There Goes Bill!

Is Alice in Wonderland a capitalist critique? Check out our original song and music video and see for yourself.

Alice, no happier than the White Rabbit when he discovers her usurping his house

I’ve been reading Lewis Carroll’s work since I was a kid and remain delighted by the peculiar combination of rhyme, rhythm, logical nonsense and linguistic legerdemain in the Alice books and The Hunting of the Snark — so much so that I’ve collected Carroll in early editions, translations, parodies and more.

So you can imagine I was surprised and pleased when an optional exercise at the Society of Composers & Lyricists involved pairing up lyricists (such as me) and composer/musicians, with the assignment to write an original song in three weeks based on — yes— a selection from Alice in Wonderland.

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My collaborator — Jeff Schiller, a New York based composer/sax player — and I were assigned a portion of Chapter 4, in which the White Rabbit angrily issues orders to Alice and a collection of small animals that appear to be his servants, including a hapless lizard named Bill, who gets the worst of it.

Although I know the book almost by heart, I had never contemplated the classism of this peremptory white rabbit privilege. But that’s the angle that emerged in our brassy song, which Jeff (with some involvement from me and some singers) then turned into a fun music video. Is Carroll's masterpiece a capitalist critique? Judge for yourself ...