On BOB DYLAN steps 1979 California.


SECOND PART   California 1979
or “I crossed the Ocean for a Heart of Gold.”


                                                                
I
For a year I do some jobs and save money. Then I feel the urge of moving again and I go back to the land of hamburgers and Coca Cola, this time to see the "King", my King.
I traveled for a while, begging for money to survive.
I picked up carrots in Arizona, dung holes for some plum trees, worked in Coffee shops, worked at the Post Office, worked as a Baby Sitter, worked as a housemaid, have gone down to Mexico with a bunch of hippies to join a circus ; “El Circo Moderno”.
I went down in the crucible of an America that we do not suspect, that of poverty, racism and intolerance, where the color of your skin and your accent are more important than your human values. America of the big and small crimes. Where they kill you on the street for a few dollars and no one moves.
Where persecution is at the level of a whole race or a whole population in general indifference. Where 300 millions are besotted with commercials and television series even more stupid than violent.

I visited the "Greenwich Village" in New York, or rather what is left of it. It became a neighborhood of luxury. I thrown a curious eye on the facade of a certain building on Mc Dougal St.
Nothing moved!
I went to the other side, on the west coast, to the Zimmerman's Xanadu, the lair of the Wild One.

Once the copper dome is located, I walk around. The main entrance does not interest me, it's full of guards.
I am looking for a quiet place to jump the fence, high enough. It's full of weeds, provided there are no snakes! A big pile of scrap metal (!) And I am in front of the main entrance of the palace ... open. I don’t have the nerve to go through the door.
A white horse in front (the one in Renaldo and Clara?) in a meadow, some cultures, a  wooden gypsy caravan, - the kind that doesn’t exist anymore,except for nostalgic billionaire - the cackling of hens in the background.
All  pretty messy!.

"Looking for something?", A guy calls me with two big dogs.
"Bob is there?" - Stupid question -
"No, no, he no longer lives there, it's been two years since we had not seen him. You are on private property, the next time we call the police, follow me."
At the entrance of the gate, there is a small wooden shed and an office in, they ask me my name, my age, my height (?), my weight(?).
It seems that everything is recorded in a register. Request from the the Boss? I don’t care, I saw what I wanted, bye bye!.

I'm broke, so I cross the border to Canada where I was told they recruit young people for the tobacco harvest. In fact, it's "Grapes of Wrath". Four times more manpower than available places. I find myself on my knees picking tomatoes and cucumbers. Painful!
I have a dream: Dylan's new album is out.
I do not take the time to check if my dream is prophetic or not I rush to San Francisco.
The new album is on sale "Slow Train Coming". I do not care for criticism: Christian, Jew for Jesus, Jesus Freak .... Shit! it's Dylan and it sounds good. I remain a moment in Frisco and learn with joy that he will make a series of concerts at the Warfield Theatre, a small theater.
I am the first one to queue up at one of the outlets. Unfortunately with their computer I get no front row seat; thoses machines are no fair.

I see two concerts in the spirit of the new album: Gospel and Jesus feeling up the Theater.
I'm not surprised about his total commitment. He's a guy  "one hundred percent," but he changes his mind so fast, surely he will again.
And it's quality music.
But what liberty did He take in this country where they judge you by the color of your skin and by the tint of your religion?
He’s primarily a Jew and he betrayed his
religion.
Yet there are “Jews for Jesus” in California where everything is possible.
Yes ... but Dylan, he's an international Star.
He drags behind him thousands of people.
He has no right to think for himself, he must think for thousands of people. Exactly what he doesn't want ;"don't follow leaders".
Although for him personally it is a way out, I believe. After his divorce and the lose of custody of his children, what was the escape?

The Bible is better than the bottle.
And this is not the first time he was inspired by the Bible for lyrics of his songs, and he recalls Jesus:
 "Masters Of War"(
Even Jesus would never Forgive what you do),
"With God On Our Side,"(
Through many dark hour
I’ve been thinkin’ about this
That Jesus Christ
Was betrayed by a kiss
But I can’t think for you
You’ll have to decide
Whether Judas Iscariot
Had God on his side).
"I Shall Be Released "( Standing next to me in this lonely crowd
Is a man who swears he’s not to blame
All day long I hear him shout so loud
Crying out that he was framed).

and even" Long Ago, Far Away. "( To preach of peace and brotherhood,
Oh, what might be the cost!
A man he did it long ago
And they hung him on a cross.)

