This weekend I headed round the corner to check out the Bob Dylan exhibition at the Cité de la musique. Now I wouldn’t consider myself a massive Dylan fan, in fact before I went I’m not sure I could tell you any of his song titles other than “Tambourine man,” and that’s only because I was forced to watch “Dangerous Minds” at school, but I left the exhibition with a double album of his music.
The exhibition is brilliantly done and I would advise anyone who likes music (everyone) to go, soon! The exhibit takes you through the early part of his career (1961 – 1966), beginning with his influences – from Woody Guthrie to Elvis – through to the influential “Like a rolling stone” years and then his later change of musical direction in the seventies. The exhibit is a mixture of biography, beautifully moody black & white photos, album sleeves and memorabilia. There are also some lovely personal touches such as baby photos and handwritten song lyrics. Cité de la musique does multi-media extremely well, and interspersed throughout are headphones and film-booths so that you can listen to some of the classics. For many of the songs you’ll find the lyrics printed on the wall, an important detail given how poetic Dylan’s songs are. Computer terminals where visitors can look up additional information on Dylan’s life and music are also part of the lower floor display.
As an extra topical tidbit there’s a small part devoted to Bob Dylan’s shaky relationship with Paris, charting his visit to Paris in the 60s. It turns out it wasn’t the smoothest of trips, apparently Dylan especially disliked French journalists. There’s a fantastic transcript of his press conference in Paris, in which he throws questions back to the journalists, gives abrupt one word replies and generally refuses to play ball.
Overall, I felt like I got a real insight into the music of Bob Dylan and the man himself. I know what I’ll be listening to this week!
For more info on the exhibit go to: http://www.citedelamusique.fr/minisites/1203_dylan/index.aspx