FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 164 THE BEATLES Edgar Allan Poe (Featured artist is Christopher Wool)


The Beatles – I Am The Walrus Recording Session 1967



In the song I AM THE WALRUS John Lennon wrote the words, “Seen them kicking Edgar Allan Poe.” Poe died in 1949 as a drunk. As a drunk he probably got kicked around the street as others tried to rob him of whatever belongings he had. Alcoholism and being addicted to drugs are very similar and in the song I AM THE WALRUS we have many references to drugs. When I think of Poe the Bible passage that comes to mind is Proverbs 23:29-35.

29 Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes?

30 They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.

31 Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.

32 At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.

33 Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.

34 Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast.

35 They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.

Jim Carrey and I Am The Walrus with George Martin – The Beatles


“I am the Walrus”

The Beatles

Produced By: George Martin
Written By: John Lennon & Paul McCartney

[Verse 1]
I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together
See how they run like pigs from a gun, see how they fly
I’m crying

[Verse 2]
Sitting on a cornflake, waiting for the van to come
Corporation tee-shirt, stupid bloody Tuesday
Man, you’ve been a naughty boy, you let your face grow long

I am the egg man, they are the egg men
I am the walrus, goo goo g’joob

[Verse 3]
Mister City, policeman sitting
Pretty little policemen in a row

See how they fly like Lucy in the Sky, see how they run
I’m crying, I’m crying
I’m crying, I’m crying

[Verse 4]
Yellow matter custard, dripping from a dead dog’s eye
Crabalocker fishwife, pornographic priestess
Boy, you’ve been a naughty girl you let your knickers down


[Verse 5]
Sitting in an English garden waiting for the sun
If the sun don’t come, you get a tan
From standing in the English rain


[Verse 6]
Expert textpert choking smokers
Don’t you think the joker laughs at you?

See how they smile like pigs in a sty
See how they snide
I’m crying

[Verse 7]
Semolina pilchard, climbing up the Eiffel Tower
Elementary penguin singing Hare Krishna
Man, you should have seen them kicking Edgar Allan Poe

I am the egg man, they are the egg men
I am the walrus, goo goo good job g’goo goo good job
Goo goo g’joob g’goo goo g’joob g’goo

Everybody’s got one, everybody’s got one (Repeat until end)


I Am the Walrus

by The Beatles

“See how they run like pigs from a gun, see how they fly / I’m crying”

Quick ThoughtIn an interview with Playboy magazine, John Lennon said that this line and the one before it were inspired by two different acid trips.

Deep Thought“The first line was written on one acid trip one weekend. The second line was written on the next acid trip the next weekend, and it was filled in after I met Yoko.” Just as The Beatles were the defining music group of the 1960s, acid (LCD) was the defining drug. The drug induces an altered state of perception in its users, causing distortions in physical, sensory, visual, audio, and thought processes. People sometimes feel colors and hear shapes, becoming almost synesthetic. Fixed objects seem to move or ripple, looking around causes sights to blur or leave a trail (tracers), and dull objects sparkle and shine. Some users claim to have intense religious experiences while tripping on acid. Others say that they enter other dimensions or relive their own birth.

LSD was invented accidentally by a Swedish chemist looking for a blood stimulant. It has since been used experimentally in psychotherapy to bring out repressed memories. The drug has also been used by doctors to elevate patients to a new level of self-awareness, allowing them to recognize problems that they previously denied, such as alcoholism. Although LSD was at first legal for use, it has now been banned in the US and other countries. Of course, that didn’t stop The Beatles and many other young people in the sixties and seventies from experimenting with the drug for recreational purposes. The Beatles openly admit that many of their songs were written at least in part while under the influence of LSD.

“Goo goo ga joob”

Quick ThoughtSome people speculate that Lennon got these lines from James Joyce’s long poem, Finnegans Wake, while others see them as pure gibberish.

Deep Thought James Joyce was a modernist Irish writer who was famous for his works A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Ulysses, andDubliners. Some Joyce/Beatles fans have suggested (rather dubiously in our view) that “goo goo ga job” comes from part 557.7 of Finnegans Wake:
Here’s the excerpt from Finnegans Wake… watch out for that famous “googoo goosth” or you’ll miss it:

cramp for Hemself and Co, Esquara, or them four hoarsemen on
their apolkaloops, Norreys, Soothbys, Yates and Welks, and,
galorybit of the sanes in hevel, there was a crick up the stirkiss
and when she ruz the cankle to see, galohery, downand she went
on her knees to blessersef that were knogging together like milk-
juggles as if it was the wrake of the hapspurus or old Kong
Gander O’Toole of the Mountains or his googoo goosth she
seein, sliving off over the sawdust lobby out ofthe backroom, wan
ter, that was everywans in turruns, in his honeymoon trim, holding
up his fingerhals, with the clookey in his fisstball, tocher of davy’s,
tocher of ivileagh, for her to whisht, you sowbelly, and the
whites of his pious eyebulbs swering her to silence and coort;

In our view, the odds that John Lennon actually intended his line as a shout-out to these two obscure words in the middle of this one very long sentence in the middle of a very long and challenging experimental novel are somewhere between slim and none. But it would be kinda cool, if true!


“See how they fly like Lucy in the Sky”

Quick ThoughtThis is, of course, a nod to another Beatles hit, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” from the groundbreaking album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, released a few months before “I Am the Walrus” in 1967.

Deep Thought“Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” is among the most famous of all Beatles songs. Although many fans claim that it is a song about acid (the initials spell out LSD), Lennon told an interviewer that the song is actually inspired by a drawing his son Julian brought home from grammar school:

LENNON: “My son Julian came in one day with a picture he painted about a school friend of his named Lucy. He had sketched in some stars in the sky and called it ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.’ Simple.”

INTERVIEWER: “The other images in the song weren’t drug-inspired?”

