"Permission to land, Tom"


Transcript of two film reels from the Eat The Document archives.


It's now 7am. The sun is up over Hyde Park. The limousine trip is nearly over. Lennon is stoned, but distinctly edgy. Dylan is about to be sick. This is the transcript of the two reels that were judged too weird even for Eat The Document.

Scene: the back of a limo.

Dramatis Personae: John Lennon, a Beatle; Bob Dylan, a folk-rock superstar; Bobby Neuwirth, friend of Dylan's and temporary sound recordist; D.A. Pennebaker, cinema verite film-maker; Tom, a chauffeur.

Time: early morning.

REEL ONE


Dylan: (peering out of a rainy window as the great car rumbles down the
       road) There's the mighty Thames. That's what held Hitler back, the
       mighty Thames. Winston Churchill said that. (To Tom, the chauffeur)
       Tom, ain't that right? (Louder) Ain't that right, Tom? Tom, I think
       I'm gonna turn you into Tyrone Power.

Lennon: Say that again, will you Bob?

Dylan: Tom, I think I'm gonna turn you into Ronald Coleman.

Lennon: That's better. That's very much better.

Dylan: Reginald Young. Pee Weedsrom. Or Sleepy John Estes, man. Or Robert
       Johnson. Go to medical school like J. Carroll Nash...

Lennon: Johnny Cash, or all the rest of them.

Dylan: I have Johnny Cash in my film. Are you gonna shit yourself when you
       see it. You won't believe it.

Lennon: Hey! John's gonna shit again!

Dylan: He doesn't know. You know what he looks like, right, Johnny Cash?
       Have you spent much time around him? He moves great. He moves like
       that. (Makes Dave Berry/human sloth-type gesture). (To Pennebaker)
       You gotta cut that part of the film, man, 'cos I really like him. He
       moves like all good people. Like prize fighters. (Smiles directly to
       camera) Johnny!

Lennon: Johnny! Big River, Big River! (Makes Macca-like thumbs aloft gesture
        of approval)

Pennebaker: (Putting head around camera and beaming) That's for Johnny, too!

Dylan: Yeah, he's on film too. He's incredible.

Lennon: Quite a guy, huh?

Dylan: Quite a guy, John. Oh man, you shoulda been around last night, John.
       Today's a drag.

Lennon: Oh really, Bob?

Dylan: Haha! I wish I could talk English, man.

Lennon: Me too, Bobby.

Dylan: (Pointing to Lennon) He can talk American. (To Tom) Hey, Tom, you've
       heard me talk in English haven't you? But I can't never do it around
       John though because (behind back of hand) John's such a great actor,
       man, that...

Lennon: ...you can't believe that it's me.

Dylan: Is this the mighty Thames, still, Tom? (To Lennon) Remember when I
       played you those tapes? Do you remember what you said to me? I played
       you a son and you said...what's he name of your song publishing
       company?

Lennon: Dick James.

Dylan: Naw, naw. Is that the name of it? That wasn't the name I heard.

Lennon: Northern Songs?

Dylan: Right, that was it. I said, What's Northern Songs? And I was never
       told, man. I had to go and find out.

Lennon: Didn't they tell you?

Dylan: No, man, they didn't tell me. Someone said, You wanna be on Northern
       Sons and you laughed and Paul McCartney looked the other way and
       talked to Ringo...

Lennon: ...and Mick Jagger...

Dylan: ...blew shit from his nose...

Lennon: ...and Rob Roy leapt into the room with a big kilt on and said, Hey,
        Bobby, have you heard this one?

Dylan: Haha! You haven't lived in Texas, man. I read in the paper that
       George Harrison spends a lot of time in the States. You've learned a
       lot from George.

Lennon: (In John Peel-style voice) Tell me about The Mamas & Pappas, Bob. I
        believe you're backing them bigly.

Dylan: I knew it would get to that. I knew it would get to that. Naw. You're
       just interested in the big chick, right? She's got hold of you too.
       She's got a hold of everybody I know. Everybody asks me the same
       thing. you're terrible, man.

Lennon: Do you know Ralph Donner? He's another great one.

Dylan: No, I only know the lesser known ones.

Lennon: Barry McGuire's a great war hero.

Dylan: Barry McGuire? He's a good friend of yours, John, I understand.

