Bob Dylan and Tom Petty – Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door

When Petty advances to the front of the stage to start singing, Dylan waves to him to wait until he finishes his harmonica solo. It was a little bit rude, but I guess Dylan wanted to show everyone who was boss (as if there was any doubt!) They harmonize beautifully in this song. (video below)

Tragically, Tom Petty died of an overdose after accidentally mixing a variety of medications including fentanyl, a potent opioid 30 to 50 times more powerful than heroin. He was 66.

I’m going to be posting a few more Dylan vids in the coming weeks. Since learning that the legendary singer-songwriter will be playing Paris mid-October, I’ve taken an interest in the man. I was never a fan. Oh, sure, like everyone else, I knew and sang along to his greatest songs: Lay Lady Lay, Blowin’ in the Wind, Like a Rolling Stone, etc. but he was on the periphery of my musical odyssey as I romped and rocked my way through the 1970s and 80s.

I’ve spent the past month watching his early performances from the 1960s, reading his memoir (Chronicles), viewing Martin Scorsese’s documentary on him called No Direction Home, and observing his startling transformations and mutations over the decades. He’s been called so many names. Shape-shifter. Protest singer. Jewish boy from Minnesota. Born again Christian. Trickster, troubadour, joker. Iconoclast, innovator, icon. And in 2016, Nobel Prize for Literature winner. What an extraordinary life this man has lived. And to think that it all started with an acoustic guitar, a harmonica and a clutch of amazing songs.

patriarchal domination

Patriarchal domination: Mandating women to cover is a deliberate way of controlling them and their bodies, the American equivalent being the conservative right’s recent decision to take away the bodily autonomy of women by overturning Roe v Wade.

The good news is that the American government has placed sanctions on Iran’s morality police, accusing them of abuse and violence against Iranian women and holding them responsible for the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died in custody last week.

“We condemn this unconscionable act in the strongest terms and call on the Iranian government to end its violence against women and its ongoing violent crackdown on free expression and assembly,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said.

The following opinion piece appeared in one of France’s mainstream newspapers today. I’ve translated a portion of it. The author is Jeannette Bougrab. The daughter of Algerian parents, she was born in France in 1973. Bougrab is a doctor of public law from the Sorbonne, a former academic, former president of the HALDE (Haute Autorité de lutte contre les discriminations et pour l’égalité) and former Secretary of State. (Source: Le Figaro)

Jeannette Bougrab

A cry of support for Iranian women and of rage against Western neo-feminists

Mahsa Amini died on September 16 after being arrested by the morality police in Iran for “wearing inappropriate clothes”. Bougrab underlines the courage of Iranian women and deplores the ignorance, even the complicity, of Western movements, which identify the veil (hijab) as a symbol of women’s emancipation.

“We must not be mistaken about the meaning of the veil. It is neither a social phenomenon nor a fashion artefact. It serves a deliberate policy that aims to subjugate the female mind and body,” says Bougrab.

The courage of Iranian women today commands admiration. They are engaged on the front line. These genuine feminists are well aware that they will not benefit from the support of the West, which is too preoccupied with organizing the wearing of the burkini in swimming pools.

Western self-proclaimed feminists are feminists in name only. In reality they are far left activists or deconstructionists. They don’t care about the lives of these women in Iran.
Any feminist who does not possess a modicum of Islamophobia, without which there can be no emancipation of women, is not credible.


“the complicity of Western movements which identify the hijab as a symbol of women’s emancipation.”

Take, for example, World Hijab Day. World Hijab Day is observed every year on February 1st to honor Muslim women who wear the hijab. It’s also a day to urge women of various origins and beliefs to try on the hijab and wear it for a few hours.

Why is this day held on February 1st?

On February 1st, 1979, the Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Iran in triumph after 15 years of exile. The shah and his family had fled the country two weeks before, and jubilant Iranian revolutionaries were eager to establish a fundamentalist Islamic government under Khomeini’s leadership.

Lift the veil and underneath you will find a political ideology: a set of doctrines, myths or symbols of a movement, institution or large group that explains how society should work and offers a political and cultural blueprint for a certain social order.

The founder of Hijab Day is activist Nazma Khan, a Bangladeshi-American owner of a Brooklyn-based headscarf company, and a Shiite-proselytizing TV station called Ahlul Bayt, “dedicated to delivering the pristine message of the Holy Prophet Muhammad and His Holy Household.”

Sounds like a brilliant marketing gimmick to me. The owner of a headscarf company who promotes the buying and wearing of headscarves. And the whole world has fallen for it.

murdered because of a stray lock of hair – violent protests and backlash in Iran

Iranian women are burning their headscarves and cutting their hair; mass protests are in progress.

