In the dressing room of Newcastle Upon Tyne City Hall, science student and Newcastle University Social Secretary, Terry Ellis (TE) takes his turn at pot-lock with Dylan’s put-on approach and ends up very much the worst for wear.
This interview was filmed for and partially broadcast in Dont Look Back. – a transcript of that part of the interview that appears in Dont Look Back. Throughout, Bob is a silver-tongued, sharp-eared provocateur, engaged in endless cat-and-mouse games with his would-be interviewees: his carving up of a) Terry Ellis (a.k.a. The Science Student) and b) Time Magazine’s London-based arts and science correspondent Horace Judson have surely passed into legend,
BD: D'you think it would bother me one little bit if you disliked me?
TE: No, no. But with some people it might bother you.
BD: No, no, you know. I’ve got my friends. I mean, you know, I’m well situated.
TE: But what about before you had any friends, did you... were you worried then?
BD: Was I worried?... I wasn’t worried about it. No, I was lucky. Weren’t you?
TE: (Comments obscured by Dylan’s guitar strumming)
BD: Weren’t you lucky when you didn’t have any friends?
TE: I can’t remember having any friends.
BD: No? Do you have many friends now?
TE: No. Because, because, I reached a stage when I suddenly realized what a friend was and then I probably had one or two. Before that I didn’t understand what a friend was anyway.
BD: Did you talk to your friends?
TE: I didn’t know who they were then.
BD: Well, now who your friends are... do you talk to your friends?
TE: Yeah. There are one or two people who I believe I can talk to.
BD: That’s why they’re your friends, because you can talk to them?
TE: I think a friend is a friend because...
BD: Do you communicate with them?
TE: Ah, to a certain extent. They can understand me more than anybody else.
BD: Ah, well, you see, we’re different. We come from two different worlds. You come from England, I come from the United States.
TE: Yeah, it’s true, but, I mean, we’re still human beings, so there’s some sort of connection between us.
BD: No. I’m just a guitar player, that’s all.
TE: Man, you’re trying to knock me.
BD: Man, believe me, I’m not trying to do that.
TE: I mean, what, I mean, if somebody comes in to interview you, normally, what’s your attitude?
BD: Oh, you’ve just read those interviews that we, a couple, the first few days that I was here.
TE: Erm, yeah, yeah.
BD: Those weren’t right, you know, you know that, you know. You know that they were all lies, lies, rubbish, you know that.
TE: Well... I don’t know. I got through the first few lines and didn’t read much more. Why I came in here I don’t know. I’m being regaled by all this... BD: Are you going to the concert?
TE: Yeah. I’m going to watch. I’m going to watch. I mean, I... well, this is what I came to see mostly.
BD: Well, just listen.
TE: Came to see you, but I thought I’d like to have a word with you first. I mean what is your whole attitude to life and when you meet someone what is your attitude towards them?
BD: I don’t like them.
TE: You don’t like them?
TE: I mean, I come in here, what’s your attitude towards me?
BD: Oh, I’ve got no attitude towards you at all. Why should I have an attitude towards you? I don’t even know you.
TE: No, but, I mean, it would be an attitude if you wanted to know me or didn’t want to know me.
BD: Why should I want to know you?
TE: I don’t know. That’s why I’m asking.
BD: Well, I don’t know.
BD: Ask me another question. You give me a reason why I should want to know you.
TE: Erm. I might be worth knowing.
BD: Why? Tell me why? What good is it going to be for me to know you? Name me one thing I’m going to gain.
TE: Well, you might learn something from my attitude to life.
BD: Well, what is your attitude to life?
TE: I can’t explain that in two minutes.
BD: Well, what are you asking me to explain in two minutes? ‘Cause that’s all your getting is two minutes. You’re asking me too explain something in two minutes too.
TE: You’re the artist. You’re supposed to be able to explain in two minutes.
BD: I am?
BD: Hey, wow. What about you? Aren’t you an artist?
TE: Oh no.
BD: What are you?
TE: I’m a science student.
BD: Well, let’s hear it again, what are you? A science student?
TE: A science student, of mathematics.
BD: Now what does that mean? Just what does that mean?
BD: What does that mean? What do you do? What’s your purpose in the world?
TE: Erm. What’s my purpose?
TE: What’s my purpose?
BD: How do you help? You, know. What do you do in the world?
TE: I’m a, er... I’m in the world for me I guess. A bit like everybody else.
