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REDRUM ROAD – ROUND ONE – SKIP TO A PAGE
COME TOGETHER ⎔ SOMETHING ⎔ MAXWELL’S SILVER HAMMER ⎔ OH! DARLING ⎔ OCTOPUS’S GARDEN ⎔ I WANT YOU ⎔ HERE COMES THE SUN ⎔ BECAUSE ⎔ YOU NEVER GIVE ME YOUR MONEY ⎔ SUN KING ⎔ MEAN MR. MUSTARD ⎔ POLYTHENE PAM ⎔ SHE CAME IN THROUGH THE BATHROOM WINDOW ⎔ GOLDEN SLUMBERS ⎔ CARRY THAT WEIGHT ⎔ THE END
ROUND TWO START ⎔ ROUND THREE START ⎔ SPECIAL: STORY ROOM
- “Under the sea” – when we hear this, mirror world goes to a shot of Hallorann entering the Overlook, which is very blue. Wendy’s face and the living room/kitchen becomes rather blue as a result. The next time we hear this phrase, the same thing happens. We get a big shot of the Overlook that turns Wendy’s face blue.
- Also, this song is the last of two songs Ringo ever wrote for the band, and it’s about wanting to be out of the Beatles (he wrote it aboard Peter Sellers’ yacht, though, tragically, it doesn’t play overtop the Peter Sellers reference at the middle of The Shining — then again, the Torrance apartment is full of LPs very similar in look and style to the stack in Hallorann’s Miami apartment, and there are other things that unite the two rooms…), and away from the tumult of the band’s dynamic. Wendy correlates to Ringo in the Abbey Road walk, so it makes sense that it would play for her. Also, Wendy, on some level wishes she could get away from Jack, and she’s about to reveal this.
- Small thing, and probably coincidental in both regards, but Yoko in Japanese means “Ocean Child”, so it’s interesting that Hallorann (corresponding to Yoko Ono) appears in the 1st and 3rd round of this oceanic song (while missing inclusion in the 2nd round by about 5 seconds).
- “I’d ask my friends to come and see” – The idea of “seeing” or “witnessing” appears on Abbey Road a lot, and here it almost feels like an indication of Ringo’s buried desire. He wants to show his legions of fans the pain he felt being part of something they all loved so much, but he couldn’t do so (even though he’d secretly(?) left the band a few years before, just like Wendy almost left Jack), so he wrote a song asking them to “come and see” where he’d rather be, basically. Also, on “come and see” we get our first shot in mirror world of mirror Wendy in the bathroom, about to break free. This plays over the doctor reassuring her about Danny, and her about to tell the truth about Jack. So, in the sense that Wendy has friends, the narrative is showing them/us the violence she’s suffered at Jack’s hands twice in different ways.
- “We would be warm, below the storm” – On “below the storm” we see Jack stalk the kitchen, right below the copy of Caesar’s biography above the doctor. This book will soon mirror over the room in which we see the complete works of Shakespeare, in Russian. The Shining novel heavily invokes Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death, in which Prince Prospero locks himself away in his castle with the rest of his upper class buddies to have a masque while the peoples of the land die of the “red death”. This short story was, in turn, perhaps inspired by Shakespeare’s The Tempest, as evidenced by the fact that their main character has the same name (Prospero), and that both stories invoke a masque and a terrible storm. Ringo’s final opus here is making a similar metaphor out of the Beatles. Coincidence? Perhaps. (John Lennon said of his scream in the following track that it was representative of drowning in the flood of Yoko’s love) But a good overlay, nonetheless.
- Oh, also, masques are about transformation, right? People become birds and wolves and bears, and behave more like animals, surrendering some element of their human civility for a night. Well, in this song, Ringo is dreaming of literally becoming an octopus. He got the idea when he was brought the wrong dinner on the yacht (which was squid instead of his desired fish and chips), and as a result Ringo learned about how octopuses make something like gardens at the bottom of the sea. And he liked that idea so much, he thought it should be a song. And in so doing, he channelled something about how much he hated being in the Beatles. Now, what’s extra crazy coincidental about that is that the yacht was in the Mediterranean, which is exactly what the Pillars of Hercules are the mouth of. I mean… you can’t make this stuff up! The octopuses that inspired Ringo were down below making gardens maybe out of the bones of ancient humans killed my climate change.
