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Reminiscing (Egging 'em on)

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OKLAHOMA CITY – A Dust Devil Dreams post I wrote back on March 29, 2014 – “Back to the egg” – came back into my life quite synchromystically today as I pondered last night’s dream and some news stories I happened upon in the normal course of the day.

I was looking for information on old stories I may have written on military tensions in the South China Sea and this post popped up. What is weird is that the dream then mirrored a lot of what I dreamt about last night, in that the Philippines (Scarborough Shoal, as I mention in my new “Around the World” article here) was mentioned in the dream. As was an obese baby I saved from a fountain. Yeah ...

Curiously, this particular dream featured a soundtrack by Australia’s MOR rock band the Little River Band and the song “Lonesome Loser,” which was a hit for the group in 1979 and the first track on their album First Under the Wire.

And nom I have not seen the Will Ferrell/Mark Wahlberg film The Other Guys, where Little River Band plays a role ("I've always got Little River Band loaded up in here, I've got six discs in here") ... watch here.

What is interesting about that particular song is that it brings us back to that odd year of 1979, the year I turned seven and the year that Paul McCartney and Wings released their swan song – Back to the Egg.

The 1979 Paul McCartney & Wings album Back to the Egg.

As The Quietus noted in a 2009 overview of McCartney’s work, Back to the Egg is “as weak as its stupid title, full of charmless musical gibberish.”

But a standout song, notes the writer, is “Old Siam, Sir.” Of course this is more or less Macca (or “Faul,” depending on your position on the whole “Paul is Dead” controversy) commenting on the experience of Asian immigrants in England, as The Beachwood Reporter’s Don Jacobson wrote back in 2008.

Note the lyrics:

In a village in Old Siam, sir, 
There's a lady who's lost her way
In an effort to find a man, sir, 
She found herself in the old UK.

She waited 'round in Walthamstowe
She skated 'round in Scarborough
She waited 'round in Walthamstowe 
She skated 'round in Scarborough

In a village in old East End, sir,
She met fellow who made her real. 
Took her rushes to show, this man, sir, 
He met her dad at the wedding meal.

And there is that name – Scarborough. It is defined as being English but coming from Old Norse and meaning “fortified town.” Just like the name of the controversial "shoal" that Patrick J. Buchanan wrote about today in a piece at Antiwar.com headlined "Is Scarborough Shoal worth a war?" Siam is modern-day Thailand. But it could incorporate other parts of Southeast Asia, including Cambodia and Vietnam. Recall that in December 1979, McCartney appeared on the Concerts for the People of Kampuchea (Kampuchea is Cambodia - Southeast Asia again!) alogn with other artists including The Who, Queen, The Pretenders, The Clash, The Specials and Elvis Costello & The Attractions, among others. As punk and New Wave was taking hold on the eve of the 1980's, Macca was trying to remain relevant ... 

All that said, "the walrus was Paul," right?

... HAD A GREAT FALL ... 

Yes, the same as the title of that two-year old Dust Devil Dreams post, where I come out of a dream where I am singing a song (that doesn’t exist, as far as I know) called “Back to the Egg.”

There was even a part involving bunny rabbits (this was around Easter) where I audibly hear a voice say: “If I hear any more about bunnies (blue bunnies, different kinds of bunnies) I’ll scream.

It was an odd dream all around, not unlike the one I had last night where at one point I am riding in a bus (that bus theme comes up a lot) that is driving (more like careening) along a narrow, mountain road.

As I wrote back in 2014: “And then the winding, mountain road. And driving over the edge, only to be saved at the last moment.”

What is interesting about this is that our bus didn’t go over the edge. In fact, instead of being fearful, I decided to embrace the “wild ride” and have fun. If death came, so be it. I was conquering this fear of falling off the cliff, it would seem.

As we drive along, my companion and I are discussing leaving Oklahoma City for a “move to Phoenix.” Now, this could be interpreted as the city in Arizona that also doubles as its state capital, or it could be something else.

