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John Lennon Alphabet Writing
29 March 2014
10.33pm
meanmistermustard
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Sorry but for me its John's typical nonsense writings, there is nothing there unless you start reading what you want into it to find something. "D is for Doris" does however remind me of that little bit on the Get Back album (i think between Don't let Me Down and Save The Last Dance but not sure that's right) where John says "who the fuck's Doris?".

"Well, probably we'll sell less records, less people'll go to see the film, we'll write less songs, and we'll all die of failure" (John Lennon 8/64)
29 March 2014
10.47pm
Billy Rhythm
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meanmistermustard said
Sorry but for me its John's typical nonsense writings, there is nothing there unless you start reading what you want into it to find something. "D is for Doris" does however remind me of that little bit on the Get Back album (i think between Don't let Me Down and Save The Last Dance but not sure that's right) where John says "who the fuck's Doris?".

 

I was thinking Doris Day from 'Dig It'.  Yeah, Lennon was an artist who created "pictures" using words, often using words that didn't necessarily really mean anything in particular, but sounded good together just as different colours would look good together on a painting which wasn't representing anything other than colours looking aesthetically pleasing to the eyes….:-)

29 March 2014
10.47pm
Musketeer Gripweed (kezron9)
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Ron Nasty said
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.

 

Yeah I mean the post was to see his reasoning to some of the statements and letters. Also interesting how the alphabet is not correct. But that statement you made supports that it might not just be random jibberish that there were meanings and references to his statements. It could be 50/50 jibberish and meaning.  I stated it would be hard to find the reasoning behind it for non English/Liverpudians. Like the Tommy phrase as an American I did not know the reference. But how you let us know the meaning and his acting in How I Won the War, makes that line make sense. Really trying to analyze his deductive reasoning behind the statements to see if it is more than simple jibberish. Basically I am saying that it is worthy of analysis instead of simply declaring it jibberish.

29 March 2014
10.54pm
Musketeer Gripweed (kezron9)
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I believed they might of also stayed at Doris Days or been friends in the 60's. I know Paul McCartney is still good friends with her and recently interviewed her on a new album. As a whole it might not have artistic meaning or point, but individual lines are already starting to make sense from evidence trying to support it is jibberish. 

29 March 2014
11.19pm
Musketeer Gripweed (kezron9)
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Hey Just stumbled upon this, thought it was pretty funny. Its just him horsing around. But makes mention of Ethel lol. 

29 March 2014
11.22pm
Ron Nasty
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Musketeer Gripweed (kezron9) said
I believed they might of also stayed at Doris Days or been friends in the 60's. I know Paul McCartney is still good friends with her and recently interviewed her on a new album. As a whole it might not have artistic meaning or point, but individual lines are already starting to make sense from evidence trying to support it is jibberish. 

I would never argue it is jibberish, but nonsense verse. Nonsense verse doesn't work unless there is structure and thought behind it. If you take something like "Jabberwocky", one of John's favourite pieces of nonsense verse, it is made up of largely invented words that made no sense, but the way in which Lewis Carroll put them together gave them a weight and a feeling of meaning.

Nonsense verse or prose are among the most difficult forms to achieve successfully, to prevent them being just jibberish. John was extremely adept at both from a young age.

As to Doris, there's also, "Phase One, in which Doris gets her oats…"

"I only said we were bigger than Rod... and now there's all this!" Ron Nasty
29 March 2014
11.24pm
Mr. Kite
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Ron Nasty said

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.

That's what I thought…

Billy Rhythm said
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"…:-) 

Ive been trying to use them to 'decode' it.

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

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29 March 2014
11.31pm
Mr. Kite
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Musketeer Gripweed (kezron9) said

Ron Nasty said
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.

 

Yeah I mean the post was to see his reasoning to some of the statements and letters. Also interesting how the alphabet is not correct. But that statement you made supports that it might not just be random jibberish that there were meanings and references to his statements. It could be 50/50 jibberish and meaning.  I stated it would be hard to find the reasoning behind it for non English/Liverpudians. Like the Tommy phrase as an American I did not know the reference. But how you let us know the meaning and his acting in How I Won the War, makes that line make sense. Really trying to analyze his deductive reasoning behind the statements to see if it is more than simple jibberish. Basically I am saying that it is worthy of analysis instead of simply declaring it jibberish.

