Bob Dylan didn’t show up in Stockholm, Sweden to collect his Nobel Prize in literature award. They weren’t exactly expecting his grizzled ass to show up. From all the bitchery that ensued after his win was announced, can you blame the crusty folk legend? In his stead, pioneering rock n’ roll poetess Patti Smith gifted the audience with a performance of Bob’s “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” accompanied by an orchestra. Things went a little stumbly when Patti messed up the lyrics.
However, Smith had a momentary slip-up about halfway through the performance, as she accidentally repeated a lyric to the song, paused, and calmly asked the orchestra to start over again. “I apologize. I’m sorry, I’m so nervous,” Smith said to the crowd, who applauded back in support.
Patti Smith is one of the greats so she’s earned the right to eff up and recover. She could have repeated the same lyric over and over, ended by flicking a lit cigarette at the audience, then stagger off the stage and she’d still be one of the greats. Live forever, Ms. Patti. On Bob Dylan’s part, he DID send an acceptance letter. He did win close to a cool million, after all. It would be a little hainty not to acknowledge it.
I’m sorry I can’t be with you in person, but please know that I am most definitely with you in spirit and honored to be receiving such a prestigious prize. Being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature is something I never could have imagined or seen coming. From an early age, I’ve been familiar with and reading and absorbing the works of those who were deemed worthy of such a distinction: Kipling, Shaw, Thomas Mann, Pearl Buck, Albert Camus, Hemingway. These giants of literature whose works are taught in the schoolroom, housed in libraries around the world and spoken of in reverent tones have always made a deep impression. That I now join the names on such a list is truly beyond words.
It was nice of Bob to pay homage to his own influences. When I accept MY Nobel Prize in Literature (the Nobel committee are, of course, Dlisted readers), I will be sure to acknowledge those whom I consider the greats. That would be Michael K., Kendall and Kylie Jenner. Truthfully, not a day goes by that I don’t open the pages of Rebels: City of Indra: The Story of Lex and Livia and weep at the lyrical beauty.
Watch Patti’s performance below.