Regardless of John Lennon's statement, "Let the fuckers work that one out."

  • Full Title: "I am the walrus" "No you're not," said Little Nicola. (as we all know, the walrus was Paul). Just a mindfuck, I figure.
  • self-references (John did this a lot, you'll notice): mentions "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds;" question whether the "pigs" are a reference to George's "Piggies," which would come out on 1968's The Beatles (The White Album). More self-referencing can be found on "Glass Onion" and "All You Need is Love"
  • Walrus: referencing "The Walrus and the Carpenter" by Lewis Carroll, from Through the Looking Glass. John was a huge Lewis Carroll fan; the lyrics of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" are also said to be inspired by Alice in Wonderland. Somewhere, I read that Lennon thought of the Carpenter as Christ--but what does that make the Walrus? The devil?
  • Goo Goo Gajoob: (most likely mistakenly?) connected to a line from Finnegans Wake (FW 557.7: "goo goo goosth") Lennon had read the Wake at the time, and certainly this song seems influenced by the style of the book.
  • yellow matter custard: from a song John used to sing as a kid: "Yellow matter custard, green slop pie, All mixed together with a dead dog's eye, Slap it on a butty, ten foot thick, Then wash it all down with a cup of cold sick."
  • piggies: cops. Lennon, of course, was very anti-authority during this period.
  • semolina: bad pudding fed to kids
  • pilchard: sardines fed to cats
  • More weird Joycean stuff:

    As has been noted HCE is both the Eggman AND the Walrus, both "Haroun Childeric Eggeberth" 4.32 and someone whom "They Hailed ... Cheeringly, their Encient, the murrainer, and wallruse ..." 324.08. But as FW 179 attests the connection is more immediate than a mere theory of influence would suggest. As HCE confronts his maleficent doppelganger at the top of that page, "he got the charm of his optical life when he found himself (hic sunt lennones!) at pointblank range blinking down the barrel of an irregular revolver." 179.02.


    Creepy, no? Lennon called Joyce "a brother"--both of Irish extraction, writing "nonsense" in the turbulent modern times, both pacifists...

  • King Lear: This is the segment from King Lear which can be heard drifting in and out of the latter half of the song--

    Now let thy friendly hand
    Put strength enough to't.

    EDGAR interposes

    Wherefore, bold peasant,
    Darest thou support a publish'd traitor? Hence;
    Lest that the infection of his fortune take
    Like hold on thee. Let go his arm.

    Ch'ill not let go, zir, without vurther 'casion.

    Let go, slave, or thou diest!

    Good gentleman, go your gait, and let poor volk
    pass. An chud ha' bin zwaggered out of my life,
    'twould not ha' bin zo long as 'tis by a vortnight.
    Nay, come not near th' old man; keep out, che vor
    ye, or ise try whether your costard or my ballow be
    the harder: ch'ill be plain with you.

    Out, dunghill!

    EDGAR: your foins.

    They fight, and EDGAR knocks him down

    OSWALD: Slave, thou hast slain me: villain, take my purse:
    If ever thou wilt thrive, bury my body;
    And give the letters which thou find'st about me
    To Edmund earl of Gloucester; seek him out
    Upon the British party: O, untimely death!


    I know thee well: a serviceable villain;
    As duteous to the vices of thy mistress
    As badness would desire.

    What, is he dead?

    Sit you down, father; rest you
    Let's see these pockets: the letters that he speaks of
    May be my friends. He's dead; I am only sorry
    He had no other death's-man

    I went to see King Lear this weekend, and when we got to this part, all I could think of was this.

  • And the rest is drug-induced nonsense--which is fine with me.

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