He is a songwriter, a singer, a painter, a poet — and now a Nobel Prize winner; just like the author of The Waste Land, TS Eliot, whom Dylan mentioned in Desolation Row. Last year, the voice of 1960s America won the esteemed prize for literature. Chosen “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”, he is the first songwriter ever to be recognised by the award. His career spans 50 years. He is best known for the songs which captured something of the spirit of the counterculture of the 1960s, including civil rights and Vietnam War protests — but his work also speaks to many more universal themes about human nature, religion, and the search for truth.
Many of Dylan’s songs are about the search for answers — most famously, in 1962, he told people that they were “Blowin’ in the wind”. But Dylan’s own search for the truth is less simple. “What’s good is bad what’s bad is good,” he sang in 1975’s Idiot Wind. In 2000, his conclusion was even more damning: “All the truth in the world adds up to one big lie.” Is there such a thing as truth?
AA Gill’s deathbed request: ‘the full truth’
Three weeks after revealing his diagnosis, the Sunday Times journalist has died. He leaves behind a brutally honest article about his experience of cancer. Should we all be more open about death?
Fake news spreads ‘faster, deeper’ than truth
Is human nature to blame? A new study tracked the spread of falsehoods on Twitter and found that they are 70% more likely to be retweeted than truth. Why? Because lies are more surprising…
Wikipedia founder creates ‘factual’ news site
Entrepreneur Jimmy Wales has launched Wikitribune, a collaboration between journalists and citizens that will put facts first. But in the age of fake news, can facts really change our minds?
Dylan’s has always been a wandering soul; he embraced the “on the road” lifestyle of the “Beat” poets of the 1950s and 60s, and he has been travelling the world on a “Never Ending Tour” since the 1980s. So it is no surprise that travelling appears throughout his lyrics. “You ask why I don’t live here,” he sings in On The Road Again. “Honey, how come you don’t move?”
You could soon be taking holidays in space
Would you be a space tourist? Virgin Galactic has launched a revolutionary new aircraft to the edge of Earth’s atmosphere — it could take tourists into space as early as next year.
School’s out as UK basks in long, hot summer
Are staycations the best type of holiday? The summer holidays are about to begin. Millions will travel abroad. But with the UK’s heatwave in full swing, is it better to stay at home?
Anti-tourism protests spread through Europe
“Tourism-phobia” is raging across Europe’s summer hotspots as locals from Venice to Barcelona protest against the effects of millions of visitors. Is tourism an untrammelled good?
While some of Dylan’s protest songs express subtle messages about human nature, others angrily condemn cruelty. He sang directly about civil rights struggles and anti war feeling, focusing on the victims and the underdogs from Hattie Carroll or John Brown to a Clean Cut Kid. The historical survey With God on Our Side concludes in the nuclear age: “If God’s on our side he’ll stop the next war.”
Thousands of UK teens set for climate strike
Scientists say we have 12 years to avoid climate catastrophe. In response, UK students are skipping school today for climate protests, joining other students around the world.
‘Three Billboards’ inspires copycat protests
Can films change the world? Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which has won five Baftas, tells the tale of one woman’s protest against authority. Activists are copying its ideas…
One of the biggest marches in British history
They came from all corners of the country, including many EU nationals, amid extraordinary political turmoil and growing calls on Theresa May to resign. But did the march change anything?
Born Jewish, Dylan converted specifically to Christianity in 1978–9, adding evangelical elements to his questioning spirit: “People starvin’ and thirstin’ .. there’s a slow train coming.” Religious imagery appears throughout his work, and 2006’s Ain’t Talkin’ reflected on his spiritual journey: “I am a-tryin’ to love my neighbour and do good unto others / But oh, mother, things ain’t going well.”
Judges to decide if veganism is a religion
What should the verdict be? In a landmark anti-discrimination case, a charity worker who was sacked from his job is arguing that veganism should be recognised as a “religion or belief”.
Pope vows to heal 500 years of division
It split Europe in two. It launched wars and strife. But as the 500th anniversary of the Reformation approaches, Pope Francis wants to end the rift between Catholics and Protestants. Can he?
‘God wanted Trump to be president’
That is the incredible claim made by Donald Trump’s press secretary, Sarah Sanders. Whether divine intervention is at play or not, Trump is extremely popular among America’s evangelicals.
He is the first American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature since 1993, and much of his work is rooted in the country of his birth. He draws from America’s folk traditions, immersed in blues and British folk music, literature and film. Finding inspiration in history, he comments on its present. At the same time, he has helped shape America, particularly during the 1960s revolutionary culture.
Of wealthy nations, the USA is most violent
How can America be so rich, and yet so ridden with violence? Sunday night’s horror in Las Vegas was the country’s 272nd mass shooting of the year. Murder and violent crime are up. Why?
Trump declares retribution on ‘evil’ enemies
President Trump has whipped up anger by saying opponents did “treasonous things” after he was absolved of colluding with Russia. And many now predict a backlash against the liberal press.
‘The American festival we all should celebrate’
Should Thanksgiving go global? It seems like a holiday that’s as American as pumpkin pie. But there are variants of this day all around the world, revolving around the concept of gratitude.