Brief Encounter #13

Queen Joan Approximately
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AS regular readers will know, I have enjoyed a life-long obsession with my musical idol Bob Dylan.
Above all else he has given me the words and music to live by.
I met him briefly once (saving that for another blog) but what follows is the next closest thing and something I will always treasure… and not just for the obvious Dylan link!
It was the early spring of 2007 and as editor of the Denbighshire Free Press – a county newspaper in North Wales – I had been emailed the line-up for that summer’s International Musical Eisteddfod in Llangollen. Topping the bill on the Saturday of the festival was folk/protest legend and former partner of Bob Dylan; the wonderful Joan Baez.
At the time Joan was 66 years old, but still an amazing singer and guitarist and an icon to many.
I gulped when the festival promoter, the late Joe O’Neil, suddenly offered me the chance of an exclusive interview with Joan. My reply of “Yes, please” was instant.
And so the following Saturday I sat by my telephone and at the appointed hour it rang.
Joan was ringing me back stage from a gig in Germany. Like the line from her wonderful song to Bob Dylan, Diamonds and Dust: “And here I sit hand on the telephone hearing a voice I’d known a couple of light years ago” that moment will forever stay with me.
The phone call lasted about 15 minutes as Joan waxed eloquently about her work and looking forward to her first visit to the Eisteddfod. She also listened intently as I told her about a young band I was doing PR for. She wished them luck in a business still dominated by men. She answered concisely every question I put – including one about the ongoing poignancy of her Dylan love song – before she asked me whether I preferred Carrickfergus or the Water is Wide.
Joan finished by saying I should look her up backstage after the gig in Llangollen if I had any more questions or wanted a photo opportunity.
Joan was just the most wonderful interviewee I could have asked for.
The backstage meeting with her never came about – due to security issues – but that phone call was one magical brief encounter.

Author: seagullnic

Writer, editor, lecturer and part-time musician. Passions in life: my family, Bob Dylan, music of many genres, Brighton and Hove Albion FC, cooking plus good food and wine.

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