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John Lennon Alphabet Writing
28 March 2014
12.26am
Musketeer Gripweed (kezron9)
Coldspring Harbor, NY
Carnegie Hall
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Hey, recently saw this work of writing done by John up for auction. I was sitting there pondering if there was a pattern or if it is just jibberish fun. Thought maybe if others saw it they might be able to give input on what they think this. I was thinking the letter might symbolize what he says in the phrase. Like an A kind of looks like a parrots beak. A B, sort of looks like glasses turned on its side. But then he repeats parrot for J, so I have no idea. Anyone what a take a crack at decoding this? It might be pointless if it is jibberish, but thought perhaps I am missing something others might see.

 

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 which 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
M is for Venezuela 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 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

28 March 2014
3.42am
Mr. Kite
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This is interesting... It might be gibberish but I'm going to try and figure it out...

If I spoke prose you'd all find out, I don't know what I talk about.

Can buy Joe love! If you're shopping at one of these two websites use the links below to support the Beatles Bible: Amazon | iTunes
28 March 2014
4.24am
Musketeer Gripweed (kezron9)
Coldspring Harbor, NY
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I'm guessing is based on liverpudian also which will most likely make it impossible for an american. 

28 March 2014
4.31am
Mr. Kite
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Musketeer Gripweed (kezron9) said
I'm guessing is based on liverpudian also which will most likely make it impossible for an american. 

Then we'll have a problem until some English show up... Although Liverpool is its own thing even other English might not get it, and it's John,who knows   What Goes on in his head?

If I spoke prose you'd all find out, I don't know what I talk about.

Can buy Joe love! If you're shopping at one of these two websites use the links below to support the Beatles Bible: Amazon | iTunes
28 March 2014
5.18am
Musketeer Gripweed (kezron9)
Coldspring Harbor, NY
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Oh I missed a part when I copied and pasted it. It ends with this.

 

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

28 March 2014
5.23am
Mr. Kite
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Musketeer Gripweed (kezron9) said
Oh I missed a part when I copied and pasted it. It ends with this.

 

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

Now that helps! We have to rearrange the sentences!

If I spoke prose you'd all find out, I don't know what I talk about.

Can buy Joe love! If you're shopping at one of these two websites use the links below to support the Beatles Bible: Amazon | iTunes
28 March 2014
5.27am
Mr. Kite
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A is for Apple which we can plainly see

B is for (Brazil or binoculars)

C could be the crooked letter or S

etc... I can probably figure it out better when Im more awake, what do you have @Musketeer Gripweed (kezron9) ?

If I spoke prose you'd all find out, I don't know what I talk about.

Can buy Joe love! If you're shopping at one of these two websites use the links below to support the Beatles Bible: Amazon | iTunes
28 March 2014
6.31pm
Musketeer Gripweed (kezron9)
Coldspring Harbor, NY
Carnegie Hall
Forum Posts: 245
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17 January 2014
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Mr. Kite said
A is for Apple which we can plainly see

B is for (Brazil or binoculars)

C could be the crooked letter or S

etc... I can probably figure it out better when Im more awake, what do you have @Musketeer Gripweed (kezron9) ?

Hey thats definitely what you have to do. I sat thinking about it for like a half hour then saw that I missed the bottom part so basically had to start from scratch and haven't had the time to yet. Thankful I didn't close the tab with the alphabet, would of left me puzzled if not for the bottom part. I hope more of these word games he created pop up. There very interesting and fun. I'll get cracking though. 

28 March 2014
6.33pm
Musketeer Gripweed (kezron9)
Coldspring Harbor, NY
Carnegie Hall
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Also this failed to sell at the auction, they claimed it to be jibberish, which I think the last sentence shows how it is a word game. 

29 March 2014
12.15am
Mr. Kite
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Musketeer Gripweed (kezron9) said
Also this failed to sell at the auction, they claimed it to be jibberish, which I think the last sentence shows how it is a word game. 

Yeah, the last sentence blatantly says puzzle!

Do you think it rhymes? That might help.

If I spoke prose you'd all find out, I don't know what I talk about.

Can buy Joe love! If you're shopping at one of these two websites use the links below to support the Beatles Bible: Amazon | iTunes
29 March 2014
3.44pm
Mr. Kite
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I think it does rhyme, due to the end... Ill work on it today

If I spoke prose you'd all find out, I don't know what I talk about.

Can buy Joe love! If you're shopping at one of these two websites use the links below to support the Beatles Bible: Amazon | iTunes
29 March 2014
4.18pm
Mr. Kite
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So I printed it out and I've been working on it for a while, and I realized that the alphabet it out of order! Does that mean something?

If I spoke prose you'd all find out, I don't know what I talk about.

Can buy Joe love! If you're shopping at one of these two websites use the links below to support the Beatles Bible: Amazon | iTunes
29 March 2014
5.41pm
Billy Rhythm
Candlestick Park
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Mr. Kite said
I realized that the alphabet it out of order! Does that mean something?

 

I suspect that the answer will be in the form of what's known as 'Wordplay'  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Word_play  as we're all well aware of John's fondness for James Joyce's works.  Play this video from the  19:20  mark to hear John Lennon himself demonstrate an example of "wordplay" very effectively on Dick Cavett:

 

 

John was a master at this literary technique and utilized it very often...:-)

 

 

29 March 2014
8.45pm
Musketeer Gripweed (kezron9)
Coldspring Harbor, NY
Carnegie Hall
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Mr. Kite said
So I printed it out and I've been working on it for a while, and I realized that the alphabet it out of order! Does that mean something?