LENNON: “The images were from ‘Alice in Wonderland.’ It was Alice in the boat. She is buying an egg and it turns into Humpty Dumpty. The woman serving in the shop turns into a sheep and the next minute they are rowing in a rowing boat somewhere and I was visualizing that. There was also the image of the female who would someday come save me—a ‘girl with kaleidoscope eyes’ who would come out of the sky. It turned out to be Yoko, though I hadn’t met Yoko yet. So maybe it should be ‘Yoko in the Sky with Diamonds.'”

The two Lewis Carroll classics (Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass) were John Lennon’s favorite books of all time. It’s really not surprising that imagery from both books pops up constantly in his songs. Both “I Am the Walrus” and “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” draw heavily from Carroll’s writings. Even more interesting is that Lennon repeats the Humpty Dumpty/Eggman imagery in both songs. Drug-inspired or not, it certainly seems that Lewis Carroll was very much on Lennon’s mind when he penned these lyrics.

The real Lucy who inspired the song, Lucy Richardson, came out to the press 40 years after the song was written explaining that she was, in fact, the girl behind the immortal ballad. Evidently, Julian Lennon had a crush on her in grammar school and actually dedicated several art pieces to her, including the famous picture of the girl surrounded by a starry sky.

“Semolina Pilchard”

Quick ThoughtThis is a reference to Detective Sergeant Norman Pilcher, head of the Scotland Yard Drugs Unit. He was the most-feared drug agent in Britain in the 1960s and had an obsessive craving for the spotlight. Arresting a Beatle on pot charges is a quick way to get your name in many, many newspapers.

Deep ThoughtSergeant Norman Pilcher was the head of one of Britain’s police drug squads in the late sixties. Pilcher wanted to be famous, so he hatched a plan to go after the members of the Beatles one by one. He started with the man he suspected did the most drugs, John Lennon. Lennon and Yoko Ono were tipped off that John was on Pilcher’s hit list, but it was too late. Their flat was stormed by officer/canine units. They were arrested for possession of cannabis resin and obstructing the search warrant. John was told that Yoko, who was pregnant, would be let off the hook if he pleaded guilty. So he did so and they were released. Tragically, Yoko had to be immediately rushed to the hospital, where she had a miscarriage. John later told the press that the whole thing was set up by Pilcher as a media ploy for good photo ops. The news stations were at the flat before the police even got there! When John pleaded guilty, Pilcher told him, ”Well, we’ve got it now. So it’s nothing personal …” The picture on the back of the jacket of the album Unfinished Music No. 2 — Life with the Lions is of John and Yoko as they were being dragged out of the police station. Lennon also explained that Jimi Hendrix, who’d owned the same flat before them, had left piles of drugs when he moved out. John had tried to clean up the drugs when he found out about the raid. Apparently, he wasn’t quite thorough enough, hence the incriminating resin.


“Seen them kicking Edgar Allan Poe”

Quick ThoughtEdgar Allan Poe was a very famous American writer of short stories and poetry who lived during the 1800s. He was well-known for his dark, penetratingly creepy tales.

Deep ThoughtPoe was a brilliant, if dark, guy. His stories and poems—including“The Raven,”“The Tell-Tale Heart,” and “The Fall of the House of Usher”—are short yet incredibly powerful, probing universal human flaws like insecurity, fear, and pride.

(Adrian Rogers pictured below)

Adrian Rogers in his sermon THE BATTLE OF THE BOTTLE notes the following:

There’s the instability factor. Look again in verse 34 of this same chapter. The Bible says, “Hear, yea, thou shalt be as he that is lieth down in the midst of the sea, or he that lieth upon the top of a mask.” A drunk person can’t control himself. He’s like a drunken sailor with rubber legs, tottering, reeling.  He can’t walk straight. He can’t talk straight. He can’t think straight, and he becomes a menace to those around him. A drunk is not funny, by the way, tottering, slobbering.  He can’t control himself. He is out of control. He’s driving an automobile. He has one shot, the one drink of liquor, traveling at 40 miles an hour, an emergency, it will take him six more feet to stop. He says, “It’s none of your business what I do!” If one of my grandchildren is in that six feet, it’s a lot of my business. It’s a lot of my business. When he gets out there driving around, and he says, “This is my business, it’s not your business” – oh, my dear friend, the lives that are snuffed out in America, that’s all of our business.  There was a child killed by a drunken driver in a Midwestern town, and the editor of the newspaper courageously wrote these words in the newspaper, Get the children off the streets, the man of distinction is at the wheel. He’s out of control.

There’s the instability factor and, friend, there’s the sensitivity factor.  Look if you will in verse 35 again of this same chapter. “‘They have striken me,’ shalt thou say, ‘and I will sit, they have beaten me and I felt it not.'” Have you ever heard a man when he’s drunk say he’s feeling no pain? “They have beaten me and I felt it not.” I heard a preacher, I think I shared this with you on one occasion, I heard a preacher say that when he was a boy he made up his mind he wasn’t going to drink, not because of what his mom and dad said, not because of what the Bible says, not because of what his pastor said. He made up his mind, he said, when he saw a man getting in a car and trying to drive off.  But the man couldn’t get started because he couldn’t get his door shut and the reason he couldn’t get the door shut was he had one leg outside the car and he kept slamming the door on his leg and he didn’t have enough sense to pull his leg in.  The man said, “When I, as a boy, saw that pitiful sight, I saw a man so drunk that he was slamming the car door on his leg, I made up my mind I would never drink.” There is the insensibility. They have striken me and I felt it not.

