J1.09 Do as You Do Darn Well Pleasey

Annotations for Jerusalem by Alan Moore

Book 1 – The Boroughs
Do as You Darn Well Pleasey

Page 248 – titled Do as You Darn Well Pleasey

 

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2 thoughts on “J1.09 Do as You Do Darn Well Pleasey”

  1. DATE = MARCH 1889, “MIDDAY”

    P.O.V. CHARACTER = JOHN “SNOWY” VERNALL

    • 26 years old.

    • His father is Ernest “Ginger” Vernall from Ch2.

    • His wife is Louisa Vernall, who, in this chapter, gives birth to their daughter, May (named after Louisa’s mother), in the gutter at St. James’s Park.

    • His sister, Thursa, is two years younger. Their father, Ernest, would tell Snowy and Thursa about his angel encounter from Ch2 and how it made him understand reality when they would visit him in Bedlam asylum (until he died in July 1882). Ernest did not, however, tell their other siblings, Messenger and Appelina about the encounter, and he instructed Snowy and Thursa to not tell anyone else either.

    OBSERVATIONS AND QUESTIONS:

    • Page 251, par 3: “Cenotaphs would turn out to be less important than the sunny days missed in their making.”

    This reminds me of the John Lennon lyric from “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)”: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

    (Per Wiki, a “cenotaph” is “an empty tomb or a monument erected in honour of a person or group of people whose remains are elsewhere.”)

    • Page 252, par 4, the whole paragraph is a great musical metaphor describing the situation, especially: “Looking down he noticed an impromptu band convened about his wife, providing an accompaniment of soft and sympathetic strings for her, a rumbling kettle drum of disapproval for her husband straddling the roof above them as they cooed and booed the pair in strict rotation.”

    • Page 254, par 2: “’Angles’ were the people of a tribe that had invaded England, giving it its name, after the Romans left.”

    This sentence seems pretty huge regarding the angles/angels theme!

    • Page 259, par 2: Thursa did not embrace Ernest’s worldview as broadly as Snowy had, and instead she focused the madness/insight toward music. “She had trained herself to hear a single voice in the arrangement rather than risk being swallowed up by the fugue of being in which Snowy was consumed.”

    Focusing on a single melody within a piece of music is a way of isolating a handful of PARTS from the overall WHOLE. This same metaphor is conveyed through the lens of visual art, later on page 261, par 2: “As if they and their lives were not the smallest and most abstract brushstroke, a pointillist dab fixed and unmoving in time’s varnish, there eternally on an immeasurable canvas, part of a design too vast for its component marks to ever glimpse or comprehend.”

    Snowy’s ability to recognize himself as a “pigment smear made suddenly aware of its position at the corner of a masterpiece” is both a blessing and a curse, as he realizes that his “fellow squiggles…were not so conscious of their true predicament.”

    • Page 262, par 3: Snowy sees ghosts, or those “unwilling or unready to move on to any further state of being,” such as Mr. Dadd, who Snowy once saw pluck something from the wall and eat it. This is likely the same “Puck’s Hat” fruit-like food that Freddy eats in Ch4.

    • Page 262, par 4: “…Milton who had entered like a current through the sole of Blake’s left foot.” Sole/soul pun?

    • Page 264, par 3 describes Louisa’s mid-birth vagina to be a “torus” (the word Ernest ends up with at the end of Ch2). The next paragraph explains Ernest’s interpretation of “torus”:

    “…the rubber-tyre shape generated by the revolution of a conic disc around the circle drawn on an adjacent plane, or else the volume that would be contained by such a special movement.” Ernest considers “tori” to be “the single most important forms in all the cosmos,” as this is the shape of all planets/life/etc as they rotates around the sun (or solar systems themselves orbiting around super massive black holes), if seen through Snowy’s ability to glimpse the four-dimensional Einsteinian Block Universe.

    • Page 266, par 1: This is a good line, Snowy comparing seeing the birth of his daughter presently, while recalling seeing the death of his father years ago: “This was life seen, for the first time from his own experience, from its other terminus. It was, if anything, an even lovelier and more terrible thing when looked at through this end of its breathtaking telescope.”

