ta and a longstanding Dylan-related board. Not all the commenters there were impressed - they reckoned it could have been anybody's photo, and they objected to me being described as an "esteemed blogger". Various sarcastic gifs were deployed.

Then the newspapers got in touch. The Evening Standard wanted a chat, but it wasn't a good day for a chat, so they went silent. The Daily Telegraph were next, and the i paper, and then the Blackpool Gazette (which pleased me, because they're local news). These three journalists also wanted a chat, but were happy with email instead, aided by the fact that I'd already posted several of my thoughts on the matter online. One of the contactees even said they were a long time reader, which was nice.

All of the journalists at all of the newspapers were professional and pleasant, as you'd hope and expect. Both the national newspapers offered payment for use of the photo, which is as it should be, and in both cases I asked them to send the fee to charity. The RNLI have done rather well out of my trip to Blackpool, having previously earned £50 through corporate use of a completely different photo taken from the same pier.

One particularly cheering thing was that Hilda commented on my post - she was the lady who discovered the Blackpool link in the first place. I also received an appreciative email from Scott Warmuth, who'd been the researcher who initially contacted me about the Blackpool connection. And still the readers kept coming, mostly from Twitter, making Wednesday the third most popular day this blog has ever experienced.

The i newspaper whipped out their story first, whereas the Daily Telegraph's had to wait until their afternoon news conference had decided what was worthy of appearing in the printed paper. My story eventually made it to page 11, indeed half of page 11, although Bob's painting was afforded rather more square inches than my photo because he's the star. Their online version also came complete with a clever sliding gizmo that allowed readers to compare painting with photograph directly.

The Blackpool Gazette published their piece a little later, and it contained some original information because their reporter had thought to email me a short list of questions, so well done Michael. The story even made this week's front page - as a strapline at least.

The Daily Mail released their version of the story at two o'clock yesterday morning, along much the same lines as the others, except they hadn't got in touch with me first. They'd obviously read my post, because they quoted from it extensively, but chose to skip over the sentence where I slagged off the Daily Mail - ironically for stealing one of my photos on a previous occasion. Back in 2009 they replaced it when I complained, but on this occasion I have yet to hear back from them, the shameless plagiarising bastards.

I haven't heard anything from Bob Dylan, or his people, or the gallery who exhibited his work. But the Daily Telegraph got a quote out of the latter...
A spokesman for the Halcyon Gallery said: “There is no attempt on behalf of the artist to name the scenes accurately. While the essence of the exhibition is a journey through America, the compositions of the paintings are based on a wide variety of sources including archival and historic images.”
So there you go, Bob's paintings aren't always of where they say they're of, which is how Blackpool came to stand in for Norfolk, Virginia. That's fine, that's art. Bob is simply creating an evocative collection of works, and an entertaining puzzle for anyone attempting to deduce the true locations.

And he admits his works are sourced from a variety of images, historic or otherwise, which is how my Blackpool holiday snap came to be plucked from the internet for Bob's attention. I'm chuffed. I should even be honoured. And trust me, it's a joy to get a photograph into a national newspaper that isn't of a Romford skinhead in an abusive T-shirt.

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