Things Have Changed

I woke up feeling that the song for which Dylan won his Academy Award in 2001 and with which he has been opening most of his recent shows might be speaking to us at this particular moment on some even more resonant level. Put bluntly, I woke up hoping that it means Dylan might sneak into town, join his fellow Laureates, and say don’t get up, fellows/I’m just passing through.

I flew out of Austin Bergstrom International Saturday afternoon in the dark on a Boeing 787 to London, watched the sun rise over Ireland, and watched it set beautifully over Stockholm as I landed today at 16:30 local time. In between those solar events, I talked with and listened to some terrific fellow travelers, had a dream that may yet have significance, and set up shop for Nobel Week in Alfred Nobel’s town. First the dream because it gave rise to today’s title.

About the time we flyers were out of the Rust Belt and moving towards the Canadian border, I dozed off and watched a free movie play across my eyelids. In it, different front pages followed one another for perhaps fifteen seconds, all with variations on the words Things Have Changed. Some of the words looked like the Swedish ones I have been trying to learn. Others were clearly Chinese and Italian; but they all clearly meant things have changed. I woke up feeling that the song for which Dylan won his Academy Award in 2001 and with which he has been opening most of his recent shows might be speaking to us at this particular moment on some even more resonant level. Put bluntly, I woke up hoping that it means Dylan might sneak into town, join his fellow Laureates, and say don’t get up, fellows/I’m just passing through.

My fellow travelers today were a good-hearted, motley crew—the airline attendant whose boyfriend sings “Girl From the North Country” for her; the retiree who told me, “Bob’s an artist. He might just say something like ‘someone else deserves it more than I do’”; and the young Swedish girl on the Arlanda Express into town with her sullen boyfriend who asked me where I was from and told me, “some of those Nobel people are really smart.” (There was also the guy who gave me his wife’s unused train ticket to get to Central Station, which gives New York’s Grand Central a run for its money. But we didn’t talk about Dylan, and I’m running over my target length.) All I can say is that a few people liked that I was in town to talk about Bob and, even more, I wish all of you could see Stockholm’s Christmas lights, rivers, and architecture with me. It’s a bit of a dream itself.

Monday night, I will be watching the premiere of the official SV2’s (Sweden’s official network) Nobel documentary in which Sir Christopher Ricks, of Boston University and author of Dylan’s Visions of Sin, and I will be the Dylan experts. As I write this, I am listening to a SV2 gardening show, in Swedish, to prepare for it all. I will be working on getting a link and continuing to tweet scenery and pithy annotation through the Twitter account of Southwestern University.

Sweet dreams, all.

12 thoughts on “Things Have Changed”

  1. Edward L. Kain says:

    I’m smiling thinking of you walking the streets of Stockholm. If you have time, wander Gamla Stan, visit the Vasa museum, Riddarholm Church, Skansen (an outdoor museum with historic buildings from around the country), and definitely the Nobel Museum. Enjoy!

    1. David Gaines
      David Gaines says:

      Welcome aboard, Ed. Yes, your list looks a lot like mine–and what my local pals are suggesting. I’m also going to check out City Hall and MIVA Gallery, where a few of Dylan’s paintings are on display. Take care and stay tuned. Cheers, David

  2. Thomas Howe says:

    Some great restaurants with reindeer sausage etc. on the Gamla Stan! Sunset at…3:30?
    I know the current director of the Vasa project…but never got to see it? Posting pictures?

    1. David Gaines
      David Gaines says:

      Pictures are being tweeted through Southwestern Twitter account. Will try to do the Vasa justice when I make it there tomorrow or Thursday. Weighing the pros and cons of reindeer sausage. Thanks for checking out “The Big Tent,” Dude.

  3. Pablo says:

    what a wonderful beginning to this grant adventure! Thanks for sharing and bringing us along, as it were. And let me know if you see any Bank of Americas nearby, like, probably right over your shoulder where you least expect one.

    1. David Gaines
      David Gaines says:

      Hola, Hermano. No B’s of A yet. But eyes are peeled for them, Patti Smith, and other found art & artists. Abiding in Stockholm. No nihilists here. Abrazos, D

  4. Steve Gaines says:

    Dave,
    Thanks for the update,and your recent postings, eyeful of wonderous events getting there…I’ll just have to visualize it all…wish we could be there for the documentary…but will settle for your vivid descriptions! Christmas in Stockholm…sweet…pictures–pictures–pictures…Keep up the wonderful work and journey you’re on…and by the way, if you see the notorious “Moose & Squirrel” duo in that northern country, would you contact me? It can be on my dime! Love,
    Steve

    1. David Gaines
      David Gaines says:

      Nice, Steve. I have seen half the duo (it seems that moose–that’s both the singular and the plural, right–are ubiquitous in this neck of the woods). Are you still in for me contacting you on your nickel? Thanks for reading, bro, and stay warm.

      1. Steve Gaines says:

        Intuitive hunch on the wildlife!….Great posts on the docu…and the ending of the post w/the cab driver…I’s so you…Stroke of luck…getting a sneak of Dylan’s art privately…Wonderful photo…Enjoy, explore, be well ! By the way re stayin warm…this mornin 4 degrees…..YOW ! Need a glogg transfusion…the ante is now up a quarter…S

        1. David Gaines
          David Gaines says:

          See your quarter and bump you a glogg.

  5. cpsikora says:

    I can imagine it is dreamy there right now! It struck me, when I saw some of the photos, that it was interesting to hold this when there is very little daylight but the payoff will certainly be the Christmas lights and decorations! People are so interesting, aren’t they! Thanks for including vignettes of them!

  6. David Gaines
    David Gaines says:

    What is eerie about the sun going down before 4–and perhaps after not really shining all day–is that the light show around town (on the rivers, in the trees, with over-the-top seasonal public sculptures) more than makes up for it. It’s definitely another part of the world. On an electricity consumption level, it’s a little Las Vegas. Without the gambling, of course.

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