Happy Father’s day, Daddy-O!
When I Paint My Masterpiece is a song written by Bob Dylan, and wonderfully performed by The Band. I have to confess a supreme ignorance of The Band, beyond their association with Dylan and their big hit “The Weight,” but many fellow rock snobs are very enthusiastic about them. (I’ve not even seen the famed concert film The Last Waltz, directed by Martin Scorsese, and I’m a big Scorsese fan.) The Band’s version of this song was brought to the attention by the movie Observe and Report, a comedy with Seth Rogen playing a disturbed Mall Security guard. In my interpretation of Dylan’s impressionistic lyrics, the singer of the song has never been to Europe, but has as rich an inner fantasy life as Rogen’s character, and imagines himself changing the world and his own sordid and pathetic life by creating an artwork to rival the European masters of old. My favorite line is “Sailin’ round the world in a dirty gondola/Oh, to be back in the land of Coca-Cola!” It’s a pop-art effect (Dylan, with his roots in the folk scene, is underappreciated as a pop-artist) and stands the European fantasy on its head.