John Lennon was a big fan of Lewis Carroll, and when he wrote his poem books “In His Own Write” and “A Spaniard In The Works”, he was often compared to Lewis Carroll and even said so in audio interviews that we have preserved to us today. Such titles as Alice in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass were certainly formative books in style and substance that appealed to John. There were even overt songs written with Lewis Carroll in mind, especially I Am The Walrus. John said this “came from ‘The Walrus and the Carpenter.’ Alice In Wonderland. To me, it was a beautiful poem…I realized the walrus was the bad guy in the story, and the carpenter was the good guy. I thought, ‘Oh, shit, I picked the wrong guy.’ I should have said, “I am the carpenter.”‘ But that wouldn’t have been the same, would it?” [Playboy Interviews, 1980].
There is an art show going on in Liverpool at the Liverpool Academy about Lewis Carroll, and of course, there has to be mention of both John Lennon and Paul McCartney. The articles implies but does not state that Rupert The Bear may have a showing there as well. But I am curious what exactly the John Lennon exhibit will consist of.
Here’s what we’ve read:
FIRST there was Charles Dodgson, ex-public schoolboy and, later, an Oxford don, and Alice Liddell, daughter of the Dean of Christ Church.
But history now knows them as Lewis Carroll and his creation, Alice of ‘Wonderland’ fame.
As the title implies, this is more than an art show, although there are more than 150 paintings, drawings, models and other bits of ephemera allowing mainly local artists to perpetuate childhood infatuation through into a world of brightly-coloured adult fantasy.
Curator and Academy director June Lornie has enjoyed a lifelong fascination with the realm of the Mad Hatter, White Rabbit et al.
She has produced many of the exquisite pictures, as well as Alice costumes (re-exhibited after original use in a fashion show) and a marvellous tea party spread, the decorative cakes made out of oasis flower-arranging bases (very Blue Peter).
All the clocks in the gallery are stopped at six o’clock. Very simply because six o’clock is tea-time in Wonderland.
Not that Alice time is nowadays anything other than eternal, with a Johnny Depp movie in the making, and even today, at Croxteth Park, an outdoor production of the evergreen adventures.
Even Wonderland groupies will find little extras in the Academy show, staged with help from the Community Foundation for Merseyside: like a letter from Dodgson to his friend, the poet Tennyson, giving advice on how to cure a stammer.
While in the art itself, there are guest characters: See if you can spot Ken Dodd (who, incidentally, played a mouse in an early Alice film).
And the Walrus and Rupert get into the act elsewhere, demonstrating both John Lennon’s addiction to Wonderland and Paul McCartney’s liking for the ‘bear’ necessities, having made a, now largely-forgotten, Rupert movie.
There is even documentation of Alice Liddell’s Welsh connection – staying in Llandudno – recalled in a paperback memorandum by a former colleague, the late Ivor Wynne Jones.
Alice, we are reminded, crosses all borders. Hence translations on show in Russian, Japanese, Spanish and German.
But priority must go to Dodgson’s birthplace, the Cheshire village of Daresbury.
Now there’s an idea for an outing this weekend.
Hit the Alice trail.
Source: Liverpool Echo