Passing the sugar to iron man of the bottles who arrives with a grin & a heatlamp & he`s pushing “whodunnit” buttons this year & he is a love monger at first sight…..you have seen him sprout up from a dumb hill bully into a bunch of backslap & he`s wise & he speaks to everyone as if they just answered the door/ he don`t like people that say he come from the monkeys but nevertheless he is dull & he is destroyingly boring….While Allah the cook scrapes hunger from his floor & pounding it into the floating dishes with roaring & the rest of the meatheads praising each other`s power & argue over acne & recite calendars & point to each other`s garments & liquid & disperse into segments & die crazy deaths & below farce mortal farm vomit & why just for Jesus Christ be just another meathead? When all the Tontos & heyboy lose their legs trying to frug while kemosabe & Mr Palladin spend their off hours remaining separate but equal & anyway why not wait for laughter to straighten the works out meantime & WOWEE smash & the rage of it all when former lover cowboy hanging upside down & Suzy Q. the angel putting new dime into this adoption machine as out squirts a symbol squawking & freezing & crashing into the bowels of some hideous soap box & even tho` you`re belonging to no political party, you`re now prepared, prepared to remember something about something.
Before it`s official publication in 1971, Tarantula existed on scraps of paper and in the bell jar of Dylan`s past life. It`s a stream of consciousness which was in a constant state of flux before being finally pinned down by the printer`s weaponry; it was something he had written and then unwritten between 1965 and 1966 like an embroiderer unpicking the thread of his design, only to find dissatisfaction at his creation. He had signed a lucrative book contract and needed to fill the blank pages with words – any words to keep the monkey off his back; to his eternal credit, he must have known that most of it was gibberish; but even if you keep two monkeys crashing the keyboards for long enough they`re bound to come up with the complete works of Shakespeare sooner or later.
If there is anyone out there who has read it all the way through, maybe they were on as much acid as Dylan was; although there are some quite startling shards of sentient wit to be found scattered about the pages. It all reads like bite sized chunks of arbitrary thought thrown into the mix together into one gigantic sentence. knowing Dylan`s sly wit, it could very well have been deliberately designed to defeat any meaningful attempt at reading it from cover to cover. To do so could well induce a knee jerk reaction from the reader`s large intestine, forcing it to leap upwards, and wrap itself around the throat in a desperate attempt at strangulation.
“I wish I was Bob Dylan,” wrote Robert Creeley in the late 60`s, and to be honest, when I first read Tarantula I was misty eyed enough about Dylan`s genius to half convince myself I was in the presence of a profound piece of work on a par with the Bible. He was the coolest, and most culturally relevant guy on the planet – bar none: there was no rock style of the late sixties and early seventies which Dylan didn`t touch in some profound way; everyone in rock should get out the prayer mat every time his name is mentioned; and so my inability to understand the narrative of the book was because it was the product of a god, and gods move in mysterious ways. The great man has always leaned towards surrealism in his art, and Tarantula is Salvador Dali meets William S. Burroughs – with probably a pinch of Kafka thrown in. I absolutely adore it and idolize every single word in this glorious book of nonsense verse a la Dylan style, as well as the demi-god himself. I`ve no idea what`s going on, but the fluidity and imagination of the language is breath taking in it`s originality.