This unorthodox Jew!

There he is accused of denying his Jewishness, here in Europe where Marxism reigns He’s condemned for daring to mention Jesus, the Jew we talk so much about.
We could simply blame him for being a little too decisive, too categorical
But he truly believed he was right.
He said to us (Carole and I) one day in San Francisco - "The Search Is Over”.
It was just simple and stupid to attack all his Art Work and destroy the man based just on one part of his career. Like destroying Picasso if you don’t like his “blue period”.
It’s like forgetting that He is one of the greatest contemporary American poets - and alive -.
Me, that Jesus, didn’t scare me, I didn’t turn my back.
 

After the second show, I meet a fan, Carole. We talk. She has a Volkswagen car. We decide to follow the mini-bus of the band that runs between the hotel and theater. We find his Hotel  after a wild ride in San Francisco. From then on we will not let go, and day after day before and after the shows we will be in front and even inside the hotel.
We get smiles and greetings, a ten-minute commentary on the Bible from which I remember nothing except for two clear blue eyes that glow of a safe and subtle intelligence. 

A little conversation about food. Carole is into Macrobiotic and suggest to Bob a good diet based on organic and whole grain food. Next day he comes to her saying "I tried your brown rice, it doesn't fit me!". whoa! What did he do? Eat the rice raw?
My friend, who is Jewish, one night is given a telegram, in which a sect of "Jews for Jesus" encourages Dylan in his way!
He snarles: "'go see those people" and asks her the next day if she went. Of course not. He's pissed off.
I heard he did it with all his friends and entourage, with more or less success. Next day he's nice again with her.
Me, I wear a cross, without too much conviction. I too was scalded few years ago and am wary of fanaticism.
One day we will tear the promise of a cup of coffee, face to face, for the next day.
The day comes, we are well dressed and terribly nervous. He rushes in the hotel and apologizes, saying he has a lot of phone calls to make. Shit! missed it!
At least he had not forgotten and acted politely even though it was by lying(probably).
He also turns down the urging of a  long-time “groupie”.
Is he “sage”? He receives only the priests, it seems. One will tell us "there will be three Dylan gospel albums". A covenant? A money deal? Money was certainly part of it.

Also no smoking, no alcohol, not even coffee.  
We make an attempt up to his room. The keys of the "suite" remained on the door. Unconsciousness? Forgotten? We could steal his shirt but he has probably only one or two with him, it would be mean. We remain as fools in the corridor when turning around, Dylan appears down the hall with a small shopping paper bag in hand. He remains stoic, closing the door in our face. He doesn’t  need us. OK!  Now we will keep our distance.
The “groupie” is a little more insistent and will be threatened to be shipped away by the cops. Not by Bob who will give her gently some free tickets but by the security.

One evening, after a show, he says he is terribly tired and he wants to go to bed.
We chat, my friend and I, half an hour in the lobby when suddenly the elevator door opens with Bobby in white trousers. He sees us and let the elevator closes in on him.
Was he afraid? Had he forgotten something? He goes down again and out. We follow. Fans are grouped at the entrance of the hotel. No one recognizes him when He comes out(?!). We arrive at a club two "blocks" away. He gets in  for free. We also, but with the instruction ; “Not to talk to THAT man”. "The Fabulous Thumderbirds " are on the program, a blues band that will make it big in the future. He remains up to the end in a dark corner of the room and behind his dark glasses. We accompany him back to the hotel. He jokes. He gives the impression of being a little drunk (but he was not supposed to be!) . Carole who is a dancer asks him to be part of his next Video Clip. He answers ; "There will be no more Video Clips!". Part of the convenant with the "Vineyards Fellowship"?
We say goodbye at the foot of the elevator. Pretty cold though. He must be accustomed being stopped in the street and he’s smart enough to get away leaving us with a good impression without giving nothing. The next day he returns to the club and this time escapes out five minutes before the end and literally disappears. We run to the hotel but to hear "Dylan is already in his room”. A champion of disappearance.
In total, however, we had a pleasant enough contact. Seeing him every days of the shows, twice a day. 
[I realise now, in 2012, how lucky I had been.]
He will give us "all the concert tickets you want" even if the manager (Bob Meyers) makes difficulties. It seems we're lucky because he’s not generous usually. We had “hellos” and smiles of a Bobby otherwise extremely serious. No bad words, no bad gestures. Many  silences that we must respect. One day a journalist asked him
-
"why are you talking so low?"
-"Because I’m used to be surrounded by silence."

