Tag Archives: Alison Watt

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 59 THE BEATLES (Part K, Advocating drugs was reason Aldous Huxley was on cover of Stg. Pepper’s) (Feature on artist Aubrey Beardsley)

A young Aldous Huxley pictured below:

The Beatles wrote a lot of songs about drugs and no wonder they chose the philosopher that was the top intellectual advocate of drug-taking to be on the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s.

(HD) Paul McCartney & Ringo Starr – With a Little Help From My Friends (Live)

John Lennon The Final Interview BBC Radio 1 December 6th 1980

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Much attention in this post is given to the songs LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS and TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS which were both referring to drug trips.

I have dedicated several posts to this series on the Beatles and I don’t know when this series will end because Francis Schaeffer spent a lot of time listening to the Beatles and talking and writing about them and their impact on the culture of the 1960’s. In this series we have looked at several areas in life where the Beatles looked for meaning and hope but also we have examined some of the lives of those  writers, artists, poets, painters, scientists, athletes, models, actors,  religious leaders, musicians, comedians, and philosophers  that were put on the cover of Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album. We have discovered that many of these individuals on the cover have even taken a Kierkegaardian leap into the area of nonreason in order to find meaning for their lives and that is the reason I have included the 27 minute  episode THE AGE OF NONREASON by Francis Schaeffer. In that video Schaeffer noted,  ” Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band…for a time it became the rallying cry for young people throughout the world.”

Today we are going to look at the leap in the area of nonreason in the form of a drug trip that was proposed by Aldous Huxley.

The Beatles:

Francis Schaeffer pictured below:

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the making of sgt. pepper’s lonely hearts club band

Published on Apr 29, 2013

compiled video of The making of sgt. peppers lonely hearts club band from maccalennon.

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Paul McCartney said at the 16:45 mark in the above video concerning the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s:

Everything about the album will be imagined from the perspective of these people. It doesn’t have to be us. It doesn’t have to be the kind of song you want to write. It can be the kind of song they would like to write.

What Paul was saying is very simple. There was a calculated effort to put  people on the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Album for certain reasons and they wanted to address their concerns in the music. It is my view that “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” was the song that was a shout out to Aldous Huxley!!!!!

I got this below off a message board from 2009 and notice how Francis Schaeffer notes that Aldous Huxley opened the door for the Beatles’ album St. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Therefore, it is not surprising to find Aldous Huxley on the cover!!!! Here is what the message board said below:

I researched existentialism, and I’ll tell you what I learned about its complicated history. I’ll include a serious point as well.

Aldous Huxley proposed drugs a solution to finding a “final experience.” He proposed that we give healthy people drugs, saying that people can then find truth inside their own heads. He emphasized this theoretical viewpoint in his novel, Brave New World. As a mentally ill person myself, I think that it’s barbarous to give healthy people drugs just so that they can have thrills, because that’s basically what Huxley’s theory amounts to. This emphasis on hallucinogenic drugs brought with it many rock groups, including Cream, who’s former member, Eric Clapton, later laments of losing his fellow band members to drugs. The Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band also fits here. This disc is a total unity, not just an isolated series of individual songs, and for a time it became the rallying cry for young people throughout the world. As a whole, music was the vehicle to carry the drug feeling.

The next accepted version in the West f life in the area of nonreason was the religious experience of Hinduism and Buddhism. This grasping for a nonrational meaning to life and values is the central reason that Eastern religions are so popular in the West today. Goethe, Wagner, and others had opened the door to Eastern thinking with their vague pantheism. But it came floodlike into the West with Huxley and the emphasis on drugs.

Although existentialism is growing less influential, more and more people are adopting this frame of thinking. They talk or act upon the idea that reason leads only to pessimism, saying, “let us try to find an answer in something totally separated from reason.” Humanistic man tried to make himself self-sufficient and demanded that one start from himself and the individual details and build his own universals. His great hope that he could begin from himself and produce a uniformity of knowledge led him, however, to the sad place where his mind told hi that he was only a machine, bundle of molecules. Then he tried desperately to find meaning in the area of non-reason, and flounders in his struggle to this day.

Note that I borrowed heavily from the book How Should We Then Live? by Francis A. Schaeffer, so most of the writing was not my own.

Revisiting Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World

Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) is famous today for two books, one of which many people have read and another which almost nobody has read. The unread volume is The Doors of Perception (1954), an account of Huxley’s mescaline use that made him a counter-culture favourite during the 1960s. The Doors took their name from its title, and Huxley also appears on the album sleeve of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Here he is, just above Dylan Thomas:

The book that people do continue to read is Brave New World (1932), an attempt to predict the future direction of society. Brave New World is almost always coupled with George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four as a dystopian satire of the future, and in fact, the two men knew each other. Huxley was one of Orwell’s teachers at Eton college. However, Brave New World is not really a dystopian novel at all.

That’s because Brave New World is not about disaster. Everybody is happy. It’s one of the strongest themes of the novel:

‘that is the secret of happiness and virtue – liking what you’ve got to do. All conditioning aims at that: making people like their inescapable social destiny’.

The citizens of Brave New World are bred in huge factories and artificially engineered to be intelligent Alphas or ‘low-grade’ Epilson workers: cheerfully branded by Huxley as ‘semimorons’ both in the text and in his later forward. Their childhood sleep is saturated with hypnotic suggestions that dictate the way that everybody thinks.

This conditioning is extremely effective, brainwashing everyone except for one or two extraordinary Alphas. Thankfully, one of these is the anti-hero of the first part of the novel, the morose, moody, Bernard Marx. He demands the right to be unhappy in the face of a crushingly upbeat population of pleasure-seekers.

‘In a crowd’, he grumbled. ‘As usual.’ … He remained obstinantly gloomy the whole afternoon … ‘I’d rather be myself,’ he said. ‘Myself and nasty. Not somebody else, however jolly.’

Considering that it is obsessed with an over-happy populace, it’s strange that the book appeared in 1932, in the middle of the Great Depression. At that time, huge numbers of people were out of work. FDR’s New Deal, which was intended to kick-start the American economy, would not begin until the following year. Over in the Soviet Union, the system of the Gulag was in full swing, and many of Huxley’s Russian contemporaries were facing imprisonment, exile or death.

