Obituary: John Bauldie

For those still prepared to consider Bob Dylan a god, John Bauldie sat at his right-hand side. For if Bauldie's wasn't the word of god, then the Telegraph - the quarterly journal he edited from its inception in his Romford living-room in 1981 until he died in the same helicopter crash that killed his friend Matthew Harding and three others - was, for many of us, the next best thing.

If the Telegraph begat few imitators in the notoriously lacklustre world of music fan magazines, then a casual perusal of its perfect-bound, immaculately designed pages reveals why: sumptuously upholstered with colour shots often snapped from the first few rows of Dylan's shows (seats that Bauldie would often secure on behalf of his subscribers), the Telegraph was a masterly concoction of hard fact, inspired hypothesis and the frequently fascinating anecdotal chaff that accredited the wonderings and wanderings of its self-styled "Bobcats".

A fan since 1964, when he was first alerted to The Freewheelin' Boy Dylan (his second album) by a schoolyard chum, the Telegraph was as much a tribute to John Bauldie's skills as an editor and occasional agitator (he was, for example, no fan of Dylan's increasingly incessant touring), as it was its quarry. Bauldie's was a reputation not lauded by a scant few "Dylanheads" either - the Telegraph boasted a world-wide subscriber's list of 20,000. And such was John Bauldie's authority, the artist's own office approached him to write the liner notes to the 1993 Bob Dylan: The Bootleg Series Volume 1-3, for which he received a Grammy Award nomination.

A friend and fellow author of books about Dylan, the American journalist Paul Williams, rates Bauldie's efforts as "Scholarship in the best possible sense. He amassed an extraordinary trove of responsible information. It was of such a high level of intellectual quality, information naturally gravitated to it." (Dylan, too, confessed a sneaking admiration, telling his "Boswell" at their solitary meeting in 1986: "Yeah, I've seen that. It's pretty interesting.")

My own introduction to John Bauldie was via a note I found waiting for me on my first day as Production Editor at Q in 1993. The handwritten welcome from Bauldie, the magazine's first and only sub since its launch in 1987, proved to be the perfect introduction to a man who prized erudition, concision and, where appropriate, a dry Lancastrian humour above all else (excepting, perhaps, a glass of gratis Veuve Cliquot).

Of course, his reputation went before him (he was, after all, the co- compiler of two anthologies of the Telegraph and Oh No, Not Another Bob Dylan Book, and had also published accounts of Dylan's 1966 tour, "The Ghost of Electricity", and, later, his own on-the-road musings, Diary of a Bobcat).

As a Dylan fan anxious to turn an enjoyment of the music into an appreciation of his artistry, John Bauldie was swiftly cast in the role of my patient teacher, the weary grace with which he bore my routinely banal inquiries doubtless perfected during the years he had spent in his native Bolton as an English lecturer.

I once asked Bauldie - during one of the many longueurs happily necessitated by the production of a monthly magazine like Q - which, if he were forced to choose, would he give up: Bob Dylan or his beloved Bolton Wanderers. With what I considered at the time to be indecent haste, he answered simply "Dylan". It was while returning from watching his team beat Chelsea 2-1 that John Bauldie's irreplaceable life was so cruelly taken.

Bill Prince

John Bauldie, journalist and writer: born Bolton, Lancashire 23 August 1949; died 22 October 1996.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Have you been doing a brilliant job in an admi...

Recruitment Genius: Interim Head of HR

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you an innovative, senior H...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources and Payroll Administrator

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client, a very well respect...

Recruitment Genius: HR Consultant

£25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An HR Consultant is required to join thi...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable