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Entries in the beatles (4)

Tuesday
Jan052010

In Which We Revisit John Lennon's Doggerel

The Daily Howl

by MOLLY LAMBERT

John Lennon wrote poetry. More specifically he wrote doggerel. I think doggerel is pretty underrated as far as art forms go. If somebody published the poems Tess and I have co-authored on IM over the years they'd make a mint. Well, maybe not a mint but they're worth at least the paper they weren't printed on. Lennon was a genius with words. The neighboring Liverpool poetry scene fomented the notion of pop poetry.

If you hear any early interviews with the Beatles it's clear that all four are hilarious. John in particular had a keenly absurd sense of humor that translated extremely well to radio. He could be caustically funny, influencing the confrontational interview style of Bob Dylan. He was a polymath, always writing poems and drawing pictures while also making music.

Lennon started writing and drawing early in life, with encouragement from his Uncle George, and created his own comic strip in his school book, which he called "The Daily Howl". It contained drawings (frequently of crippled people) and satirical writings, often with a play on words. Lennon wrote a weather report saying, "Tomorrow will be Muggy, followed by Tuggy, Wuggy and Thuggy."

Lennon was adept at free association and improvisation in his linguistic explorations, which can be seen in both his prose writing and a portion of his lyrics. Use of puns, near-homonyms, bizarre imagery, disconnected narrative threads and references, creative misspellings, and abrupt, unresolved conclusions.

In many ways its style is similar to books written by Spike Milligan or the spoken nonsense of Stanley Unwin.

Some poems from Lennon's two published collections of poetry, A Spaniard In The Works and In His Own Write and a posthumous volume of pictures and such, Skywriting By Word Of Mouth.

ABOUT THE AWFUL

I was bored on the 9th of Octover 1940 when, I believe, the Nasties were still booming us led by Madalf Heatlump (Who had only one). Anyway, they didn't get me. I attended to varicous schools in Liddypol. And still didn't pass-much to my Aunties supplies. As a memebr of the most publified Beatles me and (P, G, and R's) records might seem funnier to some of you than this book, but as far as I'm conceived this correction of short writty is the most wonderfoul larf I've ever ready.
God help and breed you all.

GOOD DOG NIGEL

Arf, Arf, he goes, a merry sight
Our little hairy friend
Arf, Arf, upon the lampost bright
Arfing round the bend.
Nice dog! Goo boy,
Waggie tail and beg,
Clever Nigel, jump for joy
Because we are putting you to sleep at three of the clock, Nigel.

A SURPRISE FOR LITTLE BOBBY

It was little Bobby's birthmark today and he got a surprise. His very fist was lopped off, (The War) and he got a birthday hook!
All his life Bobby had wanted his very own hook; and now on his 39th birthday his pwayers had been answered. The only trouble was they had send him a left hook and ebry dobby knows that it was Bobby's right fist that was missing as it were.
What to do was not thee only problem: Anyway he jopped off his lest hand and it fitted like a glove. Maybe next year he will get a right hook, who knows?

THE NATIONAL HEALTH COW

I strolled into a farmyard
When no-one was about
Treading past the troubles
I raised my head to shout.

'Come out the Cow with glasses,'
I called and rolled my eye.
It ambled up toward me,
I milked it with a sigh.

'You're just in time' the cow said,
Its eyes were all aglaze,
'I'm feeling like an elephant,
I aren't been milked for days.'

'Why is this? ' I asked it,
Tugging at its throttles.
'I don't know why, perhaps it's 'cause
MY milk comes out in bottles.'

'That's handy for the government,'
I thought, and in a tick
The cow fell dead all sudden
(I'd smashed it with a brick).

THE MOLDY MOLDY MAN

I'm a moldy moldy man
I'm moldy thru and thru
I'm a moldy moldy man
You would not think it true
I'm moldy til my eyeballs
I'm moldy til my toe
I will not dance I shyballs
I'm such a humble Joe.

THE FAT BUDGIE

I have a little budgie
He is my very pal
I take him walks in Britain
I hope I always shall.

I call my budgie Jeffrey
My grandads name's the same
I call him after grandad
Who had a feathered brain.

Some people don't like budgies
The little yellow brats
They eat them up for breakfast
Or give them to their cats.

My uncle ate a budgie
It was so fat and fair.
I cried and called him Ronnie
He didn't seem to care

Although his name was Arthur
It didn't mean a thing.
He went into a petshop
And ate up everything.

