Has China done Bob Dylan a favour?
The singer who was once synonymous with political protest has been banned from Beijing. Might it do him some good?
Bob Dylan's Asian tour, planned for later this month, has been called off after Chinese officials refused him permission to play in Beijing and Shanghai.
- guardian.co.uk, Monday 5 April 2010 11.30 BST
The Chinese seem to be worried that he might say or sing something politically sensitive, as Björk did in 2008.
As if Dylan would. Don't the Chinese know that these days the 68-year-old former protest singer is a respectable golfer who released a Christmas album last year and has even allowed Blowin' in the Wind to be used as the soundtrack of a TV commercial?
But maybe the Chinese ban will do him some good. Could it help to restore his credibility as the prophet from Desolation Row?
As Wang Ge of the Beijinger reported back on February 25:
Sun Mengjin, one of China’s most well-known music critics, published such statement in his blog post titled Greed Destroys Dylan's Shows in China: “There’re people working their ass off to pull off a show and not making any money, and there are also scalpers who only care about making money from music; Business is business, but there’s a bottom line. Dylan’s agent asked for USD 250,000 per show in mainland China, and some Taiwanese promoter sold it to a mainland company for USD 400,000 – I mean, how money-driven can you be? Don’t they know about the international standard of maximum 15% for agent fees? 400,000 dollars for the 8,000 seated Shanghai Grand Stage, it’s impossible to make the money back by selling tickets. Those people are whistling ‘blowing in the wind’ while their black hearted money are also blowing with the shit out of their ass. FYI, there will be a day when Dylan is too old to sing.”
Um, yeah. So Guardian, maybe you should think about adding tbj to your RSS. Or at least doing a bit more research next time.
POSTSCRIPT: Fallows, same subject.