    • Page 266, par 3: “She’d die alone upon the outskirts of Northampton in a monstrous house that seemed to be the whole street pressed into one building.”

    This line about May’s eventual death, which Snowy is able to see “over there” from the roof during her birth, kind of conjures the image on the cover of Jerusalem.

    • Page 268, par 2: Snowy does the pigeon flap on the roof, and it notes that his father had described this to him.

    “EINSTEINIAN BLOCK UNIVERSE” MOMENTS:

    There are way too many to mention them all, but here are some good ones.

    • Page 250, par 2: “Snowy’s dad had once explained to him and his young sister Thursa how by altering one’s altitude, one’s level on the upright axis of the seemingly three-planed existence, it was possible to catch a glimpse of the elusive fourth plane, the fourth axis, which was time.”

    • Page 261, par 1: “[Snowy] was entirely without fear, able to scale sheer walls without regard for life or limb, simply because he knew that he was not destined to perish in a fall. His death would come in a long corridor of rooms…. He had no idea yet why this would be so, but only that it would be. Until then, he could take risks without anxiety. He could do anything he pleased.”

    • Page 264, par 2: This whole paragraph is a damn fascinating description of how SOUND would exist in a block universe. I had never thought about that before. Wow!

    THIS LINE MADE ME LAUGH:

    • Page 255, last par: The “good Samaritan” confronts the gang of boys heckling Louisa and “…the boys seemed daunted, looking sidelong at each other as if trying to establish without speaking what gang policy might be in novel situations as this.”

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  2. I’ll put my dramatis personae and index lists here.
    NOTES:
    Page referrers are for 3 volume paperback edition by Knockabout.
    Dramatis personae-characters in brackets are only mentioned but not in scene.

    Dramatis Personae
    • John ›Snowy‹ Vernall: POV, 26, born approx. 1863
    • (Ernest Vernall: Snowys father)
    • Louise: Snowys wife, giving birth to May
    • (Thursa: Snowys sister, 24 years old, born approx. 1865)
    • pregnant woman, pretty, well dressed, taking command
    • several approx. 12 year old boys play-fighting
    • (Appelina: Snowys sister)
    • (Messenger, ›Mess‹: Snowys brother)
    • (Angel in St. Pauls Cathedral)
    • (Anne: Snowys mother)
    • clutch of boys from Lambeth Walk
    • clutch of boys from Elephant & Castle
    • onlooker, helping by asking for towels, hot water ect.
    • baby May
    • (Mr. Dadd, painter: as ghost, see Index)
    • (William Blake, as ghost, see Index)

    Index
    • Atlas, Titan in greek mythology, carrying the world on his shoulders: 244
    • ›Miltonic tabelau‹; John Milton (1608-1674), English poet, author of Paradise Lost: 245
    • Charles Darwin (1809-1882), English naturalist and geologist: 246
    • Eden, garden of God, Genesis, Bible: 246
    • Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) French military genius, political leader, Emperor of France: 246
    • Julius Agricola (40-93), Gallo-Roman general: 247
    • Queen Boadicea (died 60 or 61), Celtic leader of uprising against Roman occupation of English island: 247
    • Pope Saint Gregory I. (540-604): 249
    • ›No Angli, sed Angeli‹, quote Pope Gregory I.: 249
    • Jack the Ripper, unidentified serial killer active mostly around Whitechapel district of London in 1888: 249
    • Captain William Bligh (1754-1817), Officer of British Royal Navy and colonial administrator, best remembered for the mutiny which occured during his command of HMS Bounty in 1789: 251
    • ›both flora-cataloguing Tradescants‹, John Tradescant the elder (1570-1638), English naturalist, gardener, collector and traveller; John Tradescant the Younger (1608-1662), Engish botanist and gardener: 251
    • Richard Dadd (1817-1886), English painter, (1855-64): 256
    • William Blake (1757-1827), English poet, painter, draughtsman and visionary: 256
    • Eve, first woman in Genesis, Bible: 256

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