Okay. Let’s get down this Rabbit Hole…
Luna Keller is a singer/songwriter based in Tenerife. She’s quite possibly something of a child prodigy; writing her first song, a single chord symphony called ‘I can play E minor’ two days after 'borrowing' her dad’s guitar and just one day after learning her first chord - which my friend Sherlock strongly suspects just happened to be E minor. Seriously though, I’ve had another of her songs ‘Burning House’ at the top of my ‘must write about this’ list for absolutely ages now. But, because that particular song was based upon a real-life horrific experience of hers, I had never quite found the sensitive approach that I felt it demanded.
Moving on then - anyone navigating more than a couple of my blog posts will have noticed a penchant for referencing that fine Frank L Baum opus ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’. In fact, now I’ve mentioned it again this has become the fourth occasion of said penching, and frankly, that’s probably a little too much, even for a straw-headed scarecrow such as myself. So here I am, making a super-human effort to finally dispense with that particular literary crutch.
Sadly, I don’t seem completely capable of managing too well without my paperback survival pack, but fortunately with her latest release, Luna Keller has presented an opportunity for me to wax on, instead, about the Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson and his quasi-romantic novel ‘Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland’. On the face of it it’s a classic children’s book, yet also quite possibly it could also be interpreted as the repressed inclinations of some Victorian-era Michael Jackson dude.
Enough of that sort of talk though. Let’s examine instead, the premise that ‘Alice is in Love with The Mad Hatter’. This proposed relationship is actually quite curious. For starters, the Hatter is written up as seemingly middle-aged, whereas Alice appears to us as a naive young girl; a worrying and fairly obvious age-gap there then #metoo… He’s a sort of Victor Meldrew stereotype, detached from reality, and fond of annoying all and sundry. She’s a fragile thing that most likely wouldn’t harm a hair on the head of a butterfly. And of course, Hatter seemed fairly antagonistic towards Alice at the tea party didn’t he? So there’s already an underlying hostility present, which is never the best indicator of an enduring relationship.
However, it gets curiouser and curiouser! Many subsequent Alice-inspired works by other authors/screenwriters do surprisingly indulge in the romantic pairing of these two characters. Why is that? Well, audiences love lovers don’t they, and y’know writers do write for their audiences - even serious songwriters do that! And in a world where lunacy is the norm, who should one fall in love with? Well, The Mad Hatter of course! Perhaps said authors are also writing for a changing audience? In these later adaptions, Alice is generally portrayed as being older, which neatly sidesteps the issue of the age-gap and also allows the authors to feed a modern market’s hunger for sex, drugs, rock ’n’ roll, and all round edginess …
Yet, funnily enough, great songs and intelligent lyrics are hardly ever as simple as they portray themselves. After all, Joni Mitchell wasn’t really singing about a brightly coloured oversized taxi was she? So, that said, what’s this song really about? Perhaps we all have a Mad Hatter inside? That part of us that never grows up, never really matures. Maybe your Mad Hatter likes to dance in the rain, or he really enjoys talking to strangers about the weather. Perhaps he sings loudly in the shower, gets lost in a big city, eats all your chocolate and draws little flowers in your notebook.
Everyone’s Mad Hatter is unique. Some call him the inner child. Some might hide him from the world, and hardly let him do what he wants, while others enjoy letting him loose and have a lot of fun with him. Yes that’s it, this song is a celebration of your inner child - a child that’s not always logical or sensible.
So, this week’s navigation takeaway? Well, it’s either about our never, ever feeling any older and wiser than the insecure schoolchild that we’ve always been and that we know we always will be - or it’s about those childhood books that capture your imagination, that change you in little ways, and that live a parallel life inside your head… forever!
Luna’s performance on this song is just sublime, weaving the bohemian free spirit of a Joanna Newsom vocal into the velvet luxury of a Norah Jones