- “Resting our head, on the sea bed” – Jack passes the storeroom, where Grady let him out from. When Grady woke him, he was sleeping on bags of Holly brand Salt. Sea salt?
- There’s also the infamous Willapoint minced clams in there.
- “In an octopus’s garden, near a cave” – Mirror Danny is about to climb in/out of the hidey hole in the pantry, that doesn’t close completely.
- “We would sing and dance around/because we know/we can’t be found” – Mirror Danny starts into a backward jog at this point that looks a bit like dancing. Again, you have the idea of a masque, there.
- Generally, this idea of the bottom of the deep, dark sea is a bit like a subconsciousness metaphor. Ringo can’t express his true feelings, and neither can Wendy, here. It seems patently obvious to the doctor, and us, what trouble she’s in. But does she realize?
- There’s an interlude of gurgly fish noises, and these all play over Hallorann’s arrival, which is that deep blue again. During this passage, Wendy gets to talk about being from Vermont, which makes her smile. At the end of this section, Wendy is forced into talking about Danny’s trauma, and the lyrics come back.
- “Oh what joy/for every girl and boy/knowing that they’re happy and they’re safe” – Wendy starts to reveal the truth about Jack’s abuse of Danny to the doctor. Also, Wendy’s dress and depiction in this scene gives her a very little girl vibe.
- In the mirrorform, we’re seeing the arrival of Hallorann through his own windshield. Wendy and Danny are happy and safe now!
- “No one there to tell us what to do” – This just strikes me as a very Boomer-era concept: the joy of being boundlessly free from the pressures of authority. But again, there’s that masque/anti-masque theme at play, there.
- This line is also fairly reflective of The Shining‘s major conceit, of a family left alone in the wilderness with no authority figure to instruct them on how to conduct themselves, and how quickly things devolve as a result of this vanished social superstructure.
- Right before the end of Dick Starkey’s (Ringo Starr’s) song, Wendy gives her last beat upon Jack, the knife slash that repels him, before Dick Hallorann shows up.
- “In an octopus’s garden, with you” – On “you” backward Jack is just finishing “Here’s Johnny”. While most of the song speaks from the perspective of “we” and “us”, here, at the very end, it turns to a personal song of affection for the other. So it’s kind of amazing that right here is where Jack is talking directly to Wendy. In fact, this is the last thing he says to her before freezing to death.
- The last line of the song repeats a few times, and it’s during this passage that the art inside the Suite 3 bedroom gives forward Wendy a giant black eye. This is while she’s detailing Jack’s drunken violence. Her cigarette makes a kind of middle finger here, and it’s jamming into backward Jack’s skull. It’s almost like Wendy’s saying, “You’re going to be an abusive asshole? Fine, well, I’m gonna kill myself with cigarettes, and then who’ll take you in? Nobody.” Self-destruction as a way to keep from confronting the possibility of life after trauma. I don’t know if that makes your heart hurt, but it makes mine moan in agony. Thinking of all the people who’ve elected that path over the centuries. Reminds me of Noam Chomsky saying if you’d told his mom she was oppressed, she wouldn’t’ve known what you were talking about.
Click here to continue on to Redrum Road: I Want You (She’s So Heavy) – Round 1
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OTHER MAIN PAGES FOR SHINING ANALYSIS
THE MIRRORFORM ⎔ THE BEATLES ⎔ THE RUM AND THE RED
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PHI GRIDS ⎔ PATTERNS ⎔ VIOLENCE AND INDIGENA ⎔ ABSURDITIES
THE STORY ROOM ⎔ ANIMAL SYMBOLS ⎔ THE ANNOTATED SHINING