Yet to this child of inherited wealth and prestige, the ultimate horror was a world of consumerism, comfort, television and constant entertainment. Huxley was obsessed with the influence of Henry Ford and artificial consumption. He often makes the criticism that the future population never repairs its clothes, but wastefully throws all the old ones away:

“The more stitches, the less riches.” Isn’t that right? Mending’s anti-social.

On reading this, you wonder how often Aldous Huxley himself ever stooped to darning his socks.

In his defence, he does rise above the economic despair of his own times to spot longer term consumerist trends. Modern fans of the Premier League might recognise this idea:

 Imagine the folly of allowing people to play elaborate games which do nothing whatever to increase consumption. It’s madness.

As a future prediction, Brave New World is actually surprising good. Huxley does predict the rise of instant communication (one newspaper is called The Hourly Radio), as well as e-readers. He also shrewdly perceives that future people will require chemical aid to function, with soma playing the role of our real-life Prozac.

Where the novel has dated is in attitudes to non-Europeans, especially the Native American population. Somehow Huxley seems to think that the population of New Mexico would remain in some sort of fossilised state seven centuries into the future. The only intelligent member of their community is a fugitive from ‘civilised’ Europe and her son John Savage. Savage is the only person on the reservation that Huxley can contemplate reading anything as elevated as Shakespeare. Everyone else spends their time indulging in bizarre ceremonies that bear no resemblance at all to any real culture. It’s an appalling portrayal of a people.

Despite these shortcomings, Brave New World is bursting with ideas and remains a thought-provoking read, even if many of Huxley’s theories about eugenics would become utterly discredited after the horrors of Nazism and the Second World War. It is a novel that rewards revisiting because there is always something new to find, even though the text is now over eighty years old.

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A reviewer of Francis Schaeffer’s book HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? noted:

In the mid-sixties, things began to come apart at an ever accelerating rate. It began in the schools, universities, and colleges, where generations of students had been introduced to the idea of man’s ultimate meaninglessness and that there were no absolutes in life. Those ideas brought forth their fruit in the form of violence and rebellion. It began with student disobedience on campus at Berkley in 1964 with the Free Speech Movement. This was a time of widespread student disobedience and it was also the time of the beginning of drugs as an ideology. The popularization of drugs by Aldous Huxley created a new, widespread phenomenon–drugs became a religion. People, students in particular, turned to drugs to find meaning. By giving up hope in finding objective truth they turned to drugs hoping that “drugs would provide meaning inside one’s head.” People such as Psychologists Timothy Leary and Gary Snyder, author-philosopher Alan Watts, and poet Allen Ginsberg were influential in making drugs an ideology and for some even a religion. “This drug-taking was really only one more leap, an attempt to find meaning in the area of nonreason.” For many in this era there was a thought, or as Schaeffer suggests a “utopian dream of the turned-on world,” that the problems of society and even civilization could be solved if enough people were on drugs. This even led to the idea of pouring LSD into the public drinking water of cities around the world. Schaeffer says: “This was not vicious, for the people suggesting it really believed that drugs were the door to Paradise. In 1964 and for some years after, the hippie world really believed this ideological answer.”

The best album ever?

 

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10 DRUGGIEST BEATLES SONGS

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BIPS, Hulton Archive

The Beatles that hit the stage on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ in February 1964 were not the same as the long-haired, weirdly dressed ones that later produced albums like ‘Sgt. Pepper’ and ‘Abbey Road.’ Between the mid- and late ’60s, a lot of things happened to transform the Fab Four, and one of those things was drugs. They weren’t alone — groups like Pink Floyd, the Rolling Stones, Cream, 13th Floor Elevators and Captain Beefheart were also making chemically informed rock music — but given the Beatles’ godlike status, every move they made was under an electron microscope, and their psychedelic explorations changed pop culture. What follows are the 10 Druggiest Beatles Songs — wonky nuggets that represent John, Paul, George and Ringo at their trippiest. (Songs that narrowly missed the list: ‘Rain,’ ‘Because,’ ‘Blue Jay Way,’ ‘Sun King,’ ‘Fixing a Hole,’ ‘A Day in the Life,’ ‘Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown),’ ‘Within You Without You,’ ‘Octopus’s Garden,’ ‘Nowhere Man,’ ‘The Fool on the Hill’ and ‘Glass Onion.)

The Beatles- Day Tripper

Parlophone/Capitol

Parlophone/Capitol
10

‘Day Tripper’

From 1965 Single

‘Day Tripper’ — which is up there with ‘I Feel Fine’ in terms of all-time great Beatles guitar riffs — could be read as a song about a jock-blocking tease. Or it could be about recreational drug use, as both John Lennon and Paul McCartney suggested. Talk about songwriting geniuses — they wrote a pop song about girls and drugs that, it might be argued, syllogistically says girls are drugs. Mind: blown.

Capitol/Parlophone

Capitol/Parlophone
9

‘Magical Mystery Tour’

From ‘Magical Mystery Tour’

‘Magical Mystery Tour’ is by no means one of the greatest Beatles songs, but it’s certainly one of the druggiest. Written mostly by Paul, it includes numerous drug references, including the repeated “Roll up!” figure. “Roll up what?” you ask. Hint: Go to Amsterdam and order a “coffee.”

Capitol/Parlophone

Capitol/Parlophone
8

‘With a Little Help From My Friends’

From ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’

What’s more important than friends? Money can’t buy companionship — or love, for that matter — and if you’re lucky, your best buds are there for you during good times and bad. And as the Beatles note in this classic ‘Sgt. Pepper’s’ cut, “with a little help from” your mates, you can also get “high.” Some Lennon-McCartney purists might argue the songwriters were high when they decided to let Ringo Starr handle lead vocals, but we ask you this: Can you imagine it being sung by anybody else?

Capitol/Parlophone

Capitol/Parlophone
7

‘Got to Get You Into My Life’

From ‘Revolver’

“Hey, pot.” Yes, dear. “I’ve got to get you into my life.” Only through the Volcano, Paul; only through the Volcano. That sounds about right. ‘Got to Get You Into My Life’ — one of those perfect McCartney numbers that builds and builds with hook after hook and is just sickly saccharine sweet — was actually written about marijuana. McCartney had recently added toker to his résumé and was smitten with its effects on his sense of Paulness. He could’ve easily retitled the song ‘Greenery and Ivory.’