How I Won The War is what I thought he was referring to even though I didn't know term.

Ron Nasty said

Musketeer Gripweed (kezron9) said
I believed they might of also stayed at Doris Days or been friends in the 60's. I know Paul McCartney is still good friends with her and recently interviewed her on a new album. As a whole it might not have artistic meaning or point, but individual lines are already starting to make sense from evidence trying to support it is jibberish. 

I would never argue it is jibberish, but nonsense verse. Nonsense verse doesn't work unless there is structure and thought behind it. If you take something like "Jabberwocky", one of John's favourite pieces of nonsense verse, it is made up of largely invented words that made no sense, but the way in which Lewis Carroll put them together gave them a weight and a feeling of meaning.

Nonsense verse or prose are among the most difficult forms to achieve successfully, to prevent them being just jibberish. John was extremely adept at both from a young age.

As to Doris, there's also, "Phase One, in which Doris gets her oats…"

I can't believe I forgot that one!

 

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
30 March 2014
12.24am
Musketeer Gripweed (kezron9)
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Ron Nasty said

Musketeer Gripweed (kezron9) said
I believed they might of also stayed at Doris Days or been friends in the 60's. I know Paul McCartney is still good friends with her and recently interviewed her on a new album. As a whole it might not have artistic meaning or point, but individual lines are already starting to make sense from evidence trying to support it is jibberish. 

I would never argue it is jibberish, but nonsense verse. Nonsense verse doesn't work unless there is structure and thought behind it. If you take something like "Jabberwocky", one of John's favourite pieces of nonsense verse, it is made up of largely invented words that made no sense, but the way in which Lewis Carroll put them together gave them a weight and a feeling of meaning.

Nonsense verse or prose are among the most difficult forms to achieve successfully, to prevent them being just jibberish. John was extremely adept at both from a young age.

As to Doris, there's also, "Phase One, in which Doris gets her oats…"

The whole point of this post is to try to get inside the mind of John and analyze this piece. It appears to be nonsense from an outsider perspective, but there is definitely some sort of structure which is why I was asking for input. I am confused on your opinion on it. You mention it being nonsense in your first post. Just now you provide the criteria of what makes nonsense writings work and not work. This post is to look at this piece of nonsense. Upon further analysis we appear to be seeing structure and form to it. I think the beauty of this and many of his works is making sense of the appeared nonsense. A little background this is part of a 14 piece Lithograph art project/wedding project for Yoko. It was not something he wrote then left around as something not important to him. It was part of the bag one collection. So it was important enough to include in his wedding gift to Yoko/Art Exihbition. It is avant garde and gets the mind thinking, but thats the beauty of art there no wrong way. 

30 March 2014
12.28am
Billy Rhythm
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It appears that we're still very much into the "take it to pieces" stage before we even attempt to "mend it with glue".  I was thinking that the "R is for intestines which hurt when we dance" could possibly be a Ringo reference because of his sensitive stomach ("R" is for "Ringo") and for when John & Paul went toe to toe ("we dance") Ringo was, as Paul described to be, a "sensitive soul" which likely "hurt" him so.  Okay, I know a bit of a longshot, but it's about having "fun", right?  What would really help, I think, is if we had a "timestamp" or date of this piece's origin, for we could atleast isolate any personal references to experiences to before such a date of its creation.

 

In the meantime, if I could skip a bit ahead to the "mend it with glue" stage.  Perhaps I should revisit one of my earlier examples of "double use" where I used John's explanation of The Beatles' name when he said, "when you heard it you thought of crawly things and when you read it, it was Beat Music".  I'd then like to focus attention on the piece's beginning, or ABC's which also can be seen as 123's.  These could possibly be further "instructions" from John, or "clues":

Musketeer Gripweed (kezron9) said 

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
 

The "we can plainly see" again, I believe, refers to "the obvious".  But I'm gonna stray away from the obvious here and delve a little deeper.  If we were to assume that the ABC's are the first 3 "clues", or steps if you like, to solving this "puzzle", here's one way to look at it:

 

A)  A Parrot is known for repeating phrases, again there are several things "repeated" here so further reasons to focus (or, possibly omit?) any "doubled", or "repeated" phrases/letters/words, etc.  The Parrot reference itself could also be an "instruction" to "listen", or actually read aloud the piece for audio clues such as hearing "The Beatles" and thinking of "crawly things" as opposed to "Beat Music".

