Alice in Wonderland: Alice’s Evidence
New Songs And Art Inspired By Chapter 12

For the 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland… Featuring new tracks by Iris Lune (New York, NY), Two Sheds (Los Angeles), Courtney Swain (Providence, RI), and G Squared (Brooklyn) and poster art by Ariel Wang  ()  ()  ()
 (Poster by Ariel Wang)
Image: Ariel Wang

As part of our new Song Muse series, which explores how musicians transform inspiration, and to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland, we asked bands and artists to create new work inspired by each chapter of the book. From July into October we’ve posted a new chapter every week along with the songs and artwork inspired by it.

Today we end our journey through the book on Chapter 12 with tracks by Iris Lune (New York, NY), Two Sheds (Los Angeles), Courtney Swain (Providence, RI), and G Squared (Brooklyn) and poster art by Ariel Wang all inspired by the chapter. After you’ve listened to the tracks and read the chapter, explore lyrics and notes from some of the bands about their creative processes, and then check out more of their music and Ariel’s poster art.

Navigate to Other Chapters
Chapter 1: Down the Rabbit Hole
Featuring The Foreign Resort (Denmark), Soft Pyramids (Boston), Max Pain and the Groovies (Salt Lake City), and Meredith Sheldon (Western MA) and poster art by Roy G. Biv

Chapter 2: The Pool of Tears
Featuring The Odawas (San Francisco), Assateague (San Francisco), and The New Highway Hymnal (Northshore, MA) and poster art by Eilidh Reid

Chapter 3: A Caucus-race and a Long Tale
Featuring Crushed Out (Brooklyn), Boom Said Thunder (Brooklyn), and Maus Haus (San Francisco), with poster art by John Magnifico

Chapter 4: The Rabbit Sends in a Little Bill
Featuring Something Sneaky (South Shore, MA), The Brankas (San Francisco), Underwater Bear Ballet (Boston), and Bridges (San Francisco) with poster art by Ariel Wang

Chapter 5: Advice from a Caterpillar
Featuring Nights (Cleveland) and Tashaki Miyaki (LA) and poster art by Greg Maxwell

Chapter 6: Pig and Pepper
Featuring Li Xi (San Francisco), The Shills (Boston), and The Symptoms (Boston) and poster art by Adam McElreath

Chapter 7: A Mad Tea-party
Featuring Aloud (Boston), Sexy Girls (Amherst, MA), and Hands and Knees (Boston) and poster art by Nicole Anguish

Chapter 8: The Queen's Croquet-Ground
Featuring Magic Shoppe (Boston), Mosaics (San Francisco), Miss Geo (Boston), and Future Twin (San Francisco) and poster art by Aaron Spransy / CanaryCoalmine

Chapter 9: The Mock Turtle’s Story
Featuring Hi Lo Ha (San Francisco), Young Tongue (Austin), and Wind Burial (Seattle) and poster art by Eilidh Reed

Chapter 10: The Lobster Quadrille
Featuring Undisco Kidd (Italy) and Jaggery (Boston) and poster art by Serpentes Designs.

Chapter 11: Who Stole the Tarts?
Featuring NRVS LVRS (San Francisco) and The Bikes (Arlington, MA) and poster art by Coco Roy.

Chapter 12: Alice's Evidence
Featuring Iris Lune (New York, NY), Two Sheds (Los Angeles), Courtney Swain (Providence, RI), and G Squared (Brooklyn) and poster art by Ariel Wang.

Listen to the songs inspired by Chapter 12
Expand to Read Chapter 12: Alice’s Evidence

Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland

by Lewis Carroll

Chapter 12: Alice’s Evidence

Here!" cried Alice, quite forgetting in the flurry of the moment how large she had grown in the last few minutes, and she jumped up in such a hurry that she tipped over the jury-box with the edge of her skirt, upsetting all the jurymen on to the heads of the crowd below, and there they lay sprawling about, reminding her very much of a globe of gold-fish she had accidentally upset the week before.

