Bob Dylan’s Chronicles: Volume One Review

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For many years I’ve been a huge Robert Zimmerman fan.  I still remember the first CD of his I bought and have been hooked ever since!  Unlike other artists, whom I’ve listened for periods and then forgotten Dylan has managed to stand the test of time.

I bought Dylan’s Chronicles years ago and finally got around to reading it this year.  And what a treat it was!

It’s a difficult book to describe.  Like many of the man’s powerful ballads, the story is a criss-cross of tales with no clear time frame.  The story isn’t linear but jumps out from various periods during his early song-writing years.  It gives the reader a sense of what Dylan was doing whilst trying to break into the music scene.  In this way the novel shows a side to Dylan that we take for granted, from playing in small bars and clubs in Greenwich Village and staying in less than desirable bedsits right up until his Woodstock days.

The novel reads beautifully, it isn’t written in a passive voice, merely stating facts that happened.  Instead each snapshot he offers of these key years reads like one of his songs.  There is a beautiful poetic flow to each random event and we get a real taste of what each section meant to him and how they shaped his life.   He offers the reader an intimate insight of his mind and inner workings.  What we receive is a rich tapestry of stories and events.

I would recommend this novel to anyone who has even the slightest interest in one of the greatest songwriters and minds of this generation.  Like so many successful people in their field, we  tend to forget their humble beginnings and their struggles in the early years.  Dylan in his Chronicles, presents these with humility and frankness which combined with the almost lyrical flow he writes in makes this book a must-read.

Ireland 29 – South Africa 15

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Last Saturday I had the privilege of watching Ireland triumph over South Africa, widely regarded as the only competition to the All Blacks dominance.

The first thing to discuss is just how well drilled Ireland appeared to be.  They defended South Africa’s lethal maul with smart tactics.  They identified the space in behind South Africa’s back three and exploited it with great efficiency (Henshaw’s kick which led to the Ruddock try a prime example).  Ireland played with a basic game plan which emphasised a lack of risk taking and doing simple tasks well.  This is highlighted by Ireland’s offload count of a big zero.  However, praise has to go to Schmidt. He is famous for his analysis of teams, and it appears that he can formulate plans to beat teams by this extensive analysis.  Listening to the Irish players about Joe, it seems that they are constantly impressed by his knowledge of the game and his straight talking advice for players.  For the time being, he really seems to have impressed and invigorating this Irish Team.

South Africa on the other hand were quite poor in their approach to the game.  They seemed to believe that they could out-muscle Ireland and grind them down slowly throughout the game.  It is perhaps unfair to criticise them too much.  In flashes South Africa demonstrated how dangerous they are with the ball in hand, especially with Le Roux on the ball.  Also it is difficult to imagine the result if Strauss has not been sin-binned.  However South Africa were left to rue their decision to kick for the corner with most of their penalties.  In the first-half alone they elected to kick at least 3 times and rely on their maul.  Instead Ireland defended well, and South Africa dropped the ball.  South Africa by my estimates could have gone into the break at least 6-9 up.  It is also difficult to conceive how South Africa who dominated the scrum, had ascendency in the line out and who forced countless missed tackles failed to win this one.

Ireland as a unit were excellent, every player just oozed resilience and physicality.  This is demonstrated in the huge tackle count Ireland got through.  A special mention must go to Sexton and Murray who both played superbly, and showed how they are turning into a word class pairing.  Also Ross and McGrath have to be mentioned as they were both returning from injuries and facing one of the most fearsome front rows and packs in world rugby.

Overall it was an immense game to attend and one of the most important results in the Schmidt era.  It is important to remain grounded as this is one result.  The next two weekends will be vital, as we will get an indication whether Ireland can be consistent in their performances.

A Welcome Mat of Sorts

My name is Cormac, if you’ve happened to stumble across my blog then you’re very welcome!

I have decided to begin my blogging journey, through what interests me most.  The main things I will blog on are: Books, Films, Sports (predominantly Rugby) and finally food recipes.  These broad spectrum of topics are probably the main interests in my life, and perhaps more than anything blogging about them will give me a chance to reflect on them.  I hope this blog will provide you, the reader, an insight into some of the topics and hopefully inspire you to give either the movies, books or food a shot for yourself!

I’ve never blogged before this so hopefully with some patience on your part, and some quick learning on mine, this may become a blog worth sticking around for!

Yours faithfully

Cormac