Friday 12 March 2010

ipods and Johnny Depp

I spent yesterday afternoon putting CDs on to the laptop to load them on to my *new* ipod. I think I may be a convert. I have, up to now, not really seen the appeal; all these people walking along, oblivious to what is around them, plugged in to their MP3 machines. But today I really enjoyed having this little purple pod in my pocket, being able to have music as I delivered. This is my entire music collection, about 15 CDs, so plenty of room for all the other fun stuff that the ipod can do, like taking videos and recording voice notes.

Anyway, we went to see Alice in Wonderland on Tuesday and I was not that impressed. Some idiot (the screenwriter) took Lewis Carroll's poem Jabberwocky and turned it into the plot for a film. It was a very flimsy plot, and Johnny was the saving grace of the film (not that we're prejudiced in our house). The girls both hated Anne Hathaway but loved Helena Bonham Carter. The writer had plainly either not read the poem or not even tried to understand it. In a way it is the perfect poem, because you create the meaning for it inside your own head. It has an obvious story line, wonderful rhythm and rhyme, and even though so much of the vocabulary is invented it flows off the tongue beautifully when you read aloud. It is interesting to find that some of the words Carroll created for this poem are now in the dictionary and in common usage. I always thought 'galumphing' was a real word, use it all the time. But in the film the references to 'vorpal sword' and 'frabjous day' becomes 'Vorpal Sword' and 'Frabjous Day' (with capital letters), a thing and a day both with a purpose, not the mere adjectives that they are in the poem. It just all irritated me, sorry. Was all very pretty so go anyway if you like that kind of thing. Here's the poem, which is much better than the film.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought --
So rested he by the Tumtum tree.
And stood awhile in thought.

And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came wiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"
He chortled in his joy.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.


  1. Sorry you didn't enjoy the film - I liked the spectacle of it all if nothing else and tried not to think of it too much in literary terms. I agree about Hathaway and Carter certainly. Very Tim Burton anyway, quite similar to his other films.

  2. Well, I was going to make some comment about you being such a 21st Century girl, with your Ipod and all....and then you go and quote a Victorian nonsense poem. So that's all right then. :-)


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