The work I’ve been doing for the last 9 months is pretty jolly boring. No, that’s an understatement. The most boring job I’ve ever done before was folding underpants in a clothing
sweatsh factory where no one ever spoke to me, but it was nowhere near as bad as this.
Ivan Denisovitch, in Solzhenitsin’s novel, works in unspeakable conditions in a Soviet gulag but is able to find a challenge in his work – building a pointless wall with useless bricks, each day he tries to see if he can lay more bricks than the day before.
What I’m doing now is staring at a screen, pushing buttons every few seconds and with every push feeling frustrated because I know I could fix what’s in front of me but I’m not allowed to. There is a point to this pointless exercise but it’s against every human instinct to do something the wrong way, all day every day, week after week and month after month. Well, I can’t say more than that because I serve the public and am sworn to secrecy – if I told you more than that I would have to kill you.
However, the people who hired me are not setting out to brainwash or torture, and they have kindly provided each of us
mindless workers with a top notch set of headphones – to help ease the pain of seeming pointlessness we are allowed to bring in [commercially produced and therefore virus-free] CDs and listen to music while we grit our teeth and press ‘enter’.
The music has been a treat because I’m rarely able to listen to music in my own time, and my
fellow morons team mates and I have swapped discs, found new music to like or dislike, and rediscovered old faves. This last week I’ve been revisiting Dylan.
It took a while [years ago] to accept his “voice” but I did come to like it – though Joanie’s is infinitely more bearable. I get the impression Bob could be an arrogant son of a sea-cook and sometimes his lyrics are viciously/hilarious, but he has managed to achieve two very remarkable things:
The first is that he has succeeded in creating music – and creating it well – in a variety of styles. There was the stream-of-consciousness folky protest stage; there was an electric stage; something muzakly relaxing on his Self Portrait album; his
stage took the divorce and the sad dog out of country and western; there was some droll tom-foolery on The Basement Tapes he recorded with The Band; and some completely astounding music on his Desire album. [Strangely enough I ignored his born again phase so cannot comment on that.] Nashville
The second is that, without doing any actual research, I would venture his songs have had as many covers as Lennon-McCartney’s music.
It’s hard to pick a favourite, but I particularly like Farewell Angelina because the words have a pleasing rhyme and meter, throw up [mostly] nice images, all wrapped up in a very pleasing tune.