 

B)  The glasses reference would be more of the reverse of "A", read it (reading "glasses"?) to get the "Beat Music" meaning over the "crawly things".

 

C)  The "obvious" to me is a 'Plastic Ono Band' reference here with the word "plastic" (again, a "timestamp" would help), but perhaps it's a merging of "A" & "B" once we've been able to acetane what is heard from the "Parrot" over what's read with the "glasses".

 

Another important factor in the "mend it with glue" phase would be to take the mathematics involved, I think that it's no small coincidence that John uses "E is for binoculars I'll get in five" when addressing the fifth letter of the alphabet here.  This is somehow related to the alphabet being "out of order" in my opinion, and mathematics is commonly used in conjunction with word puzzles, or "decoding".  The use of "binoculars" suggests a view of the overall picture from afar, or once we've finished the process of "deconstruction", one things for sure, gobbledegook or not this piece is one hell of a mind f*ck!…:-)   

30 March 2014
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BIlly I like were your going with this is was from February 1969. I don't think he would of given it to Yoko as a wedding present unless there was some sort of artistic/creative value to it. 

30 March 2014
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Mr. Kite
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@Billy Rhythm I thought that the take it to pieces and mend it with glue meant we had to keep all the words and just mix em around.

But if we're finding meanings and looking for word play, 'Parrot' could be 'pair it' and that could maybe be an indication of the doubles/pairs.

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

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30 March 2014
12.45am
Mr. Kite
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And the letters out of place are P, U and T. P and T are completely wrong and U is just not at its right # place in the alphabet due to the others. Put could mean put something somewhere, maybe the parts of their respective sentences? And if it's just P and T what could that mean?

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

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30 March 2014
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Musketeer Gripweed (kezron9)
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http://www.artcelebs.com/lennon_pg2.htm  That is the link to the whole bag one art collection this piece is from if anyone wants to take a look at it. Pretty interesting I had never heard about it until now really. 

30 March 2014
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Billy Rhythm
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Mr. Kite said
'Parrot' could be 'pair it' and that could maybe be an indication of the doubles/pairs.

 

Yet another "double use" reference.  I think that this is somewhat comparable to Ron Nasty's brilliant 'In My Life' undertaking, but undeniably a "different ball of wax" for sure.  Ron obviously spent many days/hours (even weeks?) getting down to the nitty gritty, so to speak.  This would be a much more complex task for we really are, as Musketeer Gripweed (kezron9) described, attempting to "get inside the mind of John" which many have tried and failed to do so.  Whether or not we "succeed" in this monumental task is irrelevant I think, the fact that so many correlations here have been pointed out all ready suggest to me that further investigation is most certainly worthwhile…:-)

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Musketeer Gripweed (kezron9)
30 March 2014
2.12am
Mr. Kite
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Billy Rhythm said

Mr. Kite said
'Parrot' could be 'pair it' and that could maybe be an indication of the doubles/pairs.

 

Yet another "double use" reference.  I think that this is somewhat comparable to Ron Nasty's brilliant 'In My Life' undertaking, but undeniably a "different ball of wax" for sure.  Ron obviously spent many days/hours (even weeks?) getting down to the nitty gritty, so to speak.  This would be a much more complex task for we really are, as Musketeer Gripweed (kezron9) described, attempting to "get inside the mind of John" which many have tried and failed to do so.  Whether or not we "succeed" in this monumental task is irrelevant I think, the fact that so many correlations here have been pointed out all ready suggest to me that further investigation is most certainly worthwhile…:-)

No matter what, it's fun!

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30 March 2014
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Musketeer Gripweed (kezron9)
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Yeah it is Ive been trying different things using microsoft word. 

30 March 2014
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Musketeer Gripweed (kezron9)
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B for glasses might of been a reference to Bifolco. E is for binoculars, might be a reference to they eye test/him being near sited. 

30 March 2014
6.31pm
Annadog40
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Do you think this has any bilingual bonus things going on?

Never say never, cause it's never 'never'

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If you did that then you win!

31 March 2014
10.41am
Mr. Kite
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Annadog40 said
Do you think this has any bilingual bonus things going on?

That's an interesting thought, but if its intended to be wordplay I would assume he'd want people to figure it out and that'd be unfair to just English speakers. 

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