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Bonnie and Clyde was big at the movies, and Hoffman and Rubin were making Yippie! on radio and TV, trying to get the young and foolish to go to Chicago that August to play "Crowd" in a piece entitled Law and Order. Those two geriatric longhairs were raising the underground to the height of its alternative shuck with a makeup title for a make-believe number that was to be the Yippie Festival of Life Convention in Chicago. Even though Emmett was in New York while the YIP propaganda was manipulating lame middle-class kids into its pseudo-street culture, he simply refused to believe that anyone real was going to fall for their obvious scam, and he went up to Woodstock to visit with the man who invited him there.

Bob Dylan was exactly unlike what Emmett Grogan expected him to be.

Emmett was in Europe during those first years that Bob talked the music and played the news to his starving generation, and broke the hearts of every American poet with his singing of the song. Of course, he heard the records overseas, but it wasn't like listening to those same albums in the country where they were cut. By the time, Emmett finally came home and settled into things, it was already "Blonde on Blonde," and he just temporarily didn't know. He found out later without having to tramp through the green, hardsell, crystal swamp of positively Fourth Street, image-persona, media hustle.

Now Emmett was sitting on the second step of a warped wooden flight of four front stairs that led up and into the funky, screened porch of a pine-walled cabin where a film editor, who used the name Al Gable whenever he seldom took a credit, lived with his wife, six hound dogs and two dozen cats. Bob was sitting on the same step, and in him Emmett saw a man who somehow made it through that swamp and settled down alive on the other side. A man who had a wife and five kids and simply played music for a living. A plain and easy-dressed man, complicated only by the hearsay. A physically small man who was strong for his size and not fat at all, but wiry with coached stringy muscle and shoulders that stuck out wider than you'd think. A man with a lot of friends, but afraid of those who weren't, just the same. A man who kept a matchstick in his mouth to keep from smoking and who was sliding with the knowledge of growing older and leaving the brassy, punk snide of his younger-than-that now behind him. Dylan was clean.

They talked soft and casual for as long as it took them both to find [end page 477]


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