 

Wow I never realized that it was out of order. Yeah printing it out is a good way to go about it. I'll do the same and see what I can get. 

29 March 2014
8.58pm
Musketeer Gripweed (kezron9)
Coldspring Harbor, NY
Carnegie Hall
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Billy Rhythm said

Mr. Kite said
I realized that the alphabet it out of order! Does that mean something?

 

I suspect that the answer will be in the form of what's known as 'Wordplay'  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Word_play  as we're all well aware of John's fondness for James Joyce's works.  Play this video from the  19:20  mark to hear John Lennon himself demonstrate an example of "wordplay" very effectively on Dick Cavett:

 

John was a master at this literary technique and utilized it very often...:-)

 

 

Always wondered who influenced his artwork. Its amazing how similar his style is to Thurbers and Searles. He kind of mixed James Thurber's and Ronald Searle's styles together. If anyone hasn't they should check it out. 

29 March 2014
9.02pm
Ron Nasty
"Where have you been?" "I'm not telling you..."
Apple rooftop
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I've never thought that it was anything but another example of the Edward Lear/Goon-inspired nonsense verse that John had loved writing since childhood and The Daily Howl. I've never believed there was any hidden meaning, and still don't. I did always think "Z is for Apple..." was a tongue-in-cheek reference to Apple's experimental label Zapple though.

For those who haven't seen it, here is John's original handwritten version from February 1969:

"I only said we were bigger than Rod... and now there's all this!" Ron Nasty
29 March 2014
10.00pm
Billy Rhythm
Candlestick Park
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It's a bit ironic Ron Nasty, for one who believes it to be "nonsense verse" (which you may very well be correct on), you've actually made a pretty clear connection to the "This is my story both humble and true" declaration by making the "Z is for Apple..." reference to Zapple Records.  If we literally translate the "my story" bit this way, we may possibly make other such connections, such as "T is for Tommy who won the war" could relate to either his 'How I Won The War' role, or The English Army "had just won the war" lyric from a 'A Day In The Life'.  Is "Ethel" actually Paul McCartney?  "who lives on a hill"?  "who lives next store"?  The fact that there are two references to an "Ethel" suggests that this person is of great significance to "my (John's) story".  The names could just be convenient to his rhyming scheme, such as this example of "wordplay" from the Wiki link:

 

An epitaph, probably unassigned to any grave, demonstrates use in rhyme.

Here lie the bones of one 'Bun'
He was killed with a gun.
His name was not 'Bun' but 'Wood'
But 'Wood' would not rhyme with gun
But 'Bun' would.
If the piece is indeed nonsensical, there likely still could be personal references.  Much like 'Glass Onion' where John was mocking those whom he felt read far too much into his work (perhaps as we are doing here!) with things like "here's another clue for all".  In other words, yeah, John could very well be messing with us, sticking in just enough tidbits to have you believe that there's something highly significant beneath the Onion Peelings just so you'll go through the trouble of the laborious task of peeling it, the end result is that the Onion Peeler is just as confused as they were before....:-)
29 March 2014
10.13pm
Musketeer Gripweed (kezron9)
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The whole point of posting this was to see if there's a pattern or if it is jibberish. No conclusions have been made, but figured it was interesting and fans would enjoy. But you can't really just declare it jibberish off simply looking at it. I thought further analysis would be beneficial to see if there was a certain pattern or game he was creating. But the original post I made state we are not sure what it is and states a word game or jibberish is both possible.

29 March 2014
10.25pm
Ron Nasty
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I don't see any contradiction between believing it nonsense verse that has no coded meaning, and believing that he may have got the idea for some individual lines from his life. There are numerous examples in John's writing where a brief reference may be a personal reference, but the rest isn't.

"Tommy" has been the nickname of British infantry soldiers since the 19th century, so the reference to Tommy winning the war is nothing unusual.

The "my story" reference at the end doesn't make all the preceding references personal to my mind. A storyteller will often refer to "my story" as they are the person telling the story, not because the story is about them. Dylan, a huge influence on John's writing, did this a lot in his early folk songs, and it is a device used throughout the history of folk song.

 

"I only said we were bigger than Rod... and now there's all this!" Ron Nasty
29 March 2014
10.31pm
Billy Rhythm
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I've looked at it quite a bit and so far haven't been able to see a clear "pattern", but I think there's a few "clues" to perhaps construct one, or do exactly as Lennon has instructed, "Take it to pieces and mend it with glue".  Another literary technique that John was very keen on was "double use", such as the 'Please Please Me' lyric (same word used twice but different meanings) or The Beatles name itself where "when people heard it they thought of crawly things and when you read it, it was Beat Music".  There's more than a few things here that can be doubled up, such as "K is for shoetop that we wear to the ball" appears to be connected to "O is for football which we kick about a bit", or the double use of the name "Ethel", "Parrot" is used twice, "the oranges" etc.  The things "which we can plainly see" could be an instruction in itself, to either ignore or place emphasis on the obvious, or plainly seen.  The "double use" appears throughout and I believe is key to constructing, or deconstructing this "wordplay"...:-) 

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