Parlophone/Capitol

Parlophone/Capitol

The Beatles I Am The Walrus HD

6

‘I Am the Walrus’

From 1967 Single

Lennon eventually revealed that “the Walrus was Paul” — you might say he was “the Paulrus” — but that still doesn’t explain what the hell he’s talking about here. We’re inclined to believe this song was conceived in a cloud of pungent smoke, after its author had washed down a handful of multicolored pills with a brownish liquid gotten from a black-and-white-labeled glass bottle. If this isn’t the druggiest Beatles song, it’s damn near close.

Apple

Apple
5

‘Happiness Is a Warm Gun’

From ‘The Beatles’ (The White Album)

Heroin is a mistake a lot of great rockers have made. Kurt Cobain, Layne Staley, Janis Joplin, John Frusciante — the list goes on and on. There’s nothing fun about dancing with Mr. Brownstone, but Lennon was using the drug in the late ’60s, and ‘Happiness Is a Warm Gun’ is about that push-and-pull of addiction, and “shoot, shoot” may be a reference to, well, shooting up. Luckily, Lennon beat the habit and avoided becoming another drug casualty.

Capitol/Parlophone

Capitol/Parlophone

4

‘She Said She Said’

From ‘Revolver’

One night in the ’60s, at a hippie shindig the Beatles were also attending, actor Peter Fonda kept repeating that he “knew what it’s like to be dead,” apparently recounting a near-death experience from his childhood. The line struck a nerve with John Lennon, and he ended up writing it into the song ‘She Said She Said,’ next on our list of the Druggiest Beatles Songs. Interesting postscript: Fonda went on to write the movie ‘Easy Rider’ and based one of the main characters on David Crosby of the Byrds, a notorious drug-user and big-time Beatles fan. Crazy, man. Crazy.

Capitol/Parlophone

Capitol/Parlophone
3

‘Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds’

Lennon always claimed ‘Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds’ has nothing to do with LSD (or Lysergic Acid Diethylamide), and that it was his son that came up with the idea for the song’s title. But come on — this ‘Sgt. Pepper’s’ classic isobviously about psychedelic drug use. No sober person could have written something this bizarre. It’d be like asking Salvador Dalí to paint a watercolor of a house and a yard with a lemon-yellow sun. Not gonna happen.

Capitol/Parlophone

Capitol/Parlophone
2

‘Tomorrow Never Knows’

From ‘Revolver’

“Turn off your mind, relax, and float downstream / It is not dying.” That’s how the Beatles’ ‘Tomorrow Never Knows,’ on 1966’s ‘Revolver,’ kicks off. It’s the “This is your captain speaking” moment, delivered by Capt. John of the Airship High. Yes, folks, you’re eight miles high, flying at an altitude unknown to your parents — your head is spinning right ’round like a record on your friend’s sofa, your eyes following the needle as it creates a strange, warm, crackling sound in the black groove on the circular disc that’s turning, turning, turning. This was a new sound to say the least, and all these years later, it still has the power to amaze.

Capitol/Parlophone

Capitol/Parlophone
1

‘Strawberry Fields Forever’

From 1967 Single

‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ has become synonymous with John Lennon. The portion of New York’s Central Park where fans celebrate his memory is named for the 1967 song — a giant psychedelic leap forward for a band that had been holding girls’ hands and loving them eight days a week just a few years prior. The song gets its drippy, droney melody from then-futuristic Mellotron keyboard, and it features absurdest lyrics that at one point place the narrator in a “tree” he figures “must be high or low.” There’s no “or” there, buddy. You’re just high.

Read More: 10 Druggiest Beatles Songs | http://diffuser.fm/druggiest-beatles-songs/?trackback=tsmclip
Here is very interesting review of Francis Schaeffer’s work on the Beatles and it is followed by LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS and much has been made of the initials of this song (LSD).

Monday, May 20, 2013

Francis Schaeffer Trilogy Blog Pt. 3

     In the last blog I wrote about how the breakdown in the concept of truth moved from the philosophies into the world of art. Van Gogh is just one example of an artist who hoped to find ultimate meaning through human artistic expression, but fell short. In the end, the Dada-ists chose randomness and created art which had at its heart the goal of propagating their chaotic and destructive worldview.

 Schaeffer next turns to music and general culture. The decay of a cohesive approach to truth through absolutes and healthy logic (antithesis) is becoming pervasive. The musique concrete movement presented its chaotic, deconstructive compositions as if to say, “All is relative, nothing is sure, nothing is fixed”.  With such a strong relativist sensibility being thrust forward “the possibility of finding any universal which could make sense of the particulars is denied”.

 Modern Cinema soon became a powerful avenue for widespread communication of modernity’s approach to truth. “The so-called ‘good’ pictures have almost all been developed by men holding the modern philosophy of no certain truth and no certain distinctions between right and wrong,” observes Schaeffer, and, “…the films they produce are tools for teaching their beliefs”. In the 1960’s Michelangelo Antonioni’s film Blow-Up carried this tag-line: “Murder without guilt, love without meaning”.

     Schaeffer’s last example of the relativistic approach’s popular infiltration is The Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Rather than disconnected individual songs, this album, which expertly weaved together a conceptual whole, effectively communicated “psychedelic music, with open statements concerning drug-taking, [and] was knowingly presented as a religious answer”.

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds- The Beatles

Uploaded on Jan 18, 2009

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
The Beatles
Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

Lyrics
Picture yourself in a boat on a river,
With tangerine trees and marmalade skies
Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly,
A girl with kaleidoscope eyes.
Cellophane flowers of yellow and green,
Towering over your head.
Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes,
And she’s gone.
Lucy in the sky with diamonds.
Follow her down to a bridge by a fountain
Where rocking horse people eat marshmellow pies,
Everyone smiles as you drift past the flowers,
That grow so incredibly high.
Newspaper taxis appear on the shore,
Waiting to take you away.
Climb in the back with your head in the clouds,
And you’re gone.
Lucy in the sky with diamonds,
Picture yourself on a train in a station,
With plasticine porters with looking glass ties,
Suddenly someone is there at the turnstyle,
The girl with the kaleidoscope eyes.

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In his book HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? Francis Schaeffer noted:

This emphasis on hallucinogenic drugs brought with it many rock groups–for example, Cream, Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, Incredible String Band, Pink Floyd, and Jimi Hendrix. Most of their work was from 1965-1958. The Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) also fits here. This disc is a total unity, not just an isolated series of individual songs, and for a time it became the rallying cry for young people throughout the world. As a whole, this music was the vehicle to carry the drug culture and the mentality which went with it across frontiers which were almost impassible by other means of communication.