"Oh, I  beg  your pardon!" she exclaimed in a tone of great dismay, and began picking them up again as quickly as she could, for the accident of the gold-fish kept running in her head, and she had a vague sort of idea that they must be collected at once and put back into the jury-box, or they would die.

"The trial cannot proceed," said the King in a very grave voice, "until all the jurymen are back in their proper places—all," he repeated with great emphasis, looking hard at Alice as he said so.

Alice looked at the jury-box, and saw that, in her haste, she had put the Lizard in head downwards, and the poor little thing was waving its tail about in a melancholy way, being quite unable to move. She soon got it out again, and put it right; "not that it signifies much," she said to herself; "I should think it would bequite  as much use in the trial one way up as the other."

As soon as the jury had a little recovered from the shock of being upset, and their slates and pencils had been found and handed back to them, they set to work very diligently to write out a history of the accident, all except the Lizard, who seemed too much overcome to do anything but sit with its mouth open, gazing up into the roof of the court.

"What do you know about this business?" the King said to Alice.

"Nothing," said Alice.

"Nothing  whatever?" persisted the King.

"Nothing whatever," said Alice.

"That’s very important," the King said, turning to the jury. They were just beginning to write this down on their slates, when the White Rabbit interrupted: "Unimportant, your Majesty means, of course," he said in a very respectful tone, but frowning and making faces at him as he spoke.

"Unimportant, of course, I meant," the King hastily said, and went on himself in an undertone, "important—unimportant—unimportant—important——" as if he were trying which word sounded best.

Some of the jury wrote it down "important," and some "unimportant." Alice could see this, as she was near enough to look over their slates; "but it doesn’t matter a bit," she thought to herself.

At this moment the King, who had been for some time busily writing in his note-book, called out "Silence!" and read out from his book, "Rule Forty-two.  All persons more than a mile high to leave the court."

Everybody looked at Alice.

"I’m  not a mile high," said Alice.

"You are," said the King.

"Nearly two miles high," added the Queen.

"Well, I sha’n’t go, at any rate," said Alice: "besides, that’s not a regular rule: you invented it just now."

"It’s the oldest rule in the book," said the King.

"Then it ought to be Number One," said Alice.

The King turned pale, and shut his note-book hastily. "Consider your verdict," he said to the jury, in a low trembling voice.

"There’s more evidence to come yet, please your Majesty," said the White Rabbit, jumping up in a great hurry: "this paper has just been picked up."

"  in it?" said the Queen.

"I haven’t opened it yet," said the White Rabbit, "but it seems to be a letter, written by the prisoner to—to somebody."

"It must have been that," said the King, "unless it was written to nobody, which isn’t usual, you know."

"Who is it directed to?" said one of the jurymen.

"It isn’t directed at all," said the White Rabbit; "in fact, there’s nothing written on the  outside." He unfolded the paper as he spoke, and added "It isn’t a letter after all: it’s a set of verses."

"Are they in the prisoner’s handwriting?" asked another of the jurymen.

"No, they’re not," said the White Rabbit, "and that’s the queerest thing about it." (The jury all looked puzzled.)

"He must have imitated somebody else’s hand," said the King. (The jury all brightened up again.)

"Please your Majesty," said the Knave, "I didn’t write it, and they can’t prove that I did: there’s no name signed at the end."

"If you didn’t sign it," said the King, "that only makes the matter worse. You  must  have meant some mischief, or else you’d have signed your name like an honest man."

There was a general clapping of hands at this: it was the first really clever thing the King had said that day.

"That  proves  his guilt, of course," said the Queen: "so, off with——"

"It doesn’t prove anything of the sort!" said Alice. "Why, you don’t even know what they’re about!"

"Read them," said the King.

The White Rabbit put on his spectacles. "Where shall I begin, please your Majesty?" he asked.

"Begin at the beginning," the King said gravely, "and go on till you come to the end; then stop."