The doctors looked inside him,
To see what they could do,
But he had been too greedy
He died just like a zoo.

My Jeffrey chirps and twitters
When I walk into the room,
I make him scrambled egg on toast
And feed him with a spoon.

He sings like other budgies
But only when in trim
But most of all on Sunday
Thats when I plug him in.

He flies about the room sometimes
And sits upon my bed
And if he's really happy
He does it on my head.

He's on a diet now you know
From eating far too much
They say if he gets fatter
He'll have to wear a crutch.

It would be funny wouldn't it
A budgie on a stick
Imagine all the people
Laughing till they're sick.

So that's my budgie Jeffrey
Fat and yellow too
I love him more than daddie
And I'm only thirty two.

I SAT BELONELY

I sat belonely down a tree,
humbled fat and small.
A little lady sing to me
I couldn't see at all.

I'm looking up and at the sky,
to find such wonderous voice.
Puzzly, puzzle, wonder why,
I hear but I have no choice.

'Speak up, come forth, you ravel me',
I potty menthol shout.
'I know you hiddy by this tree'.
But still she won't come out.

Such sofly singing lulled me sleep,
an hour or two or so
I wakeny slow and took a peep
and still no lady show.

Then suddy on a little twig
I thought I see a sight,
A tiny little tiny pig,
that sing with all it's might 'I thought you were a lady',
I giggle, - well I may,
To my surprise the lady,
got up - and flew away.

AN ALPHABET

A is for Parrot which we can plainly see
B is for glasses which we can plainly see
C is for plastic which we can plainly see
D is for Doris
E is for binoculars I'll get in five
F is for Ethel who lives next door
G is for orange because we love to eat when we can get them because they come from abroad
H is for England and (Heather)
I is for monkey we see in the tree
J is for parrot which we can plainly see
K is for shoetop we wear to the ball
L is for Land because brown
K is for Venezula where the oranges come from
N is for Brazil near Venezuela (very near)
O is for football which we kick about a bit
T is for Tommy who won the war
Q is a garden which we can plainly see
R is for intestines which hurt when we dance
S is for pancake or whole-wheat bread
U is for Ethel who lives on the hill
P is arab and her sister will
V is for me
W is for lighter which never lights
X is for easter--have one yourself
Y is a crooked letter and you can't straighten it
Z is for Apple which we can plainly see

This is my story both humble and true
Take it to pieces and mend it with glue

Molly Lambert is the managing editor of This Recording. She tumbls here and twitters here.

Monday
Jan042010

In Which You Receive Some Missives For The Missuses

Emails From Your Boyfriend The Beatle

by TESS LYNCH

On Thu, Nov 19, 2009 at 8:45 PM, John Lennon<hrtbreakhotel@gmail.com> wrote:

Hey Babe.

I've bought a military jacket. I thought that you would find that quite amusing.

 I'm writing to let you know, besides that I've bought a military jacket: I've decided to stay in my bathtub for a fortnight; now, now. I know. But I've a feeling that if I don't (stay in my bathtub for a fortnight), these awful wars will never end. It's dawned on me that a bathtub isn't quite so terrible a situation, especially not when compared with large-scale human suffering, so I've decided to fill the bathtub with river water from the Hudson. I've been carrying it up in buckets for a week now, leisurely. I heard of a boy who drank a teaspoon of water from the River Hudson and he became quite a maniac, really. Any interest in the tub idea? Could get ahold of some pharmaceuticals and make it quite fun!

Love,

John

On Thu, Nov 18, 2009 at 7:43 AM, Paul McCartney<thecuteone@gmail.com> wrote:

My Kitten,

First off: I'm sorry we had a row. It was a drag. And, you know, when I say it was a drag, I mean it was a terrible drag.A stone drag. I'm sorry, moonbeam. Look! I've writ you a poem!

Heloise, Hannah, and Joan
They can never dethrone
You, I'm blue, boo hoo.
Take me back! Heart attack!
Getting our love back on track --

Aw, love, it's rubbish. Even John won't speak to me. And he's usually quite a help with my poems. Look, perhaps you can stop by after work? Might you still have access to any pharmaceuticals? Even some shoe polish, distilled. That should jump-start things a bit, creatively. I'll stop scrumping that barkeep! I'll be true!

