Sunday, May 1
FINNEGANS WAKE May 4, 1939
On May 4, 1939, the book Finnegans Wake by James Joyce was published, about a year and a half before the birth of John Lennon. In celebration of its publication and mysterious verse we toy with a few of the words, and there are many.
Have you heard of one Humpty Dumpty (1)
How he fell with a roll and a rumble (2)
And curled up like Lord Olofa Crumple
By the butt of the Magazine Wall, (3)
(Chorus) Of the Magazine Wall,
Hump, helmet and all?
He was one time our King of the Castle (4)
Now he's kicked about like a rotten old parsnip (5)
And from Green street he'll be sent by order of His Worship (6)
To the penal jail of Mountjoy (7)
(Chorus) To the jail of Mountjoy!
Jail him and joy.
He was fafafather of all schemes for to bother us
Slow coaches and immaculate contraceptives for the populace, (8)
Mare's milk for the sick, seven dry Sundays a week,
Openair love and religion's reform,
(Chorus) And religious reform,
Hideous in form.
(1) Have you heard of one Humpty Dumpty - John Lennon, The Eggman, taken from his song I am the Walrus. In the song John uses the phrase, Goo Goo Goo Joob, supposedly taken from James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake (557): "googoo goosth" – and reportedly, the last words spoken by Humpty Dumpty before falling off the wall.
(2) How he fell with a roll and a rumble - how John Lennon was murdered.
(3) By the butt of the Magazine Wall – Mark Chapman believed John Lennon was a phony. When he read the November 1980 Esquire Magazine article titled John Lennon’s Private Life: A Madcap Mystery Tour by Laurence Shames he was convinced beyond doubt of John’s phoniness. Chapman had just traveled to Georgia, USA to pick-up 5 hollow point bullets from a friend. As he boarded a plane from Atlanta to NYC and took his first class seat, in the magazine rack directly in front of him was the Esquire Magazine with John Lennon’s picture featured prominently on the cover. The publication and content of the article could not have been more timely, its convenient, unavoidable placement in the seat pocket directly in front of him, left Mark a captive audience on his faithful trip back to New York. This was no coincidence. Shames’ went in search of the Lennon “who always took chances, musically and politically; the man of appalling honesty who shamed the world into examining itself -the truth seeker; the man of peace and love; the radical rock and roll revolutionary; the political activist; the man who spoke out in favor of women, gays and everybody poor; the conscience of the age.” But what he found instead was “a 40-year-old businessman, who watches a lot of TV, whose got 150 million dollars in the bank and lawyers who squeeze him through the many tax loopholes.” Shames’ found mansions – 4 of them and still others; one on Long Island, Cold Springs Harbor; another ocean front Palm Beach Florida estate; he found land he purchased in Upstate New York Catskill Mountains – 16,000 acres. He found a yacht, swimming pools and hundreds of Holstein cows, one of which sold for $265,000. The story was harsh criticism and judgment of the working class hero. The bold print on the lead page asked the same question circulating in Mark’s mind, “John Lennon, Where Are You?” It seemed the man of antiestablishment had wholly and heartily joined the establishment and was living a comfortable life in the 28 rooms he owned in the exclusive Dakota Apartments. The article completely confirmed the image Mark already held in his mind to the phoniness of John Lennon. The big phony was living a self-centered life in his luxury apartment in New York and for this he must die.
(4) He was one time our King of the Castle – Mark Chapman was King of an imaginary Kingdom of Little People that lived in the walls of his house in Decatur, Georgia. It was there the Little People first appeared to him while listening to the album Meet the Beatles. When the Little People heard the music of The Beatles, Mark sang them the song Little Child changing the words to Little People and they chanted, “Mark the King of music, Mark the King of the Little People, Long live the King of the Little People.”
(5) Now he's kicked about like a rotten old parsnip – How Chapman is hated worldwide.
(6) And from Green street he'll be sent by order of His Worship - Chapman grew-up and spent most his life on Green Forest Drive in Decatur, GA, USA.
(7) To the penal jail –Chapman was sentenced to Attica State Prison in New York State for the murder of John Lennon – jail him and joy.
(8) … and immaculate contraceptives for the populace – John Lennon was shot and killed on December 8, 1980, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
Finnegans Wake has been described as a locked-box, a Celtic Knot. Irish writer James Joyce said his books were not to be taken as mere books, but as acts of prophecy. He said Finnegans Wake was the interpretation of “the dark night of the soul.” To his critics who said the work was a waste of his genus he responded, “Perhaps it is insanity. One will be able to judge in a century.” Finnegans Wake is an Irish puzzle. Joyce spent 17 years writing it and considered it his greatest work. Interesting, the neighborhood in which Chapman grew up was full of Irish street names: Irish Lane, Shamrock Drive, Kilarney Road, Galway Drive, Dublin Drive, and Bellgreen Way, Chapman lived on Green Forest Drive.
The Lennon Prophecy: John Lennon, Mark Chapman, James Joyce and Finnegans Wake.