There was dead silence in the court, whilst the White Rabbit read out these verses:—

"They told me you had been to her,
And mentioned me to him:
She gave me a good character,
But said I could not swim.

He sent them word I had not gone,
(We know it to be true):
If she should push the matter on,
What would become of you?

I gave her one, they gave him two,
You gave us three or more;
They all returned from him to you,
Though they were mine before.

If I or she should chance to be
Involved in this affair,
He trusts to you to set them free,
Exactly as we were.

My notion was that you had been
(Before she had this fit)
An obstacle that came between
Him, and ourselves, and it.

Don’t let him know she liked them best,
For this must ever be
A secret, kept from all the rest,
Between yourself and me."

"That’s the most important piece of evidence we’ve heard yet," said the King, rubbing his hands; "so now let the jury——"

"If any of them can explain it," said Alice, (she had grown so large in the last few minutes that she wasn’t a bit afraid of interrupting him,) "I’ll give him sixpence.  I  don’t believe there’s an atom of meaning in it."

The jury all wrote down on their slates, "She  doesn’t believe there’s an atom of meaning in it," but none of them attempted to explain the paper.

"If there’s no meaning in it," said the King, "that saves a world of trouble, you know, as we needn’t try to find any. And yet I don’t know," he went on, spreading out the verses on his knee, and looking at them with one eye; "I seem to see some meaning in them after all. ‘——said I could not swim—’ you can’t swim can you?" he added, turning to the Knave.

The Knave shook his head sadly. "Do I look like it?" he said. (Which he certainly did  not, being made entirely of cardboard.)

"All right, so far," said the King, as he went on muttering over the verses to himself: "’We know it to be true—’ that’s the jury, of course—’If she should push the matter on‘—that must be the Queen—’What would become of you?‘—What, indeed!—’I gave her one, they gave him two—’ why, that must be what he did with the tarts, you know——"
"But it goes on ‘
they all returned from him to you,’" said Alice.

"Why, there they are!" said the King triumphantly, pointing to the tarts on the table. "Nothing can be clearer than  that. Then again—’before she had this fit—’ you never had  fits, my dear, I think?" he said to the Queen.

"Never!" said the Queen furiously, throwing an inkstand at the Lizard as she spoke. (The unfortunate little Bill had left off writing on his slate with one finger, as he found it made no mark; but he now hastily began again, using the ink, that was trickling down his face, as long as it lasted.)

"Then the words don’t  fit  you," said the King, looking round the court with a smile. There was a dead silence.

"It’s a pun!" the King added in an angry tone, and everybody laughed.

"Let the jury consider their verdict," the King said, for about the twentieth time that day.

"No, no!" said the Queen. "Sentence first—verdict afterwards."

"Stuff and nonsense!" said Alice loudly. "The idea of having the sentence first!"

"Hold your tongue!" said the Queen, turning purple.

"I won’t!" said Alice.

"Off with her head!" the Queen shouted at the top of her voice. Nobody moved.

"Who cares for  you?" said Alice (she had grown to her full size by this time). "You’re nothing but a pack of cards!"

At this the whole pack rose up into the air, and came flying down upon her: she gave a little scream, half of fright and half of anger, and tried to beat them off, and found herself lying on the bank, with her head in the lap of her sister, who was gently brushing away some dead leaves that had fluttered down from the trees upon her face.

"Wake up, Alice dear!" said her sister. "Why, what a long sleep you’ve had!"

"Oh, I’ve had such a curious dream!" said Alice, and she told her sister, as well as she could remember them, all these strange Adventures of hers that you have just been reading about; and when she had finished, her sister kissed her, and said "It  was  a curious dream, dear, certainly: but now run in to your tea; it’s getting late." So Alice got up and ran off, thinking while she ran, as well she might, what a wonderful dream it had been.