Then there is the addiction factor.  Look if you will in verse 35 again. “When shall I wake, I will seek it yet again.” He wants to wake up, sober up, so he can drink up. When shall I awake, I will seek it yet again.  The Reader’s Digest recently reported a report from the American Medical Association that says we now have in America 17 million alcoholics, 17 million. Do you know there’s not but about 15 million Southern Baptists in all of the world, but seventeen million alcoholics. Line them up, count them. We advertise that. We promote that. We draw taxes.  We’ll talk about the taxes tonight when we talk about the mockery of alcohol. I’m just talking to you right now about the miseries of alcohol, the miseries of alcohol. Oh listen, dear friend, think, think with me, don’t fold up now, I’m not quite finished, no need just put things up just because I said tonight.  Now wait a minute, I’ve got just a couple of minutes to go here.

There is the addiction factor.  You know, the Japanese have a Proverb that says, “First the man takes a drink, then the drink takes a drink and then the drink takes the man. When shall I awake, I will seek it yet again.” There’s the national disgrace factor. I already read to you over there in Proverbs chapter 31, “For it’s not for kings, it’s nor for princes to drink strong drink.”  Did you know what capital is the leader for consumption of alcoholic beverages? Washington D.C. Did you know that in Washington D.C., twice the national average consumption takes place, in Washington D.C.? You’ve got three parties up there, the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, and the Cocktail Party. That, you know, is not a comforting thought to me to think that we have this bourbon diplomacy, that we’re about one drink of vodka away from somebody pushing a red button that may get us into trouble.

That is the national disgrace and it is a national disaster, and that’s the reason I want to say again that we can’t get the judges – why, my goodness, that judge is sitting on the bench and there’s a drunken driver. Do you know what that judge is thinking?  Boy, that could have been me. That could have been me. I was driving down the streets of our city. I came upon a horrible automobile accident: the man driving on the wrong side of the road like a bullet hit a car head on. Lovely lady was killed instantaneously. I came on the scene just after it happened. I walked up, a policeman came over to me, and he said, “Dr. Rogers, I want to tell you something.” He said, “That drunk that we pulled out of that car was so drunk he could hardly walk.” I said, “Do you know what you did, sir? You just killed a woman.”  He said, “I don’t give a damn.”  But there will be a judge, when that man comes to stand in front of him, and the judge says, “Boy, that could have been me.” We’re so lenient, it’s a national disgrace. It is a national disgrace.  That’s the misery of the bottle.

(Francis Schaeffer below)
There is a connection between losing yourself in drugs and losing yourself in alcohol. Both are attempts of losing yourself from reality.
Francis Schaeffer noted:
At about the same time as the Berkeley Free Speech Move- 
ment came a heavy participation in drugs. The beats had not 
been deeply into drugs the way the hippies were. But soon 
after 1964 the drug scene became the hallmark of young 
The philosophic basis for the drug scene came from Aldous 
Huxley's concept that, since, for the rationalist, reason is not 
taking us anywhere, we should look for a final experience, one 
that can be produced "on call," one that we do not need to 
wait for. The drug scene, in other words, was at first an ideol- 
ogy, an ideology that had very practical consequences. Some of 
us at L'Abri have cried over the young people who have blown 
their minds. But many of them thought, like Alan Watts, Gary 
Snyder, Alan Ginsberg and Timothy Leary, that if you could 
simply turn everyone on, there would be an answer to man's 
longings. It wasn't just the far-out freaks who suggested that 
you could put drugs in the drinking water and turn on a whole 
city so that the "pigs" and the kids would all have flowers in 
their hair. In those days it really was an optimistic ideological 

So two things have to be said here. First, the young people's 
analysis of culture was right, and, second, they really thought 
they had an answer to the problem. Up through Woodstock 
(1969) the young people were optimistic concerning drug- 
being the ideological answer. The desire for community and 
togetherness that was the impetus for Woodstock was not wrong, of course. God has made us in his own image, and he 
means for us to be in a strong horizontal relationship with each 
other. While Christianity appeals and applies to the individual, 
it is not individualistic. God means for us to have community. 
There are really two orthodoxies: an orthodoxy of doctrine 
and an orthodoxy of community, and both go together. So the 
longing for community in Woodstock was right. But the path 
was wrong. 

After Woodstock two events "ended the age of innocence," 
to use the expression of Rolling Stone magazine. The first 
occurred at Altamont, California, where the Rolling Stones put 
on a festival and hired the Hell's Angels (for several barrels of 
beer) to police the grounds. Instead, the Hell's Angels killed 
people without any cause, and it was a bad scene indeed. But 
people thought maybe this was a fluke, maybe it was just 
California! It took a second event to be convincing. 

On the Isle of Wight, 450,000 people assembled, and it was 
totally ugly. A number of people from L'Abri were there, and I 
know a man closely associated with the rock world who knows 
the organizer of this festival. Everyone agrees that the situation 
was just plain hideous. 

Thus, after these two rock festivals the picture changed. It is 
not that kids have stopped taking DRUGS, for more are taking 
DRUGS all the time. And what the eventual outcome will be is 
certainly unpredictable. I know that in many places, California 
for example, DRUGS are down through the high schools and on 
into the heads of ten- and eleven-year-olds. But drugs are not 
considered a philosophic expression anymore; among the very 
young they are just a peer group thing. It's like permissive 
sexuality. You have to sleep with a certain number of boys or 
you're not in; you have to take a certain kind of drug or you're 
not in. The optimistic ideology has died.The Beatles are a sort of test case.First they were just a 
rock group, then they took to drugs and expressed that in such 
songs as Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. When 
drugs didn't pan out, when they saw what was happening in 
Haight-Ashbury, they turned to the psychedelic sounds of 
Strawberry Fields, and then went further into Eastern religiousexperiences. But that, too, did not work out, and they wound 
up their career as a group by making The Yellow Submarine. 
When they made this movie, some people said, "The Beatles 
are coming back." But of course that was not the case. It was 
really 'the sad end of their ideological search as a group. It's 
interesting that Erich Segal, the man who wrote the film script 
for The Yellow Submarine, then wrote Love Story.
 Styx – I Am The Walrus


Poe is pictured on the cover of "Sgt Peppers Lonely Heart Club Band." The Beatles (seventh top row) Photo: DR

Poe is pictured on the cover of “Sgt Peppers Lonely Heart Club Band.” The Beatles (seventh top row) Photo: DR

Edgar Allan Poe: The writer Lou Reed and The Beatles sang

Labels: Art, Literature,

More than 200 years after his death, the “poet of the mystery” is still very present in contemporary culture. In music, he influenced composers like Debussy or the iconic Beatles.

