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Comrades From The North

The UK is now gently emerging from what we are told has been the worst winter since 1979. For those of you living in regions where you get real winters and significant snow on a regular basis, our 'dreadful' winter will probably seem like a mild interlude. However, we have grown soft here and have come to expect practically no snowfall and balmy winter days. Certainly the winters of our childhoods always seemed much harsher and longer - perhaps the mists of time blur the accuracy of memory and the phantoms of our youth were never that spectral.

It was interesting to hear recently that the BBC has revised its obituary procedures, which come into force when various notables on their list shuffle off these mortal coils. A number of members of the British Royal family have now been downgraded to a category know as 'other notables'. In their previously elevated status, their deaths would have triggered news flashes and pre-prepared documentaries. Now when they die their deaths will be regarded as "major breaking news stories with coverage on merit". Why are we telling you this? Because the other notables also include the esteemed Bob Dylan, who keeps company with Gordon Brown, Barrack Obama and the Dalai Lama, amongst others.

TAs we write this, Dylan is well into his tour of Japan. The early shows, all held in Osaka, featured a veritable kaleidoscope of variety in song selections. The shows followed the now-settled pattern of a fourteen-song main set followed by a three-song encore with Dylan favouring keyboards almost exclusively. In these five shows Dylan managed to get through 49 different songs. Given that the last five songs of every show were unvaried, this gives an indication of the freshness in set-lists. Of course, by the time he reached the next shows in Nagoya, the set lists boasted only one new song per night. Never mind, it still won't be easy to second-guess what the good folk of continental Europe will have in store when Dylan rolls around in June. Bet you that the encore is the same though!!!

We hope that you made it through your own winters (or summers for our Southern Hemisphere subscribers) and are refreshed and ready for the new touring year.

May you climb on every rung ..........

Mike & John

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