Yours Forever, Holding Your Hand,

Paul

On Thu, Nov 19, 2009 at 5:02 PM, Ringo Starr<snarkystarkey@gmail.com> wrote:

Hey, Missus Octopus,

Ringo here. I'm not sure your phone is working. I've sent you quite a few SMS texts? Ringo, from the bar? 

I was the one who was sipping a mai tai, slaying you with my wit?

Please,

Ringo

On Thu, Nov 17, 2009 at 2:00 AM, George Harrison<DharmaAndGeorge@gmail.com> wrote:

[silence]

[guitar solo]

hello love.

I've eaten six bags of jelly babies, shipped from the UK. I've still got one bag in the pantry, if you'd like to join me after yoga.

[silence]

[guitar solo]

love,

george

On Thu, Nov 20, 2009 at 7:43 AM, Paul McCartney <thecuteone@gmail.com> wrote:

Hello, Bird,

Do you like when I call you that? I've had a thought, lover. What do you think of this!: I'm going to re-write the lyrics "Michelle, my belle" as "Michelle, my bird." Or maybe "Michelle, ma bird," if I do go in that direction after all. But what rhymes with bird? Word? "These two things are go-together words." Oh, well, stumped again!

Love Forever,

Paul

On Thu, Nov 20, 2009 at 8:45 PM, John Lennon <hrtbreakhotel@gmail.com> wrote:

Hey Babe. 

I've gotten out of the bathtub. I didn't feel I was suffering at all, really. I kept refilling it when I caught chill -- I couldn't help it. I'm terrible at suffering. In order to improve, I'm going to try putting the bath on a barge, and then filling the barge with garbage and orphans, and sinking it into the River Hudson. After a dunk or two, I'll surely be a maniac, unable to fill my greedy mouth with candies. Are you coming along, my woman? I wish our human's skin was interwoven, like that peasant's basket from which we sampled the fruits of Jamaica.

Love,

John

On Thu, Nov 20, 2009 at 5:02 PM, Ringo Starr <snarkystarkey@gmail.com> wrote:

Well, hello, Missus Octopus!

Just a quick query as to why you have not responded to my emails and the SMS text messages I sent to your mobile? Feeling self-conscious (I'll admit it! Even I, a Beatle, sometimes feel just wee) about the last time we spoke, I thought I'd extend an olive oil branch in your direction. 

Please,

Ringo

On Thu, Nov 19, 2009 at 2:00 AM, George Harrison <DharmaAndGeorge@gmail.com> wrote:

[silence]

[guitar solo]

[burp]

excuse me.

today's lunch: almonds, apricots, prayer bread, and a chunky bar.

i'm curious what you had. it's a shame we have to eat at all, with all the starving children in third world countries.

what are the second world countries?

[guitar solo]

[silence]

love,

george

On Thu, Nov 21, 2009 at 7:43 AM, Paul McCartney <thecuteone@gmail.com> wrote:

Allo Allo Allo!

I know it's your birthday in a few weeks, and I've decided that instead of getting you things like diamonds and furs, all that wanky money stuff, I'd write you a poem. Poems are precious, like love, and ideas!

You are fun, and your love
is a lot of fun
And you say lots of fun things
(you know you do you know you do you know you do)
And of this ever-better world of which we speak of
Makes you want to say "Hi"

I've got a call in to John about the wrap-up bit. Hope you don't mind if he collaborates with me. It's my heart it's from. Don't forget who has the dimples, princess -- me. 

Love,

Paul

On Thu, Nov 21, 2009 at 6:45 PM, John Lennon <hrtbreakhotel@gmail.com> wrote:

Hey Babe.

They have Wifi on this barge. Can you imagine? There is literally no place in New York where I can suffer adequately. I've asked around, and it seems my only option -- the only way possible to peacefully protest the human tragedies of the world today -- is to wrap myself in sandpaper and roll about on the president's lawn whilst naked. Oh dear. I hope I'm not allergic to sandpaper. I think I might be allergic to contact paper.

The invitation still stands. I promise it will be texturally interesting.

Love,

John

On Thu, Nov 21, 2009 at 4:02 PM, Ringo Starr <snarkystarkey@gmail.com> wrote:

Hewoooo? Missus Owctopuwss?

Did you get the smoke signals I sent to your house? It's latitude 34.07, longitude -118.31...right? Could you read the special message I sent you? Don't tell the trees the secret things I said!

