Dorian Lynskey

The data-spew about Bob Dylan never ends

When it comes to Bob Dylan, Clinton Heylin is The Man Who Knows Too Much. Since publishing his first biography, 1991’s Behind the Shades, he has become the world’s most committed Dylanologist, doggedly untwining the facts from the artist’s self-serving fictions. When he describes Dylan’s wildly unreliable 2004 memoir Chronicles: Volume One as ‘all a

How Withnail and I became a cult classic

There is an apocryphal story about a woman leaving a performance of Hamlet and complaining that it was nothing but a bunch of quotations strung together. Bruce Robinson’s 1987 movie Withnail & I can also feel like a caravan of famous lines: ‘I’ve only had a few ales’; ‘We’ve gone on holiday by mistake’; ‘We

Russia’s long history of smears, sabotage and barefaced lies

Russian politicians often refer to something called the Dulles Plan. This document purports to capture the future CIA chief Allen Dulles explaining, in 1948, the US strategy to destroy the moral foundations of the USSR and bring about ‘the death of the most intractable people on Earth… the definitive, irreversible dying out of its self-consciousness’.

The serious rows at Marvel Comics

In August 1961, two middle-aged Jewish New Yorkers, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, launched a new superhero comic book for the company that would become Marvel Comics and called it The Fantastic Four. In less than two years, working with either Kirby or Steve Ditko, Lee also co-created Hulk, Thor, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Ant-Man, Wasp,

The last days of Sodom

In 2002 I flew to New York to interview the dance music producer whose 1999 release Play remains the bestselling electronica album of all time. A few years earlier, Moby had been known as a teetotal Christian vegan, an ascetic anomaly in a scene built on hedonism, so there was something comic about his new-found

Music and revolt

On 13 August 1977, a demonstration by the National Front was routed in the streets of Lewisham by thousands of anti-fascist activists. The latter’s elation palled, however, when they saw the evening news frame the event as a battle between rival extremists. Among the critical voices were Labour’s deputy leader Michael Foot and the Daily

Trading crime for rhyme

I’ve interviewed a lot of rappers over the years and always feel a little grimy when I find myself nudging them to repackage a horrendous experience as a juicy anecdote with which to promote an album. Some natural raconteurs are happy to play that game — 50 Cent can now tell the story of the

A countercultural upheaval

‘New York stories in a way are always real estate stories,’ says the journalist Alan Light in Lizzy Goodman’s bustling oral history of the city’s music scene at the dawn of the century. The same goes for all music scenes. Talent clusters and thrives only where there are cheap places to live, hang out, play

Escape into pop

‘How can you come into this room and ask me “What is the purpose of life?”,’ wails Massive Attack’s laconic DJ Mushroom after a typically searching interrogation by the veteran music journalist Sylvia Patterson. In this powerful, enjoyable memoir she fares better with Spike Milligan (‘I wake up every morning and think, “Thank God, another

The clean and the unclean

In 1991, Moby folded the theme from Twin Peaks into a remix of his dance track ‘Go’ and a diminutive, teetotal, vegan Christian abruptly became the American rave scene’s first pop star. He was not the obvious candidate: one critic dubbed him ‘techno’s crazed youth minister’. As a showboating entertainer in a culture sceptical of

Tainted love | 23 March 2016

In 1963, when the bloom was still on the rose, Bob Dylan described Woodstock as a place where ‘we stop the clouds, turn time back and inside out, make the sun turn on and off… the greatest place’. Six years later, he wrote in Chronicles: Volume One, ‘Woodstock had turned into a nightmare, a place

It happened one summer | 27 August 2015

Five songs, only three of which were amplified. Thirty-five minutes, including interruptions. That’s how long Bob Dylan played for at Newport Folk Festival on Sunday 25 July 1965. Even on its own merits, it was a messy, halting set with an inadequate sound system. ‘Why did that matter?’ Elijah Wald rightly asks. ‘Why does what

Jerry Lee Lewis: interrogating ‘The Killer’

‘I ain’t never pretended to be anything,’ says the man they call the Killer. ‘I’ve lived my life to the fullest, and I had a good time doin’ it. And I ain’t never wanted to be no teddy bear.’ Jerry Lee Lewis is still recording and performing at the age of 79, but his legend