get back to the caravan and Richard is sitting on the steps, still
finishing his coffee. He smiles at me, doesn´t ask me where I’ve
been, but I explain anyway by answering the question he´d asked
himself earlier, including a reminder that I am still waiting.
I´ve been thinking that maybe you´ve told me about the “Upstairs,
Downstairs” thing only because you want to share it with someone
who is not on the “inside”, because you are interested in my
perspective from the “outside”. I´ve not been invited down to
the basement yet, so I haven´t got that image of Dylan on the
basement stairs going up and down, then up again, engraved in my
mind. You must be truly obsessed with it if you take it with you to
OK. You know I mentioned to them the other day that you might join us
any afternoon now in the basement to watch us play - ´cause we all
know you listen to us anyway, from the outside – but it´s not my
fault they haven´t brought the idea up again. Anyway, I´m not
talking about dreams in other people´s hands – your fault, Nar-
but of an image of uncertainty – I don´t know if you get it- which
has something to do with the feeling I´m getting as I try to write
- What are you
unsure about? Is it more the words or the music?
- Well, I´ve
been talking about uncertainty, actually, which is more suggestive
than the word ´unsure´… But since you ask, it is the words I´m
most hung up on … The chords I´m clear enough on, you´ll see.
up, he disappears into the caravan and emerges holding one of my
guitars. He plays five chords, droning random words to a descending
melody which at times recovers its verticality, climbing sharply
alongside his burning voice. When he finishes, we sit in silence. He
breaks it himself:
- From now on, Nar, I´ll be coming to your caravan every Wednesday at
9:30 so we can discuss the matter further -
he says putting his hand on my shoulder, looking rather serious.
I don´t believe you, Richard
- You´d be wise
up, he leaves his empty coffee cup on the bottom step and sets off
towards the forest, waving goodbye with his hand. I watch him head
off, barefoot, and somehow I know I have just heard the untaken
photograph of a legend: with my ears, with my eyes, with my
anticipatory love for myths in the making .-.-.-
I decided to sleep in the basement, you know? The vibe had been
especially good, real good vibrations all evening long – the Voice
of Conscience microphone was connected and the light felt like a gift
from heaven on his birthday. I thought I might just keep the vibes
alive if I went to sleep ...
there, on the basement sofa, I had a dream, you know? I dreamt I
could see Dylan like I do most days, on the stairs, just there, as if
suspended between levels of reality, like he´s looking at something
no-one else can see …
I also saw him as inside a song, or the idea of a song, and now that
is harder to explain … though I´ll try anyway.
been thinking about this stuff for weeks: “Downstairs, Upstairs”
or “Upstairs, Downstairs”, as you like. How when you see Dylan on
the basement stairs you have no way of knowing if he´s going up or
down. Sometimes, he does both things at once (I swear, Garth said so
the other day too). And when he´s in this trance, the guy always has
a piece of paper in his hand, sometimes a whole bunch, and it´s from
there that stories and sounds seem to come during our sessions, and
they amaze us all, starting with him.
I want to make a song with all this, you know? And I´m writing it,
though it´s hard to do. Maybe that´s why I still haven´t talked
about it with anyone, not even Rick. I don´t know what the hell
I´m doing telling you here, now, when I haven´t woken up properly
from the dream ..."
is telling me this the next morning, on the caravan steps, where we
are sitting cradling mugs of coffee and something to smoke in the
other hand. Suddenly, he stops talking, his gaze fixed in the
distance, and it´s like he has gone.
get up slowly, leave him to his thoughts for a while.