In the “Back to the egg” piece I also note that a blogger at The Atlantean Conspiracy writes about “The Easter Bunny and The Phoenix.” It’s an interesting post, noting the pagan roots of Easter, while also noting how the Egyptian mythological figure Isis (hmm!) “is fleeing from an enemy while in the form of a phoenix when she changes into a hare to escape down a rabbit hole.

And Alice begins her adventure in wonderland …

The blogger, referencing James Arthur’s Mushrooms and Mankind, connects the phoenix with the mushroom and, of course, rebirth …

The Phoenix: From the ashes (spores) the egg appears. Then comes the upturned cap resembling a gold and red colored bird (the gills as feathers). Then the heat (sun) burns the mushroom and it dissolves, once again leaving only ashes (spores), and finally repeating the whole cycle … The Phoenix-bird mythology is another piece of mushroom folklore. As the fetus is generated in the furnace of the uterus, so the mushroom, that ‘evil ferment of the soil’, as Nicander (second century BC) calls it, is created, a womb within a womb, as it were. Like the fabulous Phoenix, the mushroom is self-generated and regenerated, bursting forth from the vulva, only to die as quickly and then apparently miraculously to reappear, a resurrection of its own self.”

But wait … what about Paul McCartney. It was his band Wings that recorded Back to the Egg, which was released within weeks of the release of Little River Band’s album which featured “Lonesome Loser.”

Noting the "rabbit hole" and the Alice in Wonderland overtones, I note some of the lyrics to "Lonesome Loser."

"Have you heard about the lonesome loser
Beaten by the queen of hearts every time
Have you heard about the lonesome loser
He's a loser, but he still keeps on tryin'"

That foul-tempered monarch, The Queen of Hearts, from Alice in Wonderland, the Queen of Hearts, was fond of exclaiming "Off with their heads!"

Another line in the Little River Band song features the line: "Unlucky in love, least that's what they say / He lost his head and he gambled his heart away"

MACCA BACK-A ...

The "Cute Beatle" is definitely in the collective unconscious ... because today there are numerous stories about McCartney out there ("He blew his mind out in a car") because he is in the middle of a build-up to the June 10th release of PURE McCartney, a six-part, virtual reality docmentary series in addition to opening up about being "depressed" after The Beatles split up in 1970, admiring Kanye West, and, most interestingly, admitting that Wings (which was formed on recommendation of his late wife Linda) weren't so great, saying, "We were terrible.  We weren't a good group."

I should note that one of the better members of Wings was Denny Laine. He was the singer and guitarist for The Moody Blues when they recorded "Go Now" in late 1964. Laine left Wings after McCartney was reluctant to tour in the wake of John Lennon's assassination, oddly enough. A book could probably written on that, eh?

And then there's McCartney's bad relationship with former Beatles manager and music industry crook Allen Klein.

Talking about Allen Klein, the vicious manager of The Beatles in the band’s final days, the BBC article notes: “(Klein) further angered Sir Paul by hiring Phil Spector to overdub a choir, orchestra and additional drums on Let It Be …”

What was eerie, is that I quite coincidentally had cued up Eddie Money’s 1986 album Can’t Hold Back here in the office as I researched this Spector angle. I also mention Eddie Money in that it was about 12 years ago, while working as a reporter in Louisiana, I had the opportunity to play a round of golf with Eddie Money, who was playing a concert that night at a Native American casino in the town of Marksville.

The first track on the album, “Take Me Home Tonight,” was playing and just as I read the words “Phil Spector” in the BBC article, Ronnie Spector, a member of The Ronettes and Phil Spector’s wife from 1968 to 1974, sang her line in the song – “Be my little baby,” taken from her girl group’s big hit “Be My Baby” from 1963. That song was produced and co-written by Phil Spector, who is currently serving 19 years to life in a California prison, having been found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of actress Lana Clarkson.  

Curious. And the obese baby in the fountain. Curiouser and curiouser.

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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