Here is a good review of the episode 016 HSWTL The Age of Non-Reason of HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE?, December 23, 2007:

Together with the advent of the “drug Age” was the increased interest in the West in  the religious experience of Hinduism and Buddhism. Schaeffer tells us that: “This grasping for a nonrational meaning to life and values is the central reason that these Eastern religions are so popular in the West today.”  Drugs and Eastern religions came like a flood into the Western world.  They became the way that people chose to find meaning and values in life.  By themselves or together, drugs and Eastern religion became the way that people searched inside themselves for ultimate truth.

Along with drugs and Eastern religions there has been a remarkable increase “of the occult appearing as an upper-story hope.”  As modern man searches for answers it “many moderns would rather have demons than be left with the idea that everything in the universe is only one big machine.”  For many people having the “occult in the upper story of nonreason in the hope of having meaning” is better than leaving the upper story of nonreason empty. For them horror or the macabre are more acceptable than the idea that they are just a machine.

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?

The New Mysticism


What about the spread of Eastern religions and techniques within the West – things like TM, Yoga, the cults? We have moved beyond the counterculture of the sixties, but where to? These elements from the East no longer influence just the beat generation and the dropouts. Now they are fashionable for the middle classes as well. They are everywhere…
What about those who take drugs as a means of “expanding their consciousness”? This, too, is in the same direction. Your mind is a hindrance to you: “Blow it”! As Timothy Leary put it in The Politics of Ecstasy (1968): “Our favorite concepts are standing in the way of a flood tide two billion years building up. The verbal dam is collapsing. Head for the hills or prepare your intellectual craft to flow with the current.” So we see again the rejection of the mind. The verbal dam, the concepts, the intellectual craft? These must be bypassed by the “new man.”

 

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Leary, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and others recording “Give Peace A Chance“.

Below is  a blog from pastor Matt Rawlings:

Whatever is True, Whatever is Noble, Whatever is Right…Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band

In the late summer, early fall of 1966, The Beatles were tired of being The Beatles.  The Fab Four couldn’t go anywhere without being mobbed, they had grown to hate touring because the wild screams of young girls drowned out their primitive amplifiers to the point that they couldn’t hear themselves play!  They took a break and stewed in jealousy over the recently released Beach Boys album Pet Sounds that critics were proclaiming to be the most innovative material since the rise of rock & roll itself.

On the return from an African vacation, Paul McCartney had an epiphany–create an altar image and release a groundbreaking concept record that would be a show in and of itself.  The result was Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band.  McCartney hoped to create an album that captured the essence of childhood and everyday life.  A number of songs effectively do just that (even the controversial “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,’ which most took to be a reference to LSD was in fact an ode to a picture drawn by John Lennon’s son Julian) but the concept proved too difficult even for the infamously disciplined Beatles to pull off and, ultimately, many of the songs were simply the best the four had to offer at the time.

The effect was still stunning.  Rolling Stone has twice proclaimed the album to be the best rock & roll record ever made.  Every song on Sgt. Pepper’s is a masterpiece, from the the title track which serves as an introduction to the somber but brilliant “A Day in the Life.”

When I first listened to Sgt. Pepper’s from beginning to finish, I was only 17 and failed to see why it was so influential but, after working for rock & roll icons Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, I came to see that from the perspective of 1967, Sgt. Pepper’s changed pop music forever.  To appreciate today, one must still listen to it in context and listen to it you must without distraction and from beginning to end.

While many “Beatlemaniacs” identify “With A Little Help From My Friends” or the catchy “When I’m Sixty-Four” as their favorite tracks, I always believed “She’s Leaving Home” was the most thoughtful track.  McCartney was inspired to write the song after reading a newspaper article about a young girl who had disappeared.  The tune captures a moment where a girl leaves the home of her parents who tried to give her “everything money could buy” but still left her feeling as if she were alone.

As a Christian listening to Sgt. Pepper’s it is hard not to think of Francis Schaeffer who reportedly cried when the Free Speech movement died despite his conservatism.  Schaeffer did not agree with the far left but was pleased to see a generation who, like the girl in “She’s Leaving Home,” was looking for more than just material comfort.  Then and now, there is a myth born in the depths of hell that the meaning of life is a comfortable existence with a lot of money and the toys.  In fact, life is about a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  Unfortunately, the only one of the Beatles who ever truly investigated the liberation of Christianity was John Lennon who had a regular correspondence with Jerry Falwell up until his death.  Sadly, Yoko Ono apparently opposed John’s inquiries.

Regardless, Sgt. Pepper’s is worth your time.

Next week, we will look at the art of Jackson Pollock.

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Sgt Pepper It Was 40 Years Ago Today 1 Hour BBC TV Special.avi

Published on Feb 14, 2013

Sgt. Pepper – It Was 40 Years Ago Today 1 Hour BBC TV Special

 

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The Beatles – Tomorrow Never Knows (w/ lyrics)

Uploaded on Apr 21, 2008
My first video ever made.

Tomorrow Never Knows by The Beatles on their 1966 album Revolver.

“Tomorrow Never Knows” is the final track of The Beatles’ 1966 studio album Revolver. It is credited as a Lennon/McCartney song, but was written primarily by John Lennon. Although it was the first song that was recorded, it was the last track on the album.

The song is significant because it contains the first example of a vocal being put through a Leslie speaker cabinet to obtain a vibrato effect (which was normally used as a loudspeaker for a Hammond organ) and the use of an ADT system (Automatic double-tracking) to double the vocal image.

“Tomorrow Never Knows” ends the Revolver album in a more experimental fashion than earlier records, which contributed to Revolver’s reputation as one of the group’s most influential and expressive albums.

LYRICS:
Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream
It is not dying, it is not dying
Lay down all thoughts, surrender to the void
It is shining, it is shining
That you may see the meaning of within
It is being, it is being

That love is all, that love is everyone
It is knowing, it is knowing
That ignorance and hate may moum the dead
It is believing, it is believing
But listen to the color of your dream
It is not living, it is not living
Or play the game existance to the end
Of the beginning, of the beginning,
Of the beginning, of the beginning,
Of the beginning, of the beginning,
of the beginning…

September 19, 2011

By Elvis Costello

 

My absolute favorite albums are Rubber Soul and Revolver. On both records you can hear references to other music — R&B, Dylan, psychedelia — but it’s not done in a way that is obvious or dates the records. When you picked up Revolver, you knew it was something different. Heck, they are wearing sunglasses indoors in the picture on the back of the cover and not even looking at the camera . . . and the music was so strange and yet so vivid. If I had to pick a favorite song from those albums, it would be “And Your Bird Can Sing” . . . no, “Girl” . . . no, “For No One” . . . and so on, and so on. . . .

