Bob Dylan comes across as an artist that has the answer to every possible question. However, on certain occasions, the freewheeling troubadour has pleaded for advice and help throughout his lifetime.
Dylan has a Rolodex of contacts with an expert for every possible unwanted scenario that he could find himself tangled up within. Carrie Fisher was one of the lucky ones to receive a call to assist the singer-songwriter. The phone call was unexpected, and the subject matter took Fisher by even more surprise.
When the actress knew a call from Dylan was on its way, she expected him to be asking her out on a date, but that wasn’t what Bobby had in mind. The conversation topic was a relief to Fisher, who recalled in her memoirs that at the time, she thought: “I don’t want anymore sixties icons fucking up my life”.
If you offered Fisher a thousand guesses as to what the call would entail, the actress would be left dumbstruck once she’d ran out of attempts. The singer didn’t want her to star in a music video or anything semi-related to her craft. Instead, he wanted advice about a name for a cologne, which is a surreal phone call to receive from anyone, let alone Bob Dylan.
“He was calling because this cologne company had contacted him to see if he wanted to endorse a cologne called Just Like A Woman,” Fisher recalled in her memoir. “Now Bob didn’t like that name, but he liked the idea of endorsing a cologne. And he wanted to know if I had any good cologne names.”
With most people, this is where the phone call would end. However, Dylan had struck gold with Fisher, who had agonised over this question in her head on plentiful occasions and turned out to be the perfect person for him to turn to. Of course, it is unknown she was the first person Dylan contacted to solve his conundrum, but Fisher had the answers he desperately needed to hear.
Fisher then revealed her suggestions: “Ambivalence, for the scent of confusion. Arbitrary, for the man who doesn’t give a shit how he smells, and Empathy — feel like them and smell like this. Well, Bob actually liked those! And then he said he thought he might like to open up a beauty salon, and I said, ‘What? Like ‘Tangled Up and Blown?'”
Unfortunately, Dylan’s plans to storm the beauty world never got started, and we will never know which one of Fisher’s three bizarre suggestions would have ended up on Billboards in Times Square.
Fisher went on to add how she later discovered that this was quite a common occurrence in Dylan’s life. When she met George Harrison at a dinner party, he told Fisher how every time the folk legend spent too long on the road, he became determined to switch his life up and do something completely new. He even asked Harrison whether he wanted to set up The Travelling Wilbury’s Hotel just the week before Fisher spoke with The Beatle.
Dylan has always been fighting his love-hate relationship with artistry. Although he might have momentarily thought life as a beauty salon mogul would be a quieter life that he’d prefer in his heart of hearts, Dylan knows that being an artist is the only way he could live.