and he is.Écouter
Lire phonétiquement



II
I’m broke again, yet there are concerts in Santa Monica. So I tempt the Devil: I hitchhike to L.A. By noon, with an incredible luck, I reached the city and even was offered a meal.
By chance, I found the address of the studio( The Santa Monica Bob Dylan studios ; "rundown studios"). I rush there, I have nothing to lose. I will wait seven hours sitting on the steps before seeing his red Cadillac with a white roof parking at the entrance. Meanwhile, taking pity, Simo, a guy who works at the studios, fed me two bananas and a can of soda. A humanitarian gesture. But I also had a visit from cops who asked me what I was doing here - not the hustler, in any case, it's pretty deserted - "I expect the impresario of Mr. Bob Dylan," I do not know if I deceived them well but they go without incident.
At 7:00 p.m. Dylan arrives. I approach the Cadillac and whisper "Can I have a ticket for tonight?". He eyes my backpack and says
"I'll see."
When he re-appears he smiles :
"Yes, of course I'll find you one. Do you have a place to sleep?". This is the second time he asks me. In San Francisco I said yes, but here I say
"no, but don’t worry, it will be OK."
In fact it will not be at all. I will stay four nights and four days freezing out, with for only meal a breakfast served by the Salvation Army every day. The last day they told me not to return.

In Santa Monica it's hard, hard. I will not see all the shows. Meyers (road manager) plays the role of guard - he keeps the wallet tight - and I do not want to beg to Bob every day. I learned that the concerts are given for charity.
Last night I waited without too much conviction on the parking lot of a Motel where I’ve seen the musicians retreated. About one o'clock in the morning I see Bob driving his car.
I make him a goodbye signal. He stops, pulls his window down, I approach and I can’t find anything better to say that :
"you are Great!"
He asks me
"Do you have money, a place to go?"
"No".
He calls his manager (being also in the parking lot).
"Give her twenty bucks." and drives away.
I don’t take the money and watch him, stunned. I still,  to this day, don’t know what to think;twenty dollars for him who is a billionaire is like twenty cents for me. He could have invited me home, Malibu is not far away. It was risky anyway, I could have been crazy and kill him.
And he can’t, reasonably, pick up all the bums hanging around. So I think ultimately it was a humanitarian gesture and the best he could do for me. After all no one else had thought to offer me a room, a meal or even a dollar.

The next concert is in San Diego. I find out the hotel and I phone directly to the road manager. "Could I have a ticket?".
He had been impressed that I refused twenty dollars, he said illico:
"Of course, you’ll get it."
The concerts were approximately the same: Gospel, Jesus, the silver cross around his neck, but no journalists, no groupies.
A Dylan that seems to reject everything that does not confirm his way. It seems that he has even fired his principal manager, who refused a conversion?
!
So I, despite many hardships and rejection on the part of the entourage, I was lucky, very lucky.
 
THE LAST REGARD OF THE SUPER STAR FOR ITS PUBLIC IN SAN DIEGO I
CAUGHT IT! IT WAS FOR ME. 

The sequel for me was much less funny. In attempting to reach San Francisco I was stopped by the immigration police. My visa was outdated for a few weeks. I found myself in jail for two days with a group of Mexicans. And then the sky fell on my head. A huge despair overcame me. It's a nightmare! I was escorted under heavy escort at the airport in L.A. The plane took me back to Paris. Without luggage (left in S.F.), without money, without hope of returning to the U.S.A. -I have a ban of five years of U.S.A. territory- A Good Samaritan gave me money in Paris (he believed in my story) and I returned home devastated.
Torn between dream and nightmare.

All they will call you will be "deportees" W.Guthry