Their breakup album, Let It Be, contains songs both gorgeous and jagged. I suppose ambition and human frailty creeps into every group, but they delivered some incredible performances. I remember going to Leicester Square and seeing the film of Let It Be in 1970. I left with a melancholy feeling.

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds- The Beatles

19

‘Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds’

the beatles 100 greatest songs
Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

Main Writer: Lennon
Recorded: February 28-March 2, 1967
Released: June 2, 1967
Not released as a single

Lennon always insisted that “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” was not a drug song. As he told Rolling Stone in 1970, “I swear to God or swear to Mao or to anybody you like, I had no idea it spelled LSD.” The inspiration was a picture that his four-year-old son, Julian, painted of Lucy O’Donnell, the girl who sat next to him at school. “He had sketched in some stars in the sky and called it ‘Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,'” Lennon said. “Simple.”

Lennon showed McCartney the painting one morning over tea, and they decided it was too great a title to pass up. The song is dominated by Lennon’s love of childish whimsy like Through the Looking-Glass. Lennon came up with the image of “kaleidoscope eyes,” McCartney with “cellophane flowers” and “newspaper taxis,” and before long, they had a psychedelic nursery rhyme with wordplay worthy of Lewis Carroll. “The images were from Alice in Wonderland,” Lennon said in 1980. “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.”

In the Weybridge mansion where he wrote the song, Lennon spent most of his days alone, feeling numb in a collapsing marriage, watching TV and doing drugs. “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” was an image of hope. As he explained in 1980, “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.'”

Sadly, Lucy herself died in September 2009 of lupus, at the age of 46. Julian Lennon paid tribute to his former classmate by releasing a benefit single, “Lucy,” a few weeks later. (Julian’s original “Lucy” drawing is currently owned by Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour.) When she first heard “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” as a teenager, she told her friends she was the Lucy who had inspired it. But they didn’t believe her, informing her the song was about LSD. Lucy didn’t argue because, as she admitted, “I was too embarrassed to tell them I didn’t know what LSD was.”

Appears On:Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

 

18

‘Tomorrow Never Knows’

the beatles 100 greatest songs
Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

Main Writer: Lennon
Recorded: April 6, 7 and 22, 1966
Released: August 8, 1966
Not released as a single

The last and most aggressively experimental track on Revolver was the first to be recorded: Lennon’s rapid, excited response to the great escape of LSD. In acid, Lennon found his first true relief from the real world and the band’s celebrity — an alternate space of rapture and self-examination that he re-created, with the energized collaboration of the other Beatles, in “Tomorrow Never Knows.” All of a sudden, the poetic advance and rustic modernism of Rubber Soul — issued only five months before these sessions, in December 1965 — was very old news. Compared to the rolling drone, tape-loop effects and out-of-body vocals that dominate Lennon’s trip here, even the rest of Revolver sounds like mutation in process: the Beatles pursuing their liberated impulses as players and writers, via acid, in pop-song form. There was no other place for this track on the album but the end. “Eleanor Rigby,” “I’m Only Sleeping,” “Love You To” and “She Said She Said” were all bold steps toward the unknown — “Tomorrow Never Knows” was the jump from the cliff.

The art of sampling in popular music may, in fact, start here. In January 1966, while tripping, Lennon took the precaution of consulting The Psychedelic Experience, a handbook written by LSD preacher Timothy Leary (with Richard Alpert and Ralph Metzner). The book itself was an extended paraphrase of Buddhist concepts, including reincarnation and ego death, in The Tibetan Book of the Dead. Lennon ran a tape recorder and read passages from The Psychedelic Experience as he was flying. He was soon writing a song using some of the actual lines from Leary, including his description of the state of grace beyond reality. Lennon even used it as a working title: “The Void.”

The Beatles got him there with extraordinary speed. It took them only three tries to come up with a master take of the rhythm track, driven by Starr’s relentless drumming. McCartney suggested the tumbling pattern Starr uses.) Most of the otherworldly overdubs were created and recorded on the night of April 6th and the afternoon of the 7th — a total of about 10 hours. There is nothing on “Tomorrow Never Knows” — the backwards guitar solo, the hovering buzz of Harrison on sitar, Lennon’s vocal drifting on what feels like the other side of consciousness — that was not dosed beyond plain recognition. The spacey, tabla-like quality of Starr’s drumming was just him playing on two slackly tuned tom-toms, compressed and doused in echo. Loops were created using a Mellotron imitating flute and string tones; the cackling seagull sounds were either an altered recording of McCartney laughing or a treated slice of guitar.

Lennon hoped to sound nothing like his usual self. “I want my voice to sound like the Dalai Lama chanting from a mountaintop, miles away,” he proclaimed in the studio. Engineer Geoff Emerick achieved that effect by running Lennon’s voice through the rotating speaker of a Leslie cabinet, which had been hooked up to the Hammond organ at Abbey Road. The result was heaven and earth combined: a luxuriant and rippling prayer, delivered in Lennon’s nasal Liverpool-hard-boy tone. “That is bloody marvelous!” Lennon exclaimed repeatedly after hearing his effect. McCartney’s reaction was equally joyful: “It’s the Dalai Lennon!”

Ironically, all the way to the last overdub on April 22nd, the song was listed on Abbey Road recording sheets with another working title, “Mark 1.” Starr came up with something much better. Like “A Hard Day’s Night,” “Tomorrow Never Knows” was one of the drummer’s malapropisms. The line does not appear in Lennon’s lyrics. What Starr meant, of course, was “tomorrow never comes.” He was wrong: It arrived, in reverb and technicolor, with ecstatic promise, at the end of Revolver.

Appears On:Revolver

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Vocal Complete

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Francis Schaeffer has correctly argued:

The universe was created by an infinite personal God and He brought it into existence by spoken word and made man in His own image. When man tries to reduce [philosophically in a materialistic point of view] himself to less than this [less than being made in the image of God] he will always fail and he will always be willing to make these impossible leaps into the area of nonreason even though they don’t give an answer simply because that isn’t what he is. He himself testifies that this infinite personal God, the God of the Old and New Testament is there. 

