- 1: Tarantula
- 2: The Tarantula Crawls Across The Circus Floor and 3: Arachnida Is Dead
- 4: The Bride and 5: The Return of Tarantula
- 6: Everybody loves a critic and 7: Hopalong Bob
- 8: Mad, Bad, And A Stranger To Know and 9: Miss Lucy And Mr. Jinx
- 10: A Madder Piece From Ginsberg Street and 11: The Long Dark Stranger
- 12: More Mixed Up Confusion and 13: Oval Faubus
- 14: A tattletale Heart; and 15: Tarzantula
- 16: Tarantula: “Shake that Spear” and 17: “Hopalong Bob”
- 18: The Tale Of Dale And Debbie and 19: The Golden Gate
20: Your Harmless Fate
by Larry Fyffe
Some of the pilgrims on their way discuss art and philosophy:
One says to the other that James Whistler creates “art for art’s sake”, and it doesn’t matter one iota that a portrait he paints is of his mother; the arrangement is what counts, not the expression of any sentimentality or morality.
The other, a follower of Carl Jung, tells the tale below that illustrates that you have to gather what you can from coincidence:
(T)he little old man is planning revenge just as the same old time train shakes his whistler's mother painting off the wall & it gooses him too (Bob Dylan: Tarantula)
Lilith-reversed Debbie Reynolds of “How the West was Lost” divorces her two-timing husband Eddie Fisher; her second husband Harry Karl is a wealthy shoe salesman, and a gambler to boot.
Harry, he gets himself into the portrait:
Harie Carl & the Cruel Mother teasing at your harmless fate (Bob Dylan: Tarantula)
Meanwhile back at a ranch in Angola, the Portuguese military attacks rebels – Africans therein who want to rid themselves of their European masters.
Not to worry, says a traveller to his gal: existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre in his book “Nausea” agrees with Friedrich Nietzsche that God is dead; but that just gives individuals more freedom to think for themselves.
To make his point, the Sartrized guy decides to exercise his new-found freedom.
And it’s not to protest the colonial war:
Angola being bombed this morning i right now am happy with nausea .... i am leaving my kid on your doorstep (Bob Dylan: Tarantula)
There are three motley, and saucy, groups in the parade:
1) The Existentialists, led by Albert Camus’ author of “The Myth Of Sisyphus”.
Monk says he has made an important decision for him:
(H)e's with the angels now & he says "all's useless - useless" (Bob Dylan: Tranantula)
2) The Instinctualists, led by H.D. Lawrence, author of “The Rocking-Horse Winner”:
& instinct, poet of the antique zenith putting on his hoofs & whinnying "all's not useless all is very signifying" (Bob Dylan: Tarantula)
3) The Pied Pipers, led by Bob Dylan; he takes the middle path:
& the insane pied piper stealing the Queen's Pawn & the conquering war cry "neither - neither" (Bob Dylan: Tarantula)
Without your love I'd be nowhere at all Oh, what would I do If not for you (Bob Dylan: If Not For You)
Besides ‘Miss Lucy’ from the ” Sweet Bird Of Youth”, there’s ‘Lucy Brown’, and ‘Pirate Jenny’ from the “Threepenny Opera”. Its theme ~ capitalist “morality” promotes self-interest even among the poor; the wealthy exploit everyone; the poor, a few.
Suky Tawdry, Jenny Diver Lotte Lenya, sweet Lucy Brown Yes, the line forms on the right, dear Now that Macheath's back in town (Louis Armstrong: Mack The Knife ~ Weill/Brecht/Blitzstein)
A theme repeated in the song lyrics below:
Steal a little, and they throw you in jail Steal a lot, and they make you king (Bob Dylan: Sweetheart Like You)
In the “Threepenny Opera”, Jenny Diver, akin to the story of Judas and the donkey-riding Jesus, betrays her lover and pimp Macheath for a promised reward.
Goes a tale told to the pilgrims on their way to New York City:
"(I) still aint gonna tell you nothing about jenny" he calls me an idiot & I say "here take my donkey if it'll make you feel any better" (Bob Dylan: Tarantula)
Jenny apparently gets around:
Jenny's a-wet, poor body Jenny's seldom dry She dirtied her petticoat Coming through the rye (Robert Burns: Coming Through The Rye)
In the make-believe world of the ‘Threepenny Opera’, Macheath escapes death from hanging.
Likewise, the Christi-like figure in the song lyrics below:
Just then a bolt of lightning Struck the courthouse out of shape And while everybody knelt to pray The drifter did escape (Bob Dylan: The Drifter's Escape)
In the opera, the Bible’s interpreted so as to coincide with one’s own self-interest.
Reminds of the following lines:
Only you, who believe what suits you Could speak so badly of thelonius baker (Bob Dylan: Tarantula)
Thelonius Monk’s a piano-playing jazz musician that Dylan likes listening to, and meets in New York City.
Though few songs by Dylan can properly be described as jazz:
To each his own It's all unknown If dogs run free (Bob Dylan: If Dog's Run Free)