BD: Just like me.
TE: Yeah. Yeah.
BD: So we’re just alike. Aren’t we?
TE: I guess so.
BD: We don’t come from two different worlds. We both come from, er... Prussia.
TE: You were wrong, you were wrong. I was right, all the time. Now, but, this is interesting. Now I go, I go to interview some groups... if I go to interview Alan’s mob, I don’t think they’re... they couldn’t care less about me, you know?
BD: Uh, you know why, don’tcha, you know, can’t you ever stop to wonder why?
TE: Um! (Laughter from Price)
BD: There’s gotta be some reason, doesn’t there?
TE: Yeah, yeah, but it’s nothing to do with me because they don’t want to know me before I go in.
BD: Uh, well what do you want from them? Why do you want them? Can you write them up in a paper? That’s something...
TE: No, I don’t think of myself as a... necessarily as a journalist... I’m a person, you know.
BD: ...As a scientist. Well, so what, there’s a million, thousand billion, so many persons outside.
TE: Yeah, I agree. Absolutely. BD: Well, you can’t know them all can you? TE: No, no, but if I meet somebody and I speak with them for a few minutes, I think that guy
might be able to give me something.BD: Well that... oh, ho... wooooah! (laughter all round) Now we’re getting down to it, huh,
yeah. What is it that you want?
TE: Um, everyone wants... everyone is out for what they can get. Well, I might be able to get something material...
BD: You wanna get a chick... might be able to get a chick. Maybe it’ll come better. (laughter all round)
(Ellis is offered a harmonica)
BD: You’ve got it.
TE: I don’t want it. I can’t play the thing.
BD: We don’t want it either.
TE: I can’t play it. You know what I meant when I said give me something material, but I’m not necessarily interested.
BD: Well, what can I give you spiritually?
TE: I might learn something.
BD: What don’t you know?
AP: You get a kick out of interviewing people? TE: Well, I don’t know if I don’t try... to find out, will I?BD: Do you ever just be quiet, silent, just watch and you don’t say one word?TE: Yeah, the whole thing that gets me about... about you and about Alan is the fact that
you’re knocking from the minute I come in.
BD: I don’t think you know when you’re liked, that’s all. If we, you know, if we want to knock you we can put you on.
TE: Yeah, but I mean, but, he’s just said that I’m talking a load of rubbish (referring to something inaudible in the background), you know, and...
AP: I never said that, you’re misquoting me already: you see that’s another journalist... TE: Oh no, I didn’t misquote you, I interpreted you.BD: You interpreted him to your own thing, right? To your own rules of your own, your own
TE: You have to give some answer.
AP: Why? TE: Well, to satisfy you.BD: You don’t have to satisfy me, besides, that’s impossible.TE: Well, if you’d said you didn’t want an answer I wouldn’t have given one.BD: You don’t try to satisfy everybody.TE: No.BD: Do you ever once in a while? Do you ever once in a while try to satisfy somebody?TE: Somebody, yeah, but not everybody.BD: A few people.TE: Some people I can’t satisfy, because that’s the way I’m made. No matter how hard I tried
I couldn’t satisfy them.
BD: Well, how do you know that?
BD: How do you know that?
TE: Erm, I can, well, if you get to know somebody for a little while you can guess, just, erm.
BD: Are you still friends with them even though you can’t satisfy them?
TE: Yeah. Friends, not deep friends. You find a field in which you can communicate.
BD: What’s a deep friend and what’s not?
TE: Someone that you’re almost exactly on the same plane with them... you can communicate with them very well.
BD: Somebody that’s just like you... looks like you...?
BD: Talks like you?
BD: Well, how do you like somebody...?
TE: Thinks the same way.
BD: Thinks the same way?
TE: Thinks the same way.
BD: Like what? Like they both think that... both are happy about a green door?
TE: No. Thinking the same language.
BD: Thinking the same language?
BD: Uh, huh.
TE: And so you can understand each other and you know what each other...
BD: Well, let’s try to understand each other, shall we?
TE: That wouldn’t be a bad idea. That wouldn’t be a bad idea and how are we going to set about understanding...?
BD: Well, you can ask your first question.
BD: You can ask your first question. Oh yeah. Have you got a question to ask? Come on. You haven’t got a question? [Knock on door ]BD: I think somebody’s calling for you.
Interview interrupted by arrival of the Sheriff’s lady.