So, you really want to know if Bob Dylan subscribes to The Telegraph, and if he does, what does he think about it? Well, I'll tell you.
When I started The Telegraph back in 1981, I wanted to make sure that we were on the right side of 'Dylan's people'. I never expected any support or cooperation, but what I didn't want was to be in an adversorial position. I didn't want to cause offence. I wanted us to be good guys, supportive of Bob and all his works. So I got in touch the what will be called, from now on, The Office, in New York, told them what we were doing and asked if it was OK. It was OK, they said, as long as I sent two copies of the magazine, one for The Office, the other for 'a business associate'.
Now let's get one thing straight. Though he denies it, Bob Dylan reads about himself. There's lots of evidence for this. In the past, he's quoted reviews of last nights concerts on stage, he's always surrounded by newspapers, he knows what goes on, and goes down. So isn't it likely that he'd take some interest in a magazine about himself? Highly likely, I would have thought, but how could I ever have any proof that he did read it?
Two bits of evidence came my way early on - well, we're talking four or five years down the line here. First, the son of an old friend of his up in Minnesota told me that Dylan visited their house sometimes when he was staying at his farm in St Paul. The lad was a Telegraph subscriber, and in his house Telegraphs were around and about for Bob to pick up. So has Bob ever picked them up? I asked. 'Oh yes,' came the reply. 'He reads them very carefully - and he writes things down, sometimes!'
Well, believe it or not?
Then one day I was with filmmaker D.A.Pennebaker, who has become a bit of a pal and who loves The Telegraph. Now Penne's a bit of a teaser and there was a twinkle in his eye when he told me this, but . . . he said that one day he got a call from Bob, who was in New York. 'Pennebaker,' said Bob, 'you got your new Telegraph yet?' 'Yeah,' Penne replied, 'it came yesterday.' 'Can I borrow it?' asked Bob. 'Mine's not come yet.'
Believe it or not?
Finally, I met Dylan, had a silly conversation with him for about 20 minutes. From the outset I told him who I was. 'I'm the guy who does The Telegraph, the magazine all about you.' Dylan stopped dead in his tracks, lifted his shades and squinted underneath them, studying the lines on my face. 'That you? You do that?' 'Er, yes,' I stuttered, 'What do you think?' I prepared myself for anything, but mostly for a punch between the eyes. 'I seen a few issues of that,' grinned Bob. 'It's pretty interesting.' Which I thought was pretty funny, given that it's all about him.
So there you have it. Nowadays, The Office has four copies of each issue - they even pay for two of them! So yes, I think that Bob Dylan does read it, sometimes, maybe. Does that make a difference?