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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Yaffe

One man's fandom

A while ago, my husband wrote the word “Basement” in green marker on the November 4 square of our family calendar.

He didn’t do it to remind himself to spend that day painting the basement laundry room, reorganizing the basement CD collection, or thinning out the bookshelves in his basement office.

No, he did it to remind himself – as if he could forget! – that Tuesday was the day a breathless world would finally receive the complete Basement Tapes of Bob Dylan and The Band, the never-before-available (well – legally available) record of the legendary 1967 jam sessions that helped Dylan bounce back from his serious motorcycle accident.

My resident Dylanologist had to work on Tuesday, but because I’m the nicest wife in the whole wide world, I drove to our local Best Buy that morning and spent $148.65 to get him the precious item – six elaborately slipcovered CDs and a companion book of photos, packaged in a sturdy box from which Dylan’s stern, impossibly young face stares out at you implacably.

(The impossibly young Best Buy clerk was shocked to see this expensive item walking out the door before 10:30 am. “I thought that would be gathering dust for ages,” he said, as he went to get a replacement from the stockroom.)

Personally, I don’t really get it. I like “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “Tangled Up in Blue” as much as the next girl, but three consecutive takes of exactly the same song? And that one a song I’ve never even heard of, let alone heard? (“It’s one of the greatest songs ever written,” Resident Dylanologist says, in exasperation and disbelief.)

Now, if they were releasing a newly discovered Jane Austen short story, or the three heretofore undisclosed rough drafts of the first proposal scene in Pride and Prejudice, would I be at the door of Barnes & Noble at 9 am on the day of publication? Yes, I would be.

But that would make sense. It’s one of the greatest books ever written.


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