Lennon: He met me through you, Bob, remember that. He's a great buddy,
        Sergeant Barry.

Dylan: Haha! Tell me about The Silkies.

Lennon: Naw. We've missed all the good 'uns.

Dylan: Tell me about this pain in my side.

Lennon: Why don't you take something?

Dylan: I've taken a few milligrams of Silkie once. (Dylan then tries to
       recommence the previous, spectacularly unsuccessful Barry McGuire
       routine). Barry McGuire tells me he's a great friend of yours.

Lennon: (In unmistakable Tito Burns-style voice - see Don't Look Back)
        Well, I hate to say this about Barry, Bobby, but I don't know him at
        all personally, but I did have a letter from his manager saying he
        was very close to you, being on the bosom of the current
        folk-a-rock-a boom.

Dylan: Yes, yes.

Lennon: That's the first thing I did hear about Barry himself.

Dylan: But you've never really exchanged correspondence...(breaks off to
       addresss Pennebaker, pointing out of the car window) Oh, get those
       two lovers over there...(To Lennon) You never did, as one of your
       friends would wish you, you never did meet the chap. Haha!

(Lennon is silent. Reel one ends.)


REEL TWO


Dylan: (Looking increasingly tired and distressed) I wanna go back home. I
       wanna go back home, man, see a baseball game, all-night TV. I come
       from a land of paradise, man.

Lennon: (In thick Northern accent, very sarcastically) Sounds great.

Dylan: Well, I could make it sound so great that you wouldn't have the
       capacity to speak.

(Lennon is silent)

Dylan: (No longer "acting") Hey, I'm very sick, man. I'll be glad when this
       is over, 'cos I'm getting very sick here.

Lennon: With the tremors?

Dylan: Are you getting sick here? (Pennebaker leans out of the limo and
       shoots Dylan through the window) Is it pouring yet? Hey, that's a
       good shot, but why don't you bring it back in 'cos it's cold. (He
       scowls, then groans, struck by a wave of nausea) Aw! How far are we
       from the hotel, Tom?

Tom: Five minutes.

Dylan: Oh, wow.

Lennon: Permission to land, Tom.

Dylan: Oh God, I don't wanna get sick here. (Head in hands) What if I vomit
       into the camera? I've done just about everything else into that
       camera, man, I might just vomit into it.

Pennebaker: It'd make a nice ending, wouldn't it? Cooking With Dylan we'll
            call it.

Dylan: But I never throw up. (Gallantly attempting to regain composure) So
       tell me John, how long have you had a partnership with Macy's?

Lennon: The Macy Brothers themselves, we've had a partnership of 13, 14
        years I guess.

Dylan: And you're a new cat, a new youngster, from Canada, right?

Lennon: Canada, yes, rootin' tootin' Quebec, you know.

Dylan: (Abandoning the improvisation) Aw, I'm very sick. How far are we out
       of town?

Tom: About ten minutes.

Dylan: Awww!

Tom: Do you want to head back?

Dylan: Yeah! Hurry!

Bobby Neuwirth: (Affecting the voice of the BBC World Service interviewer in
                Don't Look Back) In approximately fifteen seconds from now
                BBC2 going on the air, in approximately fifteen seconds from
                now, an interview with Mr Dylan...Mr Dylan, you must
                remember me from the Jamaicas, I went to school with Bobby
                Babwebba Babbabably Bawebbly...

Dylan: (Pleading) Aw, don't do it to me, man.

Bobby Neuwirth: All the soul brothers from the BBC will be there. The BBC
                good guys are at the airport. The BBC bad guys are waiting
                downtown for you when you get there.

(Dylan looks ever more uncomfortable. He removes his shades and rubs his
eyes.)

Lennon: Do you suffer from sore eyes, groovy forehead, or curly hair? Take
        Zimdon!

Dylan: Aw, no, man.

Lennon: Come, come, boy, it's only a film. Come, come, pull yourself
        together. Another few dollars, eh? That'll get your head up. Come
        on, come on, money, money!

Dylan: Haha! Huh! Where are you, Tom?

Bobby Neuwirth: We're in Sherwood forest, Rob. Friar Tuck.

Dylan: (Pleading, about to vomit into camera) Please go back to the hotel.

Tom: I'm on the way back now.

Bobby Neuwirth: What's the altitude in here?

Tom: Two thousand feet.


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