“The Raven” is just one of the most paradigmatic albums the influence of Edgar Allan Poe in contemporary musical creation. Lou Reed recreated in 2003, the author’s writing environment in a conceptual disc.

Anabela Duarte, anthropologist, presented at the International Conference “Poe and Gothic Creativity” a thesis on the influence of Poe in aesthetics and contemporary musical creation.Speaking to JPN highlights the “philosophy of transgression and darkness” on the album “The Raven” markedly “poesca”.

But the legacy of Poe [Infographics] not limited to the work of the former Velvet Underground.In fact, shortly after the death of the writer, Claude Debussy composed an opera based on the short story “The Fall of the House of Usher”, which, however, did not finish. Already in the 80s of the twentieth century, minimalist Philip Glass produced an opera based on the same work.

“Man, you shouldnt have seen Them kicking Edgar Allan Poe”, sang the Beatles, a song entitled “I’m the Walrus,” which explains the JPN Anabela Duarte, “is a satire on English society of his time and, both a revolt in protest against the way Poe had been treated by his countrymen. ” In the 60s, Poe appears even on the cover “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Heart Club Band “.

A kind of punk nihilism

According Anabela Duarte, “the appetite of the younger generation by Poe” is due to the fact that being an author “non-conformist and unconventional.” In 1844, Edgar Allan Poe published an article entitled “The Ballon-Hoax” in the newspaper “The Sun”. “Drunk, was placed to the newspaper’s door and told people,” Do not buy, do not buy, I did write, “says the anthropologist.

“The troubled spirit, paranoia, rebellion, the desire for self-destruction are some of the lines which are governed by many of the trends and contemporary artistic sensibilities,” said Anabela Duarte.

Diamanda Galás as “distorting mirror” of Poe

The themes of Diamanda Galás are steeped in mystery, rebellion and nonconformity. It is not therefore surprising that it is one of the best examples of the influence of Poe in the current music. Anabela Duarte believes that Galás “reflects, as a distorting mirror, the atmosphere of darkness and diabolism present in many of the writings” of the author.

“Masque of the Red Death” is a triple CD songwriter who subverts the homonymous tale of Poe.Each disc “bet for a typology of the Red Death, the plague being equivalent to plague par excellence of the century. And XX century. XXI, ie AIDS, “says anthropologist Anabela Duarte.

Over 200 years, Edgar Allan Poe was a source of inspiration in the music aesthetics and contemporary art. Tales as “The Raven,” “The Fall of the House of Usher” and “The Mask of the Red Death” were some of the most influential writings in the art world, particularly in music.

The Beatles Countdown #2: “I Am The Walrus”

“It’s one of those that has enough little biddies going to keep you interested even a hundred years later.”- John Lennon, describing “I Am The Walrus” on The Beatles Anthology

What can I possibly add to that to properly do justice to “I Am The Walrus”? That really says it all. You didn’t think I’d be fool enough to try to analyze this famously indecipherable song. Many have tried to parse those lyrics, and more power to ‘em.  As for me, I’ve always chosen to bask in the wonderful inscrutability of this colossal track from 1967, and leave the analysis alone.

After all, wasn’t the whole point of this song to confound easy interpretation? Lennon had heard about the fact that certain schools were studying Beatles’ lyrics as if they were poetry. John decided to pick up that gauntlet and construct a narrative that makes Ulysses look like a nursery rhyme. It’s as if he was saying, “Let’s see what your professors can make of this.”

Hence you get crazy word-association phrases like “pornographic priestess” and “elementary penguin,” and nonsensical non-sequiturs like “Man you shoulda seen ‘em kicking Edgar Allan Poe.” It doesn’t matter that you can’t actually “get a tan from standing in the English rain”; in this surreal context, it all somehow makes sense.

I don’t think it’s any coincidence that Lennon took inspiration for the title from Lewis Carroll’s The Walrus And The Carpenter, a poem in which the titular characters entice a bunch of oysters to go on a moonlight stroll and then feast on them. There’s not much of a moral to that story, nor does there always have to be. “I Am The Walrus” is a testament to that.

Contrasting all the verbal whimsy is a musical track that generates high drama from a strange commingling of instruments and an odd structure. The swirling strings play off Ringo’s insatiable beat, which breaks down now and again, both for John’s “I’m crying” interlude and a bizarre bridge that saunters slowly forward until rejoining the main rhythm.

Best of all is that coda, which, instead of doing the normal thing and slowly dying down, insists on soaring higher and higher amidst crazy chanted vocals and disembodied voices everywhere. It’s an absolutely exhilarating piece of work, both frenzied and light-hearted but still indescribably compelling.

Of course, here I am celebrating a song that poo-poohs the endless dissection of Beatle songs, when I’ve been doing exactly that in this list for the past few months. I think the point here is that these songs work both ways. As I’ve grown older, I’ve delved deeper into the meanings and looked at how certain musical ideas were used to express those meanings.

Still, like everyone else, there was once a first time for me hearing these songs, and my first experience with the majority of them came became before I was even in college, probably about half of them before I was even in my teens. The songs hit me on a basic, unthinking level that needed no further inspection to figure out why. That I’ve chosen, over the years and in this list, to really burrow into the songs does not in any way lessen the guttural impact they still have on me when they pop up on my stereo.

