A Spaniard in the Works has ratings and 59 reviews. Chris said: Being a dyed-in-the-wool original Beatlemaniac (saw them twice in Houston on my 13t. A Spaniard in the Works. by John Lennon. A Terrific opportunity to grab a signed copy of this Edition of John Lennon. Published by Jonathan Cape London. The contents of John Lennon’s second book, A Spaniard In The Works.

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W hat, I wonder, was the initial reaction of the countless thousands of young Beatlemaniacs when they read the literary fruits of their idol’s mind? Or there’s Eric Hearble, who loses his job teaching “spastics” to dance because of “an abnorman fat growth a bombly on his head” “We’re not having a cripple teaching our lads” ; or this Sherlock Holmes pastiche: I grew up with these books, as they had been lying around the house from the time of their publications, and Luckily their warped, occasionally sick humour, and what would now be racism and sexism beyond the pale, did not scar me for life, but there were occasions when I wondered whether they would.

No one seemed to mind at the time, in those innocent days when Lennon could do no wrong. If anyone got upset or asked for their money back I haven’t heard of it. And as he later did with “Revolution 9” a few years later, Lennon capitalised on the world’s fascination with almost everything the group did to smuggle a work of subversive originality into the mainstream. But there’s no gainsaying the almost instinctive verbal dexterity of the book, enough, even at the time, to impress the TLS.


And this in an age when the idea that pop stars were illiterate oiks was still very much entrenched.

In fact, you could say that Lennon’s crazed neologisms and language-mangling were, along with the almost insulting brevity of most of the pieces, deliberate engagements with such an idea — much as the lyrics of “I am the Walrus” were inspired, in part, by scorn at the news that his songs were being studied in class at his old school. His English teachers there had considered him talentless — “a rejection which left deep scars,” as Ian MacDonald put it in Revolution in the Head.

A Spaniard in the Works – Wikipedia

These books remain not only the best books ever written by a pop star — they remain the only ones needed, really. The unsavoury elements, bespeaking as they do a consciousness far more troubled than the casual Beatle observer might have suspected, are crucial to their piquancy.


And the wordplay is still funny. It is a testament not just to our cultural heritage that we can still get the references in his remarks spanirad the TV programme Panorasthma “Do you prepare Rinkled Dinglebone or Tichie Bimplebean? His list of the Famous Five by Enig Blyter still makes me laugh: As Jon Savage says in his foreword, “These jottings stick like splinters in the mind,” and phrases such as “it must be now or neville”, thw Grimmble, Randoob”, “crumb” as opposed to “crumbs” and “Last Will and Testicle” became, as far as I was concerned, ineradicably fixed to the point where they came more naturally than the proper English phrases they replaced.

The drawings, too, are slapdash in just the right way, and are as inseparable from the text as Tenniel’s are from Carroll’s. Topics John Lennon Nicholas Lezard’s choice.

The Beatles Music books Paperbacks reviews.

A Spaniard In the Works

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