Please, please!!

Ringo

On Thu, Nov 20, 2009 at 2:04 AM, George Harrison <DharmaAndGeorge@gmail.com> wrote:

[silence]

[sitar solo]

i've just discovered a new instrument. ravi showed me. it's like a guitar, but it makes me sound much more intelligent. check it out:

[sitar solo]

[silence]

see you at yoga tonight.

love, 

george

Tess Lynch is an actress and writer living in Los Angeles. She tumbls here. You can see her on TV right now in a Crest ad you might have caught during the Law & Order marathon this weekend.

Enjoy More of Those Four Headstrong Gentlemen on This Recording

Almie Rose on Revolver...

Eleanor Morrow on John Lennon and Bob Dylan...

Durga Chew-Bose on Rubber Soul...

It's so hard to be Paul McCartney...

The rest of our days with John and Yoko.

Wednesday
Nov252009

In Which That's When I Reach For My Revolver

Use of Your 'Revolver'

by ALMIE ROSE (writing as PATRICK BATEMAN)

Do you like the Beatles? Formed in 1960 and musically active for a mere 10 years they completely revolutionized the relationship between popular and rock music. The band really came into their own in the late sixties, during which they produced the spectacular 1966 album Revolver. The band’s previous release, Rubber Soul, hinted at the change in sound that was to come but it was really on Revolver that the boys were allowed to stretch musically and create something new.

Right from the deep bass opening on “Taxman” it’s clear that this is going to be one groovy psychedelic album. One can’t forget that in the early 00s Rolling Stone named Revolver the number three album of all time, behind the over-produced and ultimately confusing Sergeant Pepper and His Lonely Hearts Club Band.

The second track, “Eleanor Rigby” tells the heartbreaking tale of an ugly woman murdered by a priest. The crescendo of violins steadying Paul’s voice warning of “all the lonely people” who are out to get us is breathtaking in its horrifyingly simple quality. The lyrics on this album go beyond the usual mop topped boy-gets-girl lyrics, as shown in the next track as well, “I’m Only Sleeping.”

And is that a mandolin in the background? You bet it is. Strange instruments are further incorporated into George Harrison’s song, “Love You To” and while interesting on its own merit it didn’t become the hit that “Eleanor Rigby” or “Yellow Submarine” became. I wonder how Harrison feels about that. Paul McCartney was really the band’s star, churning out hit after hit, while the rest of the fellows only tried to keep up. “Here, There and Everywhere” is another fantastic effort by McCartney, who tried to replicate the “shimmering quality” he found in The Beach Boys' “God Only Knows.”

Then comes “Yellow Submarine” or, let’s let Ringo sing one. “Yellow Submarine” is more than a child’s tune; it represents the yearning we all have to abandon our daily lives and submerge into the ocean with the Beatles. Again, it isn’t about boy needs girl (at least not until “Got To Get You Into My Life” nearer the end) and this is important to note.

“She Said She Said” is a rare throwaway track. What follows it, “Good Day Sunshine” is another superb ditty by McCartney, who “feels good in a special way” something we can all relate to and appreciate. Lennon’s tracks “And Your Bird Can Sing”, “Doctor Robert”, and “I Want To Tell You” fail in their ability to make you feel renewed with hope the way McCartney’s lyrics can. Lennon’s songs have a heavier quality to them even when he tries to mask them with the optimism that McCartney naturally has in his tunes. It must have been difficult for Lennon to work with such a far superior member of the group. Case in point: “For No One” is a real gem. “And in her eyes you see nothing,” McCartney narrates, painting a bleak portrait of a woman who ruined his life, warning us not to make his mistakes and follow on a similar path.

Had Revolver closed on “Got To Get You Into My Life” the album would have been absolutely pristine; instead it closes on Lennon’s droning “Tomorrow Never Knows”, a cacophonous mess of seagull noises and sitars. Regardless, Revolver is a fantastic album that hits a high note in the group’s career and will endure for years to come.

Almie Rose is the senior contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in Los Angeles. She blogs here, and twitters here.

"Here, There and Everywhere" - The Beatles (mp3)

"I'm Only Sleeping" - The Vines (mp3)

"Love You To" - The Beatles (mp3)

"Tomorrow Never Knows" - Phil Collins (mp3)

"She Said She Said" - The Beatles (mp3)