I think that “I Am The Walrus” is the perfect embodiment of that phenomenon more than any other Beatle song. I’m not sure that I’ll ever put my finger on why I love it so, or why it nearly made the very top of this personal list. All I’m sure about is that, when it comes on, I don’t want it to end. When it does end, I want to hear it again immediately.

If I tried to get any deeper than that, I might miss out on all the “little biddies” that make the song such a joy. No analysis necessary.

(E-mail the author at

“I Am The Walrus” by the Beatles


“Semolina pilchard climbing up the Eiffel Tower/Elementary penguin singing Hare Krishna/Man you should have seen them kicking Edgar Allan Poe/I am the eggman, they are the eggmen/I am the walrus, goo goo g’ joob goo goo g’ joob”

Admittedly the entirety of the Magical Mystery tour albums begs the question, “WTF were they smoking?” and perhaps picking on lyrics from The Beatles’ drug years is a bit unfair, but a penguin singing Hare Krishna? “Sitting on a cornflake waiting for the van to come?” If there was ever a reason to put down the drugs before writing, this song is proof positive.

(Francis Schaeffer pictured below)



Before The Beatles were inspiring writers — Haruki Murakami, Nick Hornby and, hell, even Kurt Vonnegut, to name a few — they were borrowing their fair share from literature, including the works of Lewis Carroll, James Joyce and Thomas Dekker.

The 1967 hit “I am the Walrus” is known for being influenced by Lewis Carroll’sThrough the Looking-Glass (and healthy amounts of LSD). In the spirit of Carroll’s poem “Jabberwocky,” the song is infused with nonsensical, onomonopiac language — but the chant “goo goo g’joob” actually comes from James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake. (Joyce used a slightly different sound: “googoo goosth.”) Leave it to John Lennon to mix his favorite childhood book with one of the most dense, experimental pieces of Irish literature.

The title of “I am the Walrus” also nods emphatically to Carroll’s poem “The Walrus and the Carpenter” — specifically to the walrus character, who expresses his remorse after devouring helpless oysters by crying at the poem’s end. Lennon confessed in an interview with Playboy that he felt they should have instead sided with the carpenter after learning of the possible political connotations of the poem (the walrus could represent unrepentant capitalists replete with crocodile tears). He admitted, though, that “I am the carpenter” just wouldn’t have had the same ring.

“I am the Walrus” incorporated literature on a subliminal level, as well. During the recording of their 1967 version of the song, The Beatles may have intentionally included two snippets from a static radio broadcast of William Shakespeare’s King Lear (Edgar leading his blinded father, then killing Oswald) at the end of their performance. I like to think that The Beatles planned all of this meticulously, but who knows, it may have coincidentally been picked up.

There were other literary sources The Beatles borrowed from more directly. Their song “Golden Slumbers” took quite a bit from Thomas Dekker’s lullaby of the same name. “Tomorrow Never Knows” also practically copies The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead for its opening lines, which are only a few words off from those of authors Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner and Richard Alpert: “Whenever in doubt, turn off your mind, relax, float downstream.”

Most of the references The Beatles made to literature in their music were to the books that stuck with them from childhood or had recent on their mind. It had little to do with reference snobbery and much more to do with the actual texts that had made John, Paul, George and Ringo the songwriters they became.

It’s possible to say the same of the literary greats who have made references to The Beatles in their books: They’re not showing off their musical chops, but paying tribute to the a band that influenced their art. Half a century on, The Beatles retain a tremendous influence over literature. Writers like S. E. Hinton (in The Outsiders) included references to The Beatles’ as a sort of timestamp to mark an era, while other authors have given the band tremendous praise in their fiction, as Kurt Vonnegut does in Timequake:

I say in speeches that a plausible mission of artists is to make people appreciate being alive at least a little bit. I am then asked if I know of any artists who pulled that off. I reply, “The Beatles did.”

In literature, it often seems like The Beatles can do no wrong. Their music does what Vonnegut describes: It brings people back to life. Whether it’s the comfort of nostalgia or the ease of their melodies, characters in literature often love The Beatles. Even the fictional record snob Rob Fleming in Nick Hornby’s novel High Fidelityconveys the band’s healing powers after a brutal long-term break-up:

Me, I’ll be playing the Beatles when I get home. Abbey Road, probably, although I’ll programme the CD to skip out ‘Something.’ The Beatles were bubblegum cards and Help at the Saturday morning cinema and toy plastic guitars and singing ‘Yellow Submarine’ at the top of my voice in the back row of the coach on school trips. They belong to me, not to me and Laura, or me and Charlie, or me and Alison Ashworth, and though they’ll make me feel something, they won’t make me feel anything bad.

Other fictional characters have used The Beatles as a way to express their own sentiments, to fill in feelings that they can’t express themselves. Charlie in The Perks of Being a Wallflower desperately loves the song “Something,” to the point that it defines his concept of what it means to be in love:

It was an old 45 record that had the Beatles’ song “Something.” I used to listen to it all the time when I was little and thinking about grown-up things. I would go to my bedroom window and stare at my reflection in the glass and the trees behind it and just listen to the song for hours. I decided then that when I met someone I thought was as beautiful as the song, I should give it to that person. And I didn’t mean beautiful on the outside. I meant beautiful in all ways.

But the writer to take the crown for the most Beatles references in their work must be Haruki Murakami. Not only has he named one of his most well-known novels after the Rubber Soul track “Norwegian Wood,” he’s mentioned the band in passing in many of his other works and even named one of his short stories after another track, “Yesterday.”

In Norwegian Wood, The Beatles come attached to the narrator Toru Watanabe’s issues with nostalgia and loss. At one point in the novel, a friend of Toru’s love interest plays the guitar and sings along to several Beatles songs, telling him: “Those guys sure knew something about sadness of life, and gentleness.”