Instead of making a leap into the area of nonreason (such as the leap into the occult, or into drugs) the better choice would be to investigate the claims that the Bible is a historically accurate book and that God created the universe and reached out to humankind with the Bible. Below is a piece of that evidence given by Francis Schaeffer concerning the accuracy of the Bible.

TRUTH AND HISTORY (chapter 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE?)

In the previous chapter we saw that the Bible gives us the explanation for the existence of the universe and its form and for the mannishness of man. Or, to reverse this, we came to see that the universe and its form and the mannishness of man are a testimony to the truth of the Bible. In this chapter we will consider a third testimony: the Bible’s openness to verification by historical study.

Christianity involves history. To say only that is already to have said something remarkable, because it separates the Judeo-Christian world-view from almost all other religious thought. It is rooted in history.

The Bible tells us how God communicated with man in history. For example, God revealed Himself to Abraham at a point in time and at a particular geographical place. He did likewise with Moses, David, Isaiah, Daniel and so on. The implications of this are extremely important to us. Because the truth God communicated in the Bible is so tied up with the flow of human events, it is possible by historical study to confirm some of the historical details.

It is remarkable that this possibility exists. Compare the information we have from other continents of that period. We know comparatively little about what happened in Africa or South America or China or Russia or even Europe. We see beautiful remains of temples and burial places, cult figures, utensils, and so forth, but there is not much actual “history” that can be reconstructed, at least not much when compared to that which is possible in the Middle East.

When we look at the material which has been discovered from the Nile to the Euphrates that derives from the 2500-year span before Christ, we are in a completely different situation from that in regard to South America or Asia. The kings of Egypt and Assyria built thousands of monuments commemorating their victories and recounting their different exploits. Whole libraries have been discovered from places like Nuzu and Mari and most recently at Elba, which give hundreds of thousands of texts relating to the historical details of their time. It is within this geographical area that the Bible is set. So it is possible to find material which bears upon what the Bible tells us.

The Bible purports to give us information on history. Is the history accurate? The more we understand about the Middle East between 2500 B.C. and A.D. 100, the more confident we can be that the information in the Bible is reliable, even when it speaks about the simple things of time and place.

(This material below is under footnote #94)

The site of the biblical city called Lachish is about thirty miles southwest of Jerusalem. This city is referred to on a number of occasions in the Old Testament. Imagine a busy city with high walls surrounding it, and a gate in front that is the only entrance to the city. We know so much about Lachish from archaeological studies that a reconstruction of the whole city has been made in detail. This can be seen at the British Museum in the Lachish Room in the Assyrian section.

There is also a picture made by artists in the eighth century before Christ, the Lachish Relief, which was discovered in the city of Nineveh in the ancient Assyria. In this picture we can see the Jewish inhabitants of Lachish surrendering to Sennacherib, the king of Assyria. The details in the picture and the Assyrian writing on it give the Assyrian side of what the Bible tells us in Second Kings:

2 Kings 18:13-16

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

13 Now in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and seized them. 14 Then Hezekiah king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria at Lachish, saying, “I have done wrong. Withdraw from me; whatever you impose on me I will bear.” So the king of Assyria required of Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. 15 Hezekiah gave him all the silver which was found in the house of the Lord, and in the treasuries of the king’s house. 16 At that time Hezekiah cut off the gold from the doors of the temple of the Lord, and from the doorposts which Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid, and gave it to the king of Assyria.

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We should notice two things about this. First, this is a real-life situation–a real siege of a real city with real people on both sides of the war–and it happened at a particular date in history, near the turn of the eighth century B.C. Second, the two accounts of this incident in 701 B.C. (the account from the Bible and the Assyrian account from Nineveh) do not contradict, but rather confirm each other. The history of Lachish itself is not so important for us, but some of its smaller historical details.

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The Bible and Archaeology – Is the Bible from God? (Kyle Butt 42 min)

You want some evidence that indicates that the Bible is true? Here is a good place to start and that is taking a closer look at the archaeology of the Old Testament times. Is the Bible historically accurate? Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject: 1. The Babylonian Chronicleof Nebuchadnezzars Siege of Jerusalem2. Hezekiah’s Siloam Tunnel Inscription. 3. Taylor Prism (Sennacherib Hexagonal Prism)4. Biblical Cities Attested Archaeologically. 5. The Discovery of the Hittites6.Shishak Smiting His Captives7. Moabite Stone8Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III9A Verification of places in Gospel of John and Book of Acts., 9B Discovery of Ebla Tablets10. Cyrus Cylinder11. Puru “The lot of Yahali” 9th Century B.C.E.12. The Uzziah Tablet Inscription13. The Pilate Inscription14. Caiaphas Ossuary14 B Pontius Pilate Part 214c. Three greatest American Archaeologists moved to accept Bible’s accuracy through archaeology.

Top Ten Biblical Discoveries in Archaeology – #10 Assyrian Lachish Reliefs

 

Setting the Stage

In 930 BC the unified country of Israel split into two kingdoms.  The northern kingdom is known as Israel.  The southern kingdom is known as Judah.  200 years later, in 720 BC, Israel is destroyed by Assyria (modern day Iraq).

With Israel destroyed Assyria turns its gaze toward destroying Judah.  2 Kings 18:13 says, “In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign, Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them.”

2 Kings 18:17 states, “The king of Assyria sent his supreme commander, his chief officer and his field commander with a large army, from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem.”  The prize of Judah would be the destruction of Jerusalem.  Conquering Boston would be a victory but defeating Washington, D.C. would be even greater. Sennacherib drives one of the most powerful armies of all human history toward Jerusalem.  The Assyrian commander tells the people of Jerusalem, “Do not listen to Hezekiah, for he is misleading you when he says, ‘The Lord will deliver us.’ Has the god of any nation ever delivered his land from the hand of the king of Assyria?”

Hezekiah prays fervently for deliverance.  He sends a delegation to Isaiah the prophet for counsel.  Isaiah tells him not to worry Jerusalem will NOT be destroyed by the leading world power, God will intervene.  This is just one of the myriad stories found in the Bible.  Is this story accurate?  How can a story from nearly 3,000 years ago be trusted as completely true?  Does archaeology support or deny the accuracy of 2 Kings 18 and 19?

