Who Will Read Bob Dylan's Nobel Speech Tomorrow in Sweden?
All the shouting about Dylan's accepting, or not accepting, or liking, or not liking, or appreciating, or not appreciating, the Nobel Prize in Literature has finally faded. He appreciates it, and has said so; and though he will not be attending the Nobel ceremonies in Stockholm tomorrow, he has provided a speech that will be read.
Nobel laureates in literature have had others accept for them before. Samuel Beckett was awarded the prize in 1969, and his publisher, Jérôme Lindon, delivered a speech on his behalf.
Who's reading the speech Dylan himself has supplied? According to @NobelPrize on Twitter, Patti Smith will be performing "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" at the award ceremony, but the reader is yet to be officially named.
However, a gentleman who has known Dylan for five decades, and whose Manhattan shop provided the young musician with a home and reams of education and inspiration once upon a time, was getting suited up today for a white-tie event. Israel Goodman "Izzy" Young, proprietor of the Folklore Center on Macdougal Street, welcomed Dylan as a fellow from his arrival in New York. In Chronicles Vol. 1, the first volume of his autobiography, Dylan recalls, warmly, Izzy's good nature and mutual passions, which extended beyond the folk music they both loved and the musicians like Dave Van Ronk who frequented the place: "Young was a man that concerned himself with social injustice, hunger and homelessness and he didn't mind telling you so. His heroes were Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass....He had a lot of resilience, had even fought city hall into allowing folk music to be played in Washington Square Park. Everybody was for him."
In 1973, Young moved to Stockholm and opened a folklore center — Folklore Centrum — there. He continues to run it, and the New York Times had a profile on him a couple of days ago.
This afternoon, Young's daughter, the actress Philomène Grandin, posted a short film of her father on Facebook. He's in white tie and dancing a few steps in a shop — looking like a million bucks, and ready for a very formal event. "Daddy is warming up!" she wrote. Maybe Young is simply attending as a guest, but there couldn't be a better choice to give Dylan's speech than the 88-year-old legend, musical historian, collector and archivist who is dearly beloved by folk musicians and folks who love music.
Bob Dylan and Patti Smith via villagevoice.com
Izzy Young via Philomène Grandin on Facebook