And Murakami’s right — except that The Beatles have the power to be gentle but mighty, silly yet wise. I remember singing along with them at night while doing my homework and bowing my head to “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” at a school-wide memorial after a girl two grades younger than me was hit by a car. I’ve yelled songs drunk with my friends, and I’ve sobbed through the lyrics of “I’m Looking Through You.”

In Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, “I am the Walrus” is the tune the protagonist Oskar Schell imagines his father whistling before he dies in the World Trade Center. At one point in the book, Oskar worries that he can’t remember more about his father from that morning — how high his shirt was buttoned up or how exactly he was holding his copy of The New York Times — but the whistle of his father’s favorite Beatles’ melody sticks out. It is infectious; it fills the reader with its melody. The key to empathy right there in the first few lyrics: “I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.”

At the end of Foer’s novel, you want to hear Oskar’s father whistle “I am the Walrus” backwards. That is the unyielding literary power of The Beatles: They connect us.

Freddie Moore is a Brooklyn-based writer. Her full name is Winifred, and her writing has appeared in The Paris Review Daily and The Huffington Post. As a former cheesemonger, she’s a big-time foodie who knows her cheese. Follow her on Twitter: @moorefreddie

(Image Credits, from top: Flickr, End of the Game, Macmillan Dictionary Blog, ABS CBN, Fanpop)

October & the City Link
the Walrus & the Raven

Edgar Allan Poe (d. Oct. 7, 1849, Boston) and John Lennon (b. Oct.9, 1940, Liverpool) would’ve likely enjoyed each other’s company. One could even picture them sharing a coffee in Greenwich Village, just a few blocks from where they both lived briefly in New York.
Sharing a certain sensibility, they’ve twisted rules and noses with their talent and non-conformism. While Poe’s genius was acknowledged mostly after death, Lennon’s was still shaping his own times when life was brutally taken away from him. Despite their enormous sway over our era, they’ve both died at 40.
Their status as two of the world’s most recognized pop icons often obscures the depth of their art and endurance of their legacy. And maybe their irresistible appeal owes more to a contemporary deficit of revolutionary artists than to their particular take on human expression.
Or it may be that we’re so desperate to find paradigms upon which to pile our frustration about the world, that a walking wound such asPoe, or a talking head like Lennon, may offer the conduit we seek to connect and placate our own shortcomings. Just like it ever was.
They couldn’t help it but being such tragic heroes, either, with terrible upbringings and disturbing deaths to boot. But that’s when shallow similarities between the two begin to falter, and no longer serve us to rescue their relevance out of the amber it’s been encased.
Poe, who lived in three separate places in Greenwich Village, New York City, before moving to a farmhouse uptown where he wrote The Raven at age 36, is the only American writer routinely mentioned along the French poètes maudits.
The Paul Verlaine-concocted term encapsulated the romantic ideal of the artist as a tragic hero, not suited to this world, who inevitably self-immolates. We won’t get into how flawed and self-indulgent it is such notion, but the literature the group produced transcended it all.
Perhaps the best known among those poets was Charles Baudelaire, who championed, translated and wrote essays about Poe, (more)
Read Also:
* Murder & Unkindness
* Hallowed Ground

who he considered an equal. Even as his opinion is as flawed as the label, it was one of the few high-caliber vindications Poe has ever known in life.
Perhaps intuitively, or because he always detested that phony dead poet myth, Lennon included him in one of the most intriguing lyrics in rock music. Years later, he too would move to New York, initially to the Village, just a few blocks of Poe’s old hangouts.
The Beatles had already included Poe, along Lewis Carroll, Dylan Thomas, James Joyce, and others, on the cover of their 1967 masterpiece, Sgt. Pepper, but it was I’m the Walrus that became identified with the poor old sod of Baltimore.
It was probably all a play with words, but judging by the way Poe was despised by critics and mostly ignored by readers during his life, singing, Man, You Should’ve Seen Them Kicking Edgar Allan Poe, has some of the pointed poignancy Lennon was known for as a writer and lyricist.
The irony was that Lennon used the same sharp eye to somehow foresee his own demise, in the kind of morbid exercise better associated with Poe. It’s arguable that he was being seriously afraid of being killed violently, as he did in New York in 1980, and his life till the end was a boost of optimism, peace, and faith in the future.
That’s exactly where their legacies split wide open, for Poe was very much aware that the sum of his expression was hitched forever to a boat suffused with premonitions and visions of what was not yet there. Or never was. In that view, Lennon was the Sun and Poe, the Moon.
Nothing will ever be that simple about these two, or anybody, though. Throughout the world, between today and Friday, people will be holding seances and saraus, feverish praying and full-throated singing to celebrate the lives of two extraordinarily gifted artists.
So, Happy Birthday, John & Poe.



Edgar Allan Poe And Alcohol

Edgar Allan Poe had a long problem with alcohol and said the stress and pain of his wife’s illness was the cause of both his alcoholism and his “insanity.” He joined a temperance movement in 1849, a year before he died at age 40. Theorists have blamed Poe’s death on everything from carbon monoxide poisoning, to rabies (??), to murder, but it’s often accredited to alcohol withdrawal.

Poe was famously prone to alcoholic sprees during the 1840s, and his “enemies” (as he calls them) thought that his irregular behavior was due to his drinking. In 1842 Poe wrote a letter to his publishers, pleading with them to buy his work and apologising for a drunken encounter. Poe blamed fellow poet, William Ross Wallace, for making him drink too many juleps during a visit to New York.

“Will you be so kind enough to put the best possible interpretation upon my behaviour while in N-York? You must have conceived a queer idea of me – but the simple truth is that Wallace would insist upon the juleps, and I knew not what I was either doing or saying.” He included an article with his letter which he hoped they would publish. He admitted that he was “desperately pushed for money”, adding: “I set no price – leaving all to your own liberality”. He signed off with the hope that they might meet again “under better auspices”. But either the publishers didn’t like the article or Poe had been very, very drunk, as they returned the article unpublished.


