The Tarantula Files continued: Nadine and The Censor

Links to the previous articles in this series are provided at the end.

By Larry Fyffe


& Nadine who comes running
& says 'Where's Gus?'
& she's salty about the bread he's 
been making off her worms ...
(Bob Dylan: Tarantula)

The oblique and slangy diction above suggests the Blakean negative aspects of sexual activity along with the negative Freudian and Christian depictions of sex observed in Salvador Dali’s surrealistic paintings.

Influenced be the word-images created by the author of “Tarantula”:

O Rose though art sick
The invisible worm ...
Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy
(William Blake: The Sick Rose)

Discarded, however, by Dylan, be the ‘ little stick’ of Saint Dada Dali that’s bends towards general franco’s fascism.

Only some of the Spaniard’s bodily images that walk on the vile side of the street are replicated in words of the American singer/writer/musician, and then apparently only for humorous or shock value.

Listen and be silent ~ known Salvador Dali is by the anagram “Avida Dollars”.

Below, Dali’s political bent pun-ish-ing-ly blasted away with words:

No quiero tu sabiduria
(I don't want your wisdom)
(Bob Dylan: Tarantula)

For the most part, Bobby, the spider-writer, wraps Spanish letters around the pretty bodies of his female inspirations ~ letters that in English read “I want you”; and

“I love your eyes”:

Te quiero ....
Quiero tus ojos
(Bob Dylan: Tarantula)

In the song lyrics beneath, Nadine represents the flexible spirit that guides Chuck Berry’s rocknroll style that contrasts with the more rigid rhythmical style of, say for example, Bo Diddley:

Ah, Nadine, baby, is that you
Seems like every time I catch up with you
You got something else to do
(Bob Dylan: Nadine ~ Chuck Berry)

Nadine, a Muse of Music whose heir springs from the depth of the ‘blues’:

The Censor

The minibook “Tarantula” at first sight appears to be nothing but a mixed-up mess of confusion, a Surealistic dream sequence put down on paper:

But no, it’s a tangled-up narrative “organized” in a word-playful fashion based on matters, real and fancied, of which the author is aware.

Post-Modernistic, the book might be described.

Filled with word associations:

(H)e's a congressional one
& carries the snapshots
& his name is Tapanga Red
(Bob Dylan: Tarantula)

Referenced obliquely is a real Chicago bluesman who’s known for his recording of the song lyrics beneath.

Rendered by Bob Dylan as well:

When things go wrong
Go wrong with you
It hurts me too
(Tampa Red: It Hurts Me Too ~ Hudson/Whittaker)

Below, an actual TV host mixed in with a real painter from days gone by – Hieronymus Borch – and seemingly offered up as a ‘zonk’ on the comical “Let’s Make A Deal” TV show:

(D)own these narrow alleys of owls and flamenco guitar players
jack paar an other sex symbols are your prize
- check into bathrooms where bird lives
for when be comes flying out with a saber in his wing
(Bob Dylan: Tarantula)

The times, they are a-changing.

Not for his being more homophobic than John Wayne, Jack Paar’s mad as hell for being censored by network executives when he tells an innocuous joke about the initials ‘WC’ (water closet) getting mistaken by foreigners as a reference to a ‘Chapel’.

A bit later, singer/writer/musician Bob Dylan walks away from the the Ed Sullivan Show because he’s told by the powers-that-be not to perform a certain song that makes fun of an extremist right-wing political organization.

Seems Soviet ‘Commies’ are here, there, and everywhere in America; they’re even escaping down people’s toilet bowls:

Well, I finally started thinking straight
When I ran out of things to investigate
Couldn't imagine nothing else
So I'm home investigating myself
(Bob Dylan: Talking John Birch Blues)

To make matters worse, there’s really no place for a poor Lacky to turn ~ if the political right-leaning, sword-swinging word-censors don’t get you, then the left ones will:

(B)oth swords above the door fall down
- one sticks in the floor
- the other slices him in half
(Bob Dylan: Tarantula)

Turns out it’s these hypocritical blacklisters are here, there, and everywhere too:

The censor in the twelve wheel drive semi
stopping in for donuts
& pinching the waitress
he likes his women raw and with syrup
(Bob Dylan: Tarantula)

However, Dylan’s ink-splattered tarantulas are seldom as mean-spirited as those released by Lucien Ducasse:

"(Z)ippers of truth!" says Chang Chung
 "there is no truth!"
(Bob Dylan: Tarantula)

Could be there are no snippets of truth outside those locked gates that are guarded by the flaming sword of the Lord:

At times I think there are no words
But these to tell what's true
And there are no truths outside 
The Gates of Eden
(Bob Dylan: Gates Of Eden)


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