BUT her sister sat still just as she had left her, leaning her head, watching the setting sun, and thinking of little Alice and all her wonderful Adventures, till she too began dreaming after a fashion, and this was her dream:

First, she dreamed of little Alice herself, and once again the tiny hands were clasped upon her knee, and the bright eager eyes were looking up into hers—she could hear the very tones of her voice, and see that queer little toss of her head to keep back the wandering hair that  would  always get into her eyes—and still as she listened, or seemed to listen, the whole place around her became alive with the strange creatures of her little sister’s dream.

The long grass rustled at her feet as the White Rabbit hurried by—the frightened Mouse splashed his way through the neighbouring pool—she could hear the rattle of the teacups as the March Hare and his friends shared their never-ending meal, and the shrill voice of the Queen ordering off her unfortunate guests to execution—once more the pig-baby was sneezing on the Duchess'[161]  knee, while plates and dishes crashed around it—once more the shriek of the Gryphon, the squeaking of the Lizard’s slate-pencil, and the choking of the suppressed guinea-pigs, filled the air, mixed up with the distant sobs of the miserable Mock Turtle.

So she sat on with closed eyes, and half believed herself in Wonderland, though she knew she had but to open them again, and all would change to dull reality—the grass would be only rustling in the wind, and the pool rippling to the waving of the reeds—the rattling teacups would change to the tinkling sheep-bells, and the Queen’s shrill cries to the voice of the shepherd boy—and the sneeze of the baby, the shriek of the Gryphon, and all the other queer noises, would change (she knew) to the confused clamour of the busy farm-yard—while the lowing of the cattle in the distance would take the place of the Mock Turtle’s heavy sobs.

Lastly, she pictured to herself how this same little sister of hers would, in the after-time, be herself a grown woman; and how she would keep, through all her riper years, the simple and loving heart of her childhood: and how she would gather about her other little children, and make  their  eyes bright and eager with many a strange tale, perhaps even with the dream of Wonderland of long ago: and how she would feel with all their simple sorrows, and find a pleasure in all their simple joys, remembering her own child-life, and the happy summer days.

THE END


The Artists

Iris Lune (press photo)
Iris Lune - Lost in Chatter
(via Soundcloud)
More music and video for Iris Lune
Iris Lune
New York, NY / Boston, MA
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Band Websites

Courtney Swain (Press Photo)
Courtney Swain - Alice's Evidence
(via Soundcloud)
Read the lyrics and explore how the chapter inspired the song

I had never actually read Alice in Wonderland, so I started my process by reading the whole book. When I got to the last chapter, I was really struck by the imagery and powerful nonsensicality of some of the phrases and sentences, so I decided simply to lift the words out of the book and set it to music. I had a track I was messing around with (which was originally called "I must free the Oregano"; oddly nonsencial, too) and I pulled it up and started adding vocal lines to it. I liked the effect of staggering vocal lines, my favorite example being a song called "Hatsukoi Shojo" by a Japanese artist called Shina Ringo (live version of the song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODs_wLUkm1o). So, I decided to incorporate that into the verses. The choruses are a slightly off-cycle round of the same lines, and the ending changes texture as Alice’s sister wakes her up from her ‘dream.’

Lyrics:

I gave her one, they gave him two
He gave us three or more;
They all returned, from him to you
Thought they were mine before.
Don’t let him know she liked them best,
For this must ever be
A secret, kept from all the rest,
Between yourself and me.

I’m a mile high and the lizard’s tale is waving in a melancholy way

My notion was that you had been
(before she had this fit)
An obstacle that came between
Him, and ourselves, and it.

Begin at the beginning, and go on till you come to the end: then stop.

Oh Alice, wake up
What a curious dream

More music and video for Courtney Swain
Courtney Swain
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Two Sheds (Press Photo by Katherine Sheehan)
Image: Katherine Sheehan
Two Sheds - Alice's Evidence
(via Soundcloud)
Two Sheds on how the chapter inspired the song & the lyrics

Caitlin from Two Sheds: The last chapter of Alice in Wonderland deals with Alice’s last moments in Wonderland, attending the trial of the Knave of Hearts, and her waking up to the real world to find it’s all been a dream. During the trial she grows larger, is attacked by the card soldiers and shouts at them that they are nothing but cards. She grows up and wakes to reality.