Months before his death, Poe became a vocal member of the temperance movement, eschewing alcohol, which he’d struggled with all his life. Biographer Susan Archer Talley Weiss recalls, in her biography “The Last Days of Edgar A. Poe,” an event, toward the end of Poe’s time in Richmond, that might be relevant to theorists that prefer a “death by drinking” demise for Poe. Poe had fallen ill in Richmond, and after making a somewhat miraculous recovery, was told by his attending physician that “another such attack would prove fatal.” According to Weiss, Poe replied that “if people would not tempt him, he would not fall,” suggesting that the first illness was brought on by a bout of drinking.

Those around Poe during his finals days seem convinced that the author did, indeed, fall into that temptation, drinking himself to death. As his close friend J. P. Kennedy wrote on October 10, 1949: “On Tuesday last Edgar A. Poe died in town here at the hospital from the effects of a debauch. . . . He fell in with some companion here who seduced him to the bottle, which it was said he had renounced some time ago. The consequence was fever, delirium, and madness, and in a few days a termination of his sad career in the hospital. Poor Poe! . . . A bright but unsteady light has been awfully quenched.”


If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, take the first step towards recovery by downloading the free Addicaid app for iPhone Android and join the recovery community today.

Featured artist is Christopher Wool

Christopher Wool – Crosstown Crosstown, artist talk at DCA.flv

Uploaded on Jan 27, 2011

Artist Christopher Wool talking about his exhibition, Crosstown Crosstown (6 April – 8 June 2003), at Dundee Contemporary Arts.

Image result for christopher wool art
Image result for christopher wool art

Christopher Wool (born 1955) has emerged as one of the most important abstract painters of his generation. The artist—a Chicago native who today divides his time between New York City and Marfa, Texas—is perhaps best known for his paintings of large stenciled letters, which he uses to form words or phrases, often abbreviated or arranged in run-on configurations that disrupt ordinary patterns of perception and speech. This retrospective, the most comprehensive examination of Wool’s career to date, goes beyond these now-iconic word paintings to present nearly 90 paintings, photographs, and works on paper that showcase the wide range of styles and painterly techniques the artist has employed throughout his influential career.

Wool rose to prominence with his experimentations in painting in New York in the 1980s, a time and place where the medium was largely seen as irrelevant to avant-garde practice. Since then the artist has used a variety of means—spray, screens, stencils, rags, solvents, air guns, and other tools—to fully re-imagine the possibilities of gestural mark-making on a surface. He also often now uses photographs of his own paintings as sources for new paintings, taking images of particular passages or gestures—best understood as outtakes or samples—and then transmitting them onto aluminum or linen grounds anew through silkscreen, either alone on a surface or in combination with enamel. And even though the majority of his works are black and white, color also makes rare appearances.

Combining aspects inherited from Abstract Expressionist art of the 1950s (painterly gesture), Pop Art of the 1960s (the use of silkscreen and other reproductive technologies as well as the influence of street culture), and Conceptual Art of the 1970s (the use of language), Wool’s work simultaneously draws from the recent history of art and points to entirely new possibilities for the future of painting. At the heart of his creative project, which now spans more than three decades, is the question of how a picture can be conceived, realized, and experienced today. The paintings and works on paper for which he is best known accrue their raucous authority from an interrogative approach to technique and process and from their cool refusal to abandon the lingering possibilities of authentic expression through language, mediated gesture, and abstraction. The result is an exhibition steeped in the practice of painting by an artist fully committed to its longevity and perpetual promise.

This exhibition is organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York.

Lead sponsorship for this exhibition has been generously provided by Liz and Eric Lefkofsky.

Major support has been provided by Marilyn and Larry Fields with additional funds from The Aaron I. Fleischman Foundation.

Annual support for Art Institute exhibitions is provided by the Exhibitions Trust: Goldman Sachs, Kenneth and Anne Griffin, Thomas and Margot Pritzker, the Earl and Brenda Shapiro Foundation, the Trott Family Foundation, and the Woman’s Board of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Christopher Wool

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Christopher Wool
Born 1955
Boston, USA
Nationality American
Known for Painting

Christopher Wool (born 1955, Boston) is an American artist.[1] Since the 1980s, Wool’s art has incorporated issues surrounding post-conceptual ideas. He lives and works in New York City and Marfa, Texas, together with his wife and fellow painter Charline von Heyl.[2]

Early life and career[edit]

Wool was born in Boston to Glorye and Ira Wool, a molecular biologist and a psychiatrist.[2] He grew up in Chicago.[3] In 1973, he moved to New York City and enrolled in Studio School studies with Jack Tworkov and Harry Krame.[2] After a short period of formal training as a painter at the New York Studio School, he dropped out and immersed himself in the world of underground film and music.[4] Between 1980 and 1984, he worked as part-time studio assistant to Joel Shapiro.[5]


An example of work by Christopher Wool Untitled (2000) Enamel paint on aluminium.

Wool is best known for his paintings of large, black, stenciled letters on white canvases.[6] Wool began to create word paintings in the late 1980s, reportedly after having seen graffiti on a brand new white truck. Using a system of alliteration, with the words often broken up by a grid system, or with the vowels removed (as in ‘TRBL’ or ‘DRNK’), Wool’s word paintings often demand reading aloud to make sense.[4]

At 303 Gallery in 1988, Wool and fellow artist Robert Gober presented a collaborative exhibition and installation which included Wool’s seminal text-based painting, Apocalypse Now (1988). The work features words from a famous line in Francis Ford Coppola‘s film Apocalypse Now, based on the Joseph Conrad novel Heart of Darkness.[7] From the early 1990s through the present, the silkscreen has been a primary tool in Wool’s practice.[8] In his abstract paintings Wool brings together figures and the disfigured, drawing and painting, spontaneous impulses and well thought-out ideas. He draws lines on the canvas with a spray gun and then, directly after, wipes them out again with a rag drenched in solvent to give a new picture in which clear lines have to stand their own against smeared surfaces.

