All I Really Want To Do

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Bob Dylan’s 70th birthday is a happy occasion when you think of all the great songwriters who never made it this far — Kurt Cobain, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Holly, Robert Johnson...

The most melancholy thought about all of them is all the unwritten songs that are forever lost to us. With Dylan, we’ve been able to enjoy those songs as he grows old (and he writes brilliantly and movingly about the physical and mental deterioration of ageing). The last few years have been one of the most productive periods of his life, with a series of albums of extraordinary range and reference, plus Theme Time Radio Hour and the first instalment of Chronicles. For me, he’s the great artist of the last 100 years, working at a deeper level than anyone in any art form.

Anyway, I wrote this strange thing a while back, when I was pondering whether it was possible to write poetic ‘cover versions’ of popular songs — taking the basic idea and structure but changing the words. It’s an update of his 1964 song All I Really Want To Do, reinterpreted for the social media age. Not sure what it proves, but here it is anyway.

 

All I Really Want To Do
after Bob Dylan

I ain’t looking to log you in,
click or drag or drop you in, 
aggregate you, navigate you, 
populate you or update you.  
   All I really want to do  
   is baby be friends with you.

I don't want to subscribe to you
or to join a twibe with you, 
analyse you, categorise you, 
magnify or monetise you.  
   All I really want to do  
   is baby be friends with you.

I ain't looking for your avatar
or to join your webinar, 
write a message on your wall, 
reply to you or reply to all.  
   All I really want to do  
   is baby be friends with you.

I don't want to chat with you, 
link to or trackback to you, 
view your source or track your host, 
comment on your latest post.  
   All I really want to do  
   is baby be friends with you.

No, and I don't want to spread your meme, 
browse your Flickr photostream, 
swipe you, Skype you, text you, type you, 
skip you, rip you or unzip you.  
   All I really want to do  
   is baby be friends with you.

And I ain't looking for you to follow me,  
forward me or favourite me, 
or cc me or bc me
or retweet me or delete me.  
   All I really want to do  
   is baby be friends with you.