Last week, a 22-year old woman was travelling with her family from Iran’s western province of Kurdistan to the capital, Tehran, to visit relatives. Her name was Mahsa Amini. Because of a loose-fitting hijab and a stray lock of hair, Mahsa was arrested in the street by Tehran’s “morality police” and placed in a police van. There, she was beaten into a coma. After spending three days in a coma, she died in hospital last Friday. Tehran’s police chief said her death was “unfortunate”. Riots and protest marches are occurring all over the country.

Days earlier, Iran’s hardline president had ordered a crackdown on women’s rights and called for stricter enforcement of the country’s mandatory dress code, which requires all women to wear the hijab head-covering and a full-length black cloak called a chador.

After “National Hijab and Chastity Day” was declared on July 12, women have been arrested across the country. One of them was a writer and artist, reportedly beaten and tortured in custody before making a forced apology on television. (see link below)

‘National Hijab and Chastity Day’ marks the country’s strict rules over women and their bodies. Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, it is mandatory for women and girls above the age of nine to wear the hijab in public.

Above the age of nine? Does this mean that Iranian clerics consider ten-year-old girls to be sexually arousing?

My interpretation? A despotic regime of corrupt wanking mullahs who force its female populace to cover their hair and bodies so as not to excite the male populace. The country is governed by sex-crazed, misogynistic, religious zealots.

And this brings me to another topic which I will address in my next blog post: Islamic revivalism (or Islamic awakening) in the West – an active political movement – yes, political – that is occurring before our very eyes and altering the landscape of Western democratic countries. France has understood this for decades – other countries, like my native country, Canada, has not.

Called upon to “restore Islam to ascendancy in a world that has turned away from God”, the movement seeks to renew commitment to the fundamental principles of Islam and the reconstruction of society in accordance with the Quran and traditions of the Islamic prophet, Mohammed.

An obvious sign of the re-Islamisation of many Muslims is the rise of the hijab in the public space. Among immigrants in non-Muslim countries (and the children of those immigrants), it includes a feeling of a “growing universalistic Islamic identity”, otherwise known as trans-national Islam.

YOU WOULD THINK that in solidarity with their oppressed sisters in Iran, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere, Muslim women in the West, happy to be free from theocratic regimes and religious zealots, would choose not to don the hijab. That’s not what’s happening. To the contrary.

something light and fun

I don’t know about you, but I need some levity this weekend. Reading the on-line newspapers is too depressing. The Queen is dead. Russia has turned off the gas and Europe’s bracing for a chilly winter in our homes (we’ve been told to turn down the thermostat and put on an extra sweater). The inflation surge is accelerating. The Russian-Ukraine war grinds on. Supermarket prices soar – I bought my usual tin of ILLY ground coffee earlier: the price has jumped from 6 euros to 8 euros …

This video uplifts me. Enjoy!



where’s the mustard?

For months, we’ve been scouring the supermarket shelves in search of something, anything, that bears a faint resemblance to French mustard. But where the jars and tubes used to sit – between the mayonnaise and the ketchup – there is nothing but empty shelves. La pénurie is a word we hear a lot now: shortage. And so, we whisk our salad vinaigrette, eat our baguette ham sandwiches and grilled sausages sans moutarde, but it’s just not the same. France is the largest consumer of mustard in the world.

What’s going on in Dijon?, was my first enquiry. Are the mustard workers on strike?

It turns out that Canada, which supplies 80 per cent of mustard seeds processed in France, was faced with a major drought last year in the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

The war in Ukraine is also having an effect, as France cannot source mustard seeds from Russia and is unable to get product from Ukraine.

The other day I scored the last packet of mustard from the staff cafeteria.

Jonathan Pie in the Sky – a video rant

I was waiting for this to appear on YouTube because I’m aware that many of you don’t subscribe to The New York Times in whose digital pages these rants appear. Well, here’s a new one which covers Britain’s brand new Prime Minister (Bojo was booted out of 10 Downing Street by his own party members) and the current state of affairs in that nation. A deep and dirty winter of discontent lies in wait for Britons.

If you missed it, here’s another excellent rant. He could also be talking about Trump and the Republican party –


Bob Dylan plays the Grand Rex in Paris

The American legend is performing at the Grand Rex in Paris on October 11, 12 and 13, 2022. And I’m goin’!
“The Rough and Rowdy Ways World Tour” kicks off in Europe this fall with shows in Norway, Sweden, Germany, France, Belgium, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom. They are “phone-free shows” (cellphones not allowed in the auditorium.)
Exactly one year ago, I wrote a blog post about Dylan and included one of his songs that to this day rips me up. Nearly 14 million hits. Here in Paris, I plan to go to the Bob Dylan concert, because I want to see the man who wrote this song.
Here’s the post here –