My college roommates and I were fanatical about music. When we moved in together in the fall of 1983, our combined record collection spanned the length of our living room wall (long ways). In it you would find generous helpings of XTC, The Clash, Elvis Costello, Dire Straits, The Ramones, what little there was (at the time) from REM and U2, along with the classics we’d grown up with (Beatles, Stones, Who, etc.)
One thing I could never get my roommates to appreciate, however, was Bob Dylan. I’d first been turned on to Dylan late in high school. Who knows why these things happen? My older sister had left behind a copy of “Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits Volume II” when she’d gone off to college and it had infected me (the very best version, ever, of “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” is on that album). Since then I had bought a bunch of Dylan records, earlier and later, but my favorite was “Blood on the Tracks”. I had tried several times to get my roommates to appreciate Dylan but, like most people, they couldn’t get past his voice (and this is before he took to basically speaking his lyrics).
So it’s late in that last year of school. Some random, rainy afternoon; between classes there’s just Ken and me in the apartment. Ken is doing dishes and I’m doing I don’t remember what (not stressed at this point – must have already landed first job). I’m playing “Blood on the Tracks” and Ken is putting up with it. “Buckets of Rain” comes on:
I like your smile and your fingertips
I like the way that you move your hips
I like the cool way you look at me
everything about you is bringing me misery
Ken laughs. He’s thinking about his girlfriend, Kim. He says something like “That’s good” or “I like that”. Small victory.