I wanted part of the song to feel hazy and dreamlike, and for the lyrics to feel like instructions being read – throughout her journey Alice is constantly being told what to do or how to feel about things, and much of it doesn’t make any sense. The story to me is just a euphemism for being a child – wandering through a strange world of adults and trying to assimilate, seeing things in a way that adults aren’t able to see them, recognizing the ridiculousness of it all.

The trial in the last chapter is complete chaos, the jury is confused and the queen is calling for everyone’s head. The only way to understand any of it is to let go of your rational mind. So that’s the idea of the song – if you want to keep your head (to survive), you have to lose your mind instead (let go of logic).

Lyrics:

Move your jaw around
these words are simple sounds
to speak when spoken to
by the mirror in front of you

Grow up but don’t get old
don’t let your tea grow cold
like darkened marble scenes
of cardboard hearted queens

You want to keep your head
so lose your mind instead
in fog of childhood dreams
where nothing’s what it seems

You want to keep your head
so lose your mind instead

More music and video for Two Sheds
Two Sheds
Los Angeles, CA
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Band Websites

G Squared - As We Were
(via Soundcloud)

 (Poster by Ariel Wang)
Image: Ariel Wang
Artwork by Ariel Wang
Ariel’s Websites
Check out a gallery of some of Ariel Wang’s other posters

Navigate to Other Chapters
Chapter 1: Down the Rabbit Hole
Featuring The Foreign Resort (Denmark), Soft Pyramids (Boston), Max Pain and the Groovies (Salt Lake City), and Meredith Sheldon (Western MA) and poster art by Roy G. Biv

Chapter 2: The Pool of Tears
Featuring The Odawas (San Francisco), Assateague (San Francisco), and The New Highway Hymnal (Northshore, MA) and poster art by Eilidh Reid

Chapter 3: A Caucus-race and a Long Tale
Featuring Crushed Out (Brooklyn), Boom Said Thunder (Brooklyn), and Maus Haus (San Francisco), with poster art by John Magnifico

Chapter 4: The Rabbit Sends in a Little Bill
Featuring Something Sneaky (South Shore, MA), The Brankas (San Francisco), Underwater Bear Ballet (Boston), and Bridges (San Francisco) with poster art by Ariel Wang

Chapter 5: Advice from a Caterpillar
Featuring Nights (Cleveland) and Tashaki Miyaki (LA) and poster art by Greg Maxwell

Chapter 6: Pig and Pepper
Featuring Li Xi (San Francisco), The Shills (Boston), and The Symptoms (Boston) and poster art by Adam McElreath

Chapter 7: A Mad Tea-party
Featuring Aloud (Boston), Sexy Girls (Amherst, MA), and Hands and Knees (Boston) and poster art by Nicole Anguish

Chapter 8: The Queen's Croquet-Ground
Featuring Magic Shoppe (Boston), Mosaics (San Francisco), Miss Geo (Boston), and Future Twin (San Francisco) and poster art by Aaron Spransy / CanaryCoalmine

Chapter 9: The Mock Turtle’s Story
Featuring Hi Lo Ha (San Francisco), Young Tongue (Austin), and Wind Burial (Seattle) and poster art by Eilidh Reed

Chapter 10: The Lobster Quadrille
Featuring Undisco Kidd (Italy) and Jaggery (Boston) and poster art by Serpentes Designs.

Chapter 11: Who Stole the Tarts?
Featuring NRVS LVRS (San Francisco) and The Bikes (Arlington, MA) and poster art by Coco Roy.

Chapter 12: Alice's Evidence
Featuring Iris Lune (New York, NY), Two Sheds (Los Angeles), Courtney Swain (Providence, RI), and G Squared (Brooklyn) and poster art by Ariel Wang.