It was a balmy Saturday evening in May, Nineteen Sixty Five. The craggy featured man in the long black coat and flat cap walked across the zebra crossing by the Odeon Cinema to the other side of London Road in Liverpool.
Across his shoulders hung a heavy canvas satchel containing dozens of copies of the Liverpool Echo. He took up his usual pitch by the Lord Warden pub and took out a quire of that evening's edition of the newspaper and began to sell to the homeward bound public. He grimaced rather than smiled, revealing a solitary tooth at the bottom left corner of his mouth.
Two young men approached him.
'Anything about Bob Dylan in the Echo tonight?' asked one of the men.
The Echo seller, looked puzzled.
'When did he die? It takes about a week for the obituaries to be put in!'
The two young men laughed and walked across to the Odeon cinema. They began to queue at the main entrance. Soon they were joined by lots of youngish people and the line snaked around into Hotham Street.
The Echo seller continued to hawk the paper, but business was slow.
'I wish I could get rid of this lot and go home', he announced to the passing people. 'Me tea will be cold by the time I get home tonight!'
Noticing the lengthening queue outside of the cinema, he decided to move over the road. He saw the sign for the evening's concert and read it aloud.
'Bob Dylan Tonight. Stalls 17/6, 15/- and 10/6. Balcony 15/- and 10/6.'
He recognised the two young men he had spoken to earlier.
'Who is this Bob Dylan?', he asked.
'He's an American folk singer', replied one of the young men.
'He plays guitar and harmonica as well', said the other man.
'Sounds like a busker does he, then?', the Echo seller asked, treating the crowd to another solitary toothed attempt at a smile.
'Dylan writes his own songs, like The Beatles do', said another voice.
The Echo seller walked slowly past the queue, barking out his message to the crowd until the last edition of the paper had been sold. Then it was time to head off home, with one last pearl of wisdom for the increasingly excited bunch of mainly long haired young men and women. He shook his money pouch and shouted out his message.
'17/6 to see a busker? I'd want to see Frank Sinatra for that price!'
The crowd gave him an ironic cheer. The Echo seller gave a 'V for Victory' sign in return, as the late evening sun glinted upon his solitary tooth.
The doors of the cinema opened and the audience began to file in.
Bob Dylan came onstage to a rapturous welcome. A year later at the same venue accompanied by a band, it would be a very different story.



By Briant Briant

This story was added on 30th April 2011

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