Over the gate...

Designed in 1913 by Victorian/Edwardian/other architect Theophilus A Allen; John Lennon's house between 1964 and 1968; sunroom, attic and prisco stripe hibernice; Mellotron and caravan; Babidji and Mimi; mortar and pestle; Wubbleyoo Dubbleyoo; curios and curiosity; remnants and residue; testimonials and traces; (Cavendish Avenue, Sunny Heights and Kinfauns); Montagu Square; mock Tudor: Brown House: *KENWOOD*.

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Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Kenwood: in Wonderland.

Jonathan Miller's Alice in Wonderland was broadcast by the BBC on December 28th, 1966. It's a safe bet that John was watching, given his love of the source material, and a cast filled with people he knew, such as Peter Cook, Leo McKern and Wilfred Brambell (not to mention the score by Ravi Shankar).
His opinion of it, however, I know not.

The film emphasises the absurd, chimerical qualities of Lewis Carroll's narrative, and presents a disturbed child's eye view of bewildering "adult" mores.

Alice wanders around in a literal dream, questioning both her own identity, and the house of cards qualities evident in the society she encounters. John, as ye must know, was at the height of his acid gobbling phase around this period, and the enervated, dark, funny if disturbing imagery must have struck a note in him.

It's perhaps of interest that Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds was written soon after. Also possibly noteworthy that John spent a great deal of money in 1964 and early '65 paying for Ken Partridge's interior design at Kenwood, only to rip most of it out at some later point, for some later reason.

Not that I'm suggesting anything, like.


  1. I, too, have considered the influence of that show on Lucy's lyric. Almost everything John wrote for Pepper was taken from media sources; Good Morning from a corn flakes ad, Kite from a poster, Day In the Life from a scanning of the newspaper. The Alice broadcast would be perfectly in keeping.

  2. In the US you can buy it very cheaply, with a lot of "tasty" extras. In the UK, the only way is via an expensive BFI edition, which can be found on Amazon. I happened upon a badly scratched (and therefore cheap) one in a shop.
    There is further room for speculation here, relating to Victorian uniforms, and the uncredited appearance of Dirk McQuickly at one point. I shit ye not. (It may be pricey in Blighty, but still worth getting - it's a fine piece of work.)

  3. I heard Lennon had one of the first domestic video recorders in the UK- which he could well have taped this programme on. Wonder where that machine is now?

  4. I shouldn't have read this post. Now I have supported Amazon again... While in the Alice mood, I also ordered the one with Ringo as the mock-turtle.