The Discovery

We know from Assyrian history, outside the Bible, there was a king named Sennacherib.  His reign was from 704-681 BC.  We know Sennacherib moved the capital of the Assyrian empire from a city named Dur Sharrukin to Nineveh.  He then built an amazing palace.  He actually named his palace, “The Palace without Rival.”  John Malcolm Russell explains, “The walls of some seventy rooms in this structure were lined with limestone slabs carved in low relief with scenes commemorating Sennacherib’s royal exploits.”  For nearly 2,500 years the palace lay buried and forgotten.

In 1847 Sennacherib’s palace was discovered by the British diplomat and amateur archaeologist Austin Henry Layard.  Layard’s discovery drew a huge amount of attention.  Inscriptions discovered within the palace removed any doubt this was indeed Sennacherib’s famous palace.   The finds were magnificent.  The main focus of the excitement came from a room archaeologists labeled, “Room XXVI.”

Layard found the walls of this room covered with limestone 8 feet tall and 80 feet long wrapping around all four walls.  Every inch of the room’s walls powerfully depicted only one scene in history, Sennacherib’s defeat of the southern kingdom city of Lachish.  Remember in 2 Kings 18:17, “The king of Assyria sent his supreme commander, his chief officer and his field commander with a large army, from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem.”

The piece of art identifies itself as the battle of Lachish and provides detailed chronological information about the battle.  Some women are seen walking down siege ramps; while possibly their husbands are being impaled by the Assyrians.  We see what the women of Lachish were wearing the day of the battle; we see the type of facial hair worn by the men.  We see the type of military equipment and military techniques the Assyrians used to defeat Lachish and threaten Jerusalem.  The relief gives us stunning play-by-play detail of the destruction of Lachish.

Do you see all the little dome-shaped objects in the background?  What are they?  Each one represents a soldier’s helmet.  They are depicting in art a vast sea of soldier’s helmets, representing the immensity of the Assyrian army.

Provenance

The Provenance, or history, of the Lachish Relief is without dispute.  The relief did not appear mysteriously on the black market.  The dig of Sennacherib’s palace was well-documented and the relief clearly discovered from within the city of Nineveh and specifically in Room XXVI of Sennacherib’s palace.   Even though Austin Henry Layard was an amateur archaeologist at the time of the discovery, the discovery has a strong provenance.  Furthermore, leading archaeologists have been able to examine the relief and confirm its authenticity and importance.

Significance

Why would Sennacherib cover a room in his palace with scenes from this one battle?  That’s where it gets really interesting.  Archaeologists have been able to determine this room was a waiting room for people getting ready to see Sennacherib.  Many of the people getting ready to see the emperor were kings or dignitaries in their own land.  These powerful people, as they waited to meet with Sennacherib, would be able to see the power of the king and the fate of those who would resist his rule.

The discovery is significant on many levels, here are but a few:

  1. The discovery confirms Israel as a powerful/important nation in the 8thcentury BC.  If you want to show yourself as powerful to other kings/dignitaries you will mention someone powerful whom you defeated.  No one is impressed if you steal candy from a baby.  Yet if you steel candy from an Ultimate Fighting Champion, you have my attention.  Many critics argue the nation of Israel was not great during the time of the kings (David, Solomon, etc…).  Critics will say Israel was a sparsely populated country full of poor farmers.  The Assyrian relief, in support of the Bible, proves Israel was a powerful country during the period of the kings.
  2. Sennacherib uses 8 feet-by-80 feet of wall space to brag about destroying Lachish.  Why didn’t he instead use that prime real estate to brag about destroying Jerusalem?  Jerusalem would have been the ultimate prize to brag about, Lachish is generally regarded as the second most important city of Judah behind Jerusalem.  Destroying Jerusalem would have meant destroying the temple of the God of Israel.  A message would be sent throughout the world telling people the god of Assyria is greater than the God of Israel.  Since the relief depicts Lachish instead of Jerusalem it is obvious Sennacherib did not destroy Jerusalem.  The biblical account is accurate; Lachish was destroyed not Jerusalem.  In additional support to my first point, Sennacherib is boasting to other kings about destroying the second most influential city in Judah.
  3. The destruction of Lachish is the most widely documented event from the Old Testament.  The story is explained in four independent sources from the same era: 1) In the Bible; 2) In Assyrian cuneiform prisms (another discovery shown in picture at left) accounting the same events, 3) In archaeological excavations at the site of Lachish; and 4) In the monumental reliefs discovered in Nineveh.
  4. The discovery supports the construction of another archaeological marvel: Hezekiah’s Tunnel.  Sennacherib’s army thought they had cut off all sources of water to Jerusalem.  It would be a matter of a couple weeks until the people fled Jerusalem in need of water.  The joke was on them.  Hezekiah, without modern tools, had constructed a tunnel inside Jerusalem through 1750 feet of solid rock in order to reach an underground water supply.  The tunnel wasn’t discovered in modern times until 1837.  I have had the amazing privilege, with water up to my knees, of walking through all 1750 feet of the tunnel constructed to survive Sennacherib’s siege.

The Assyrian Lachish Relief is the 8th century BC’s equivalent of finding an HD video taken during a war that occurred during the Old Testament.  The HD video completely supports the biblical account making this one of the ten most significant biblical discoveries in archaeology of all time.

As we continue down our Top Ten list the significance of our discoveries only grow.  What do you think of the Assyrian Lachish reliefs?  Feel free to join the conversation by commenting on this discovery.

 

Aubrey Beardsley was on the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band so the featured artist today is Aubrey Beardsley:

 

Aubrey Beardsley Part 1

Edgar Allan Poe 

Aubrey Beardsley

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Aubrey Beardsley
Aubrey Beardsley by Frederick Hollyer, 1893.jpg

Portrait of Beardsley by Frederick Hollyer, 1893
Born Aubrey Vincent Beardsley
21 August 1872
Brighton, England
Died 16 March 1898 (aged 25)
Menton, France
Nationality English
Education Westminster School of Art
Known for Illustration
Movement Art Nouveau, Aestheticism

Aubrey Vincent Beardsley (21 August 1872 – 16 March 1898) was an English illustrator and author. His drawings in black ink, influenced by the style of Japanese woodcuts, emphasized the grotesque, the decadent, and the erotic. He was a leading figure in the Aesthetic movement which also included Oscar Wilde and James A. McNeill Whistler. Beardsley’s contribution to the development of the Art Nouveau andposter styles was significant, despite the brevity of his career before his early death from tuberculosis.

