I need your help.
I September 2019 I published a post entitled ‘Making Up For Lost Time: a Soapy Head, a White Rabbit and a Black Hole Paradox’ (You can read it here.) It was a fairly unprepossessing thing – just me postulating, as usual, about something that I did not understand: Time on this occasion. As most of these things do, it started off with a real – if insignificant – incident and, once I’d started to write about it, well, you know how it goes, don’t you; you’ve been on these journeys with me before. I could live with what I had written, or else I wouldn’t have published it. Its reception at the time was more lukewarm than school custard, but with another post to write and publish, I never gave any particular thought as to why. If people like what I have written, that’s gratifying; if they don’t, it’s understandable. I was not nominated for the Booker after all. Its fate, as with most of what I write, was death by neglect – except, for some unfathomable reason, it has not died. It has come to life as some kind of zombie post: tottering, arms outstretched, onto my list of most-read posts almost every week and I have no idea why.
I have re-read it a number of times, to try to glean from it an essence that I can revisit. Nothing. I have checked out the tags: not a single mention of vitamins, keep fit, or diet – nothing that would explain why people keep stumbling across it: because that is what must happen. I have even considered the possibility that some poor soul keeps getting it each time they log onto WordPress – a kind of Groundhog Day blog, which, I am almost certain, would ensure that I, personally, would never try to log on again.
The subject of time has seeped into many of my posts, because I find it so very difficult to understand. Scientists say that it does not exist; that it is a manmade construct. If that is the case, what lies between now and then? What sits between lunch and dinner on a rain-soaked Sunday afternoon (other than Carry on Camping, of course)? What is the pub landlord banging on about when he rings his bell of a Friday evening? How do we get older? Astro-physicists tell us that the Big Bang occurred 13.8 billion years ago – and if that’s not time, then I don’t know what is.
Anyway, White Rabbit was far from my first – and certainly not my last – plunge into the unfathomability of time, which has nagged away at me for several posts (all of which, if time really does not exist, must have been written simultaneously – showing a distinct lack of imagination on my part.) It cropped up most explicitly in Dog Years, which I have also just re-read, and I, for one, remain none-the-wiser.
Whilst Lewis Carroll’s White Rabbit was also obsessed with Time, the quote I used at the end (from White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane) was clearly about drugs. Could that be part of the reason for the on-going interest in this post? Well, no, I don’t think it can. The world is full of drug references. Why would a single, oblique reference in an unknown blog entice new readers in?
I have to confess that it is highly likely that I am missing the one, certain and bleedin’ obvious reason. (Perhaps the title is very similar to a different blog that is worth reading.) Maybe you too have inadvertently stumbled into my White Rabbit post and you could tell me what you were hoping to actually read at the time. I would be so pleased of your help…
On holiday, last year, I was talking with a family member about the plethora of great songs either explicitly about or obliquely referencing drug use. We listed many and I compiled for him a ‘Now That’s What I Call Drug-Refrencing’ CD for Christmas. Here’s the track list. Try it on Alexa – she’ll be thrilled to play it for you:
1. White Rabbit – Jefferson Airplane (Slick)
2. One Way Ticket – The Darkness (J. Hawkins/D. Hawkins/Poullain)
3. Elephant Stone – Stone Roses (Squire/Brown)
4. Bad – U2 (U2)
5. White Light/White Heat – Bowie (Reed)
6. China Girl – Bowie (Bowie/Pop)
7. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds – Beatles (Lennon & McCartney)
8. Happiness Is A Warm Gun – Tori Amos (Lennon & McCartney)
9. Cocaine – Eric Clapton (J. Cale)
10. Medicine Jar – Wings (McCulloch/Allen)
11. Golden Brown – Stranglers (Stranglers)
12. Itchycoo Park – Small Faces (Marriott/Lane)
13. Meet Me On The Corner – Lindisfarne (Clements)
14. Johnny The Fox Meets Jimmy The Weed – Thin Lizzy (Lynott/Gorham/Downey)
15. Purple Haze – Jimi Hendrix (Hendrix)
16. Perfect Day – Lou Reed (Reed)
17. Gold Dust Woman – Fleetwood Mac (Nicks)
18. Morning Glory – Oasis (Gallagher)
19. Dealer – John Martyn (Martyn)
20. Waiting For The Man – Velvet Underground (Reed)
21. Roll Your Own – Jethro Tull (Anderson)
22. F.U.B.B. – Wishbone Ash (Wishbone Ash)
23. Day In The Life – Beatles (Lennon & McCartney)
Some of the versions I’ve included are covers (Bowie’s version of ‘White Light/White Heat’ easily eclipses the V.U. original). I left out ‘Heroin’ by Velvet Underground, because it wasn’t a ‘hit’ record* and, to be honest, as Lou Reed wrote about little else, I could have simply copied his Greatest Hits compilation. Similarly so the mid-period Beatles. Also, I have just realised that I left off ‘Ebeneezer Goode’ by the Shamen – for no other reason than I am probably too old for it.
*Although Lou Reed’s version on ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal’ is as close to a ‘seminal’ recording as I can cast my mind to.
Anyway, there it is. I now predict lots of new readers – or a knock on the door from CID at least…