In the turbulent early 60s when it seemed like the world was about to literally explode, Bob Dylan was scribbling away.
The times were a changing, a hard rain was gonna fall.
Was he watching the news for inspiration or subjects to comment on? It turns out that his ear or at least his eye was following a different trend.
In his truly excellent autobiography Chronicles, Dylan admits that he found 100 year old news more interesting than what was being fed to him at the time. Dylan spent months combing through the archives in the New York Public Library looking for articles written in the 1850s. His finger seemed to be on the pulse but his interest lay in an earlier century.
In our modern world we are only a heartbeat away from a blog post or tweet or update or live feed that will inform us about the state of the nation. Or how politics and business should be going or would be going if the world was a different place. News, on the hour and every hour plus phones and computers linking us to the pulse of today's issue. And we, as media consumers, are at the heart of it. Absorbing every morsel of information.
As media consumers we appear to be at the helm of world events or at least tantalisingly close to being in control. We consume and can respond with tweets and online polls. With the wealth of information at our fingertips we are in training to be our own experts. We may have had enough of experts but that doesn't stop us trying to be one.
On Radio 4 last week, that jolly marathon running Evan Davis hosted a programme on Trade Deals and how to know one when you see one. In between The Archers and Comedy and Cooking was squeezed a full run down on how to negotiate your own trade deal. Another notch on the bedpost for that all important modern anxiety of controlling world events.
In the long gone, happy days of...well...before, the economy was all about whether Marks and Spencers were hiring or firing and politics was about voting Tory or Labour. Now, we are all deep into the details of how everything works and have the technology to dig deeper than ever before. We have a view and the tools to back up those views with oodles of digital data.
Our savvy media ears are turning us on to an overwhelming number of issues that take us way beyond those easier days of the colour supplements. We now have a view, an opinion and a theory on most things.
And then there are the factions, the sides we take and positions we assume, secure in the knowledge that we have all the facts to hand or at least only a click away. This helps us to shout louder, to be more sure, to be more right because we have the information.
Is this constant stream of 'news' healthy?
How important is the coming and goings of the Monetary Susan?
Chris Morris where are you?Suggest a correction