Early life, education and early career[edit]

Aubrey Beardsley, c. 1895

Beardsley was born in Brighton, England, on 21 August 1872, and christened on 24 October 1872.[1] His father, Vincent Paul Beardsley (1839–1909), was the son of a tradesman; Vincent had no trade himself, however, and instead relied on a private income from an inheritance that he received from his maternal grandfather when he was twenty-one years of age.[2] Vincent’s wife, Ellen Agnus Pitt (1846–1932), was the daughter of Surgeon-Major William Pitt of the Indian Army. The Pitts were a well-established and respected family in Brighton, and Beardsley’s mother married a man of lesser social status than might have been expected. Soon after their wedding, Vincent was obliged to sell some of his property in order to settle a claim for his “breach of promise” from another woman who claimed that he had promised to marry her.[3] At the time of his birth, Beardsley’s family, which included his sister Mabel who was one year older, were living in Ellen’s familial home at 12 Buckingham Road. The number of the house in Buckingham Road was 12, but the numbers were changed years ago, and it is now 31.[4]

Aubrey Beardsley by Jacques-Émile Blanche.

In 1883 his family settled in London, and in the following year he appeared in public as an “infant musical phenomenon”, playing at several concerts with his sister.[5] In January 1885 he began to attend Brighton, Hove and Sussex Grammar School, where he would spend the next four years. His first poems, drawings and cartoons appeared in print in “Past and Present”, the school’s magazine. In 1888 he obtained a post in an architect‘s office, and afterwards one in the Guardian Life and Fire Insurance Company. In 1891, under the advice ofSir Edward Burne-Jones and Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, he took up art as a profession. In 1892 he attended the classes at the Westminster School of Art, then under Professor Fred Brown.[6][5]

Work[edit]

The Peacock Skirt, 1893

In 1892, Beardsley travelled to Paris, where he discovered the poster art of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and the Parisian fashion for Japanese prints, both of which would be major influences on his own style. Beardsley’s first commission was Le Morte d’Arthur by Thomas Malory (1893), which he illustrated for the publishing house J. M. Dent and Company.[7]

His six years of major creative output can be divided into several periods, identified by the form of his signature. In the early period his work is mostly unsigned. During 1891 and 1892 he progressed to using his initials, A.V.B. In mid-1892, the period of Le Morte d’Arthur and The Bon Mots he used a Japanese-influenced mark which became progressively more graceful, sometimes accompanied by A.B. in block capitals.[8] He co-founded The Yellow Book with American writer Henry Harland, and for the first four editions he served as Art Editor and produced the cover designs and many illustrations for the magazine. He was also closely aligned with Aestheticism, the British counterpart of Decadence and Symbolism. Most of his images are done in ink, and feature large dark areas contrasted with large blank ones, and areas of fine detail contrasted with areas with none at all.

Beardsley was the most controversial artist of the Art Nouveau era, renowned for his dark and perverse images and grotesque erotica, which were the main themes of his later work. His illustrations were in black and white, against a white background. Some of his drawings, inspired by Japanese shunga artwork, featured enormous genitalia. His most famous erotic illustrations concerned themes of history and mythology; these include his illustrations for a privately printed edition of AristophanesLysistrata, and his drawings for Oscar Wilde‘s play Salome, which eventually premiered in Paris in 1896. Other major illustration projects included an 1896 edition of The Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope, and the collection A Book of Fifty Drawings by Aubrey Beardsley (1897).[7]

He also produced extensive illustrations for books and magazines (e.g. for a deluxe edition of Sir Thomas Malory‘s Le Morte d’Arthur) and worked for magazines such as The Studio and The Savoy, of which he was a co-founder. As a cofounder of The Savoy, Beardsley was able to pursue his writing as well as illustration, and a number of his writings, including Under the Hill (a story based on the Tannhäuser legend) and “The Ballad of a Barber” appeared in the magazine.[9]

The Dancers Reward, Salomé: a tragedy in one act

Beardsley was a caricaturist and did some political cartoons, mirroring Wilde’s irreverent wit in art. Beardsley’s work reflected the decadence of his era and his influence was enormous, clearly visible in the work of the French Symbolists, the Poster art Movement of the 1890s and the work of many later-period Art Nouveau artists such as Pape and Clarke.

Beardsley was a public as well as private eccentric. He said, “I have one aim—the grotesque. If I am not grotesque I am nothing.” Wilde said he had “a face like a silver hatchet, and grass green hair.” Beardsley was meticulous about his attire: dove-grey suits, hats, ties; yellow gloves. He would appear at his publisher’s in a morning coat and patent leatherpumps.

Although Beardsley was associated with the homosexual clique that included Oscar Wilde and other English aesthetes, the details of his sexuality remain in question. He was generally regarded as asexual. Speculation about his sexuality include rumours of an incestuous relationship with his elder sister, Mabel, who may have become pregnant by her brother and miscarried.[10][11] During his entire career, Beardsley had recurrent attacks of the disease that would end it. He suffered frequent lung hemorrhages and was often unable to work or leave his home.

Beardsley converted to Roman Catholicism in March 1897, and subsequently begged his publisher, Leonard Smithers, to “destroy all copies of Lysistrata and bad drawings… by all that is holy all obscene drawings.” Smithers ignored Beardsley’s wishes, and actually continued to sell reproductions as well as forgeries of Beardsley’s work.[8]

“Isolde”, illustration in Panmagazine

Death[edit]

In 1897 deteriorating health prompted his move to the French Riviera, where he died a year later on 16 March 1898 at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Menton, France, attended by his mother and sister. He was 25 years of age and the cause of death was tuberculosis. Following a Requiem Mass in Menton Cathedral the following day, his remains were interred in the adjacent cemetery.[12][13]

Media portrayals[edit]

In the BBC 1982 Playhouse drama Aubrey, written by John Selwyn Gilbert, Beardsley was portrayed by actor John Dicks. The drama concerned Beardsley’s life from the time of Oscar Wilde’s arrest in April 1895, which resulted in Beardsley losing his position at The Yellow Book, to his death from tuberculosis in 1898.[14]

Categories:

 

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