Tuesday, October 09, 2012


Being that today is John Lennon's birthday, I thought it appropriate to bring up another one of my childhood fears, the Nowhere Man. I can remember the first time I saw Yellow Submarine. It was on after school television when I was living in Terre Haute, Indiana, which would place me somewhere around the age of eight. Right off the bat I have to admit that I am not a fan of the Blue Meanies. They are frightening to a child the same way that the flying monkeys in The Wizard Of Oz are. So I was already a bit on edge when Nowhere Man came into the story.


This Nowhere guy pushed all of my scared buttons. There is the obvious fear there of being completely alone and abandoned. Every child fears that. But this was the first time that I was able to imagine what it would be like to have nobody and nothing. Maybe it was okay for Nowhere Man because he didn't have any idea of what he was missing, but when the Beatles show up and point this out, it was heartbreaking. I couldn't fathom it then and I can't fathom it now - it was horrible and it scared me and I have never seen Yellow Submarine since. I have come across it once or twice on television but have always turned the channel. I don't want to see the Nowhere Man.


A few years ago we did a show with Daniel Johnston about our shared love of The Beatles. We asked Daniel to choose his favorite tunes for the show and one of them happened to be Nowhere Man. I shared with him my hang ups with the song and he gave me some great advice. He told me to think about it as a song about love and not about being lonely. He encouraged me to not think of the bad but to focus on the good, that the Nowhere Man didn't have to be so sad. If Daniel Johnston can think of lyrics that way, I thought I could too. Since then I have listened to the song several times, but I don't think I'd care to see the animated Nowhere Man again. I didn't even watch the video above!

Tomorrow night you are welcome to join us for another Jandek Study Group meeting at 8 p.m.We will be listening to Chair Beside a Window at KMSU in the dark! Join us for conversation and speculation as we find ourselves getting closer and closer to Jandek's live appearance on October 20th in Mankato! Any questions - just click here.

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