THE QUESTIONS FLEW
It was a hot, crowded conference at the airport. Radio interviewers, cameramen and reporters - and many followers who had sneaked in - jostled in suffocatingly on top of Bob Dylan.
Somebody thrust forward a copy of Antoine de Saint Exupery's book "The Little Prince" to be autographed.
One interviewer prattled on about a visit to Healesville Sanctuary. Another wanted "approval" for a technique used by the Beatles.
Questions - likes, dislikes, psychological, sociological, racial equality, bourgeois living, pop art and ballads - some silly, some provocative and some just insulting.
Beneath his mop of shaggy hair, Dylan, the acclaimed "king of folk music," rocked backwards and forwards on his feet as if feeling faint from the onslaught. His voice was barely audible.
Some of the queries he threw back at the questioners, others he shrugged off as if they weren't worth the physical effort of answering, and for a few he wove long answers of fairyland fancy from the beat world - nonsensical, but sharply amusing.
When it was all over, enterpreneur Ken Brodziak breathed deeply: "Thank goodness he kept his patience."
If anybody has been tempted to lose his patience, it was Dylan.
His unusual appearance and thorny individualism make him the butt for conservative censure.
On the other hand, he finds himself subject to many long and far too "clever" analytical profiles in the glossier magazines.
Dylan tries without conceit to explain that he's a "watcher," embroiled in nothing. He's a talented writer, composer and singer with a sensitive touch for interpreting the feelings of the moment.
But the publicity people these days demand non-conformists who are conforming non-conformists.