Writing in 2000, in The New York Times, Ken Johnson highlighted Wool’s response to an observation made on the street as significant, “in the 1980s, Christopher Wool was doing a Neo-Pop sort of painting using commercial rollers to apply decorative patterns to white panels. One day he saw a new white truck violated by the spray-painted words ‘sex’ and ‘luv.’ Mr. Wool made his own painting using those words and went on to make paintings with big, black stenciled letters saying things like ‘Run Dog Run’ or ‘Sell the House, Sell the Car, Sell the Kids.’ The paintings captured the scary, euphoric mood of a high-flying period not unlike our own.”[9]

Although Wool is best known as a painter, he has amassed a large body of black-and-white photographs taken at night in the streets between the Lower East Side and Chinatown. Originally begun in the mid-1990s, the project was resumed and completed in 2002. East Broadway Breakdown, a book reproducing all 160 photographs, was issued by Holzwarth Publications in 2004.[10]

In 2012, Wool contributed the set design for Moving Parts, a piece conceived by Benjamin Millepied‘s L.A. Dance Project.[11]

Artist books[edit]

  • Can your monkey do the dog, Christopher Wool & Josh Smith. 168 pages, 27,9 x 21,5 cm. Limited edition of 1000 copies and 300 artist’s proofs. Produced and published in 2007 by mfc-michèle didier.


In 1998, a retrospective of Wool’s work was mounted at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, an exhibition which then traveled to the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh and Kunsthalle Basel in Switzerland. In 2009 he had an exhibition at the Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst am Museum Ludwig in Köln, Germany and in 2012 at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. From October 25, 2013 to January 22, 2014, a retrospective of Wool’s work was exhibited at The Guggenheim Museum in New York City, and traveled to the Art Institute of Chicago in the spring of 2014.[12]


Among many honors, Wool has been named a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome (1989), served as a DAAD Berlin Artist-in-Residence (1992), and received the Wolfgang Hahn Prize.[13] In 2010, he was honored with amfAR’s Award of Excellence for Artistic Contributions to the Fight Against AIDS.[5]

Art market[edit]

Wool shows with Luhring Augustine Gallery, New York, which has represented him since 1987.[14] In 2006, he had a solo exhibition at Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills.[6] Other galleries Wool works with include Simon Lee Gallery, London, and Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin.[14]

Wool’s Word paintings made between the late 1980s and early 2000s are the most sought-after pieces on the art market; as of 2013, seven “word” works feature in Wool’s top ten auction sales.[14] At Christie’s London in February 2012, Untitled (1990), a later word painting bearing the broken word FOOL, sold for £4.9 million ($7.7 million).[7] In November 2013, art dealer Christophe van de Weghe bought Apocalypse Now (1988) for $26.4 million on behalf of a client at Christie’s New York.[15] Wool’s monumental black and white word painting Riot (1990) sold for $29.9 million at Sotheby’s New York in 2015.[16] That same month, Untitled (1990), made with alkyd and graphite on paper and featuring the words ‘RUN DOG EAT DOG RUN’, realized $2.4 million, the record for a work on paper by the artist.[17]

Personal life[edit]

Since 1997, Wool has been married to fellow artist Charline von Heyl.[5][18]


  1. Jump up^ Christopher Wool: CV on
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b c Christopher Wool Luhring Augustine Gallery, New York.
  3. Jump up^ Guggenheim Museum Presents Major Survey of American Artist Christopher Wool, Opening October 25 Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.
  4. ^ Jump up to:a b Christopher Wool Museum of Modern Art, New York.
  5. ^ Jump up to:a b c Award of Excellence for Artistic Contributions to the Fight Against AIDS amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research.
  6. ^ Jump up to:a b Christopher Wool Gagosian Gallery.
  7. ^ Jump up to:a b Judd Tully (October 11, 2013), Christopher Wool’s “Apocalypse Now” to Hit Christie’s Sales Floor Artinfo.
  8. Jump up^ Guggenheim Museum Presents Major Survey of American Artist Christopher Wool, Opening October 25 Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.
  9. Jump up^ Ken Johnson, ” Art in Review: Christopher Wool,” The New York Times, March 17, 2000.
  10. Jump up^ William Gedney — Christopher Wool: Into the Night, June 27 – October 3, 2004MoMA PS1, New York.
  11. Jump up^ Laura Bleiberg (November 21, 2011), Benjamin Millepied and Music Center announce L.A. Dance Project Los Angeles Times.
  12. Jump up^ Smith, Roberta (24 October 2013). “Painting’s Endgame, Rendered Graphically”. The New York Times. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
  13. Jump up^ Guggenheim Museum Presents Major Survey of American Artist Christopher Wool, Opening October 25. Press release of October 18, 2013 Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.
  14. ^ Jump up to:a b c Gareth Harris (September 20, 2013), Why the rise of Christopher Wool? The Art Newspaper.
  15. Jump up^ Carol Vogel (November 12, 2013), At $142.4 Million, Triptych Is the Most Expensive Artwork Ever Sold at an Auction New York Times.
  16. Jump up^ Scott Reyburn (May 13, 2015), A Rothko Tops Sotheby’s Contemporary Art AuctionNew York Times.
  17. Jump up^ Christopher Wool, Untitled (1990) Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale, 13 May 2015, New York.
  18. Jump up^ Cityfile: Christopher Wool

External links[edit]

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Francis Schaeffer’s favorite album was SGT. PEPPER”S and he said of the album “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band…for a time it became the rallying cry for young people throughout the world. It expressed the essence of their lives, thoughts and their feelings.”  (at the 14 minute point in episode 7 of HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? ) 

Image result for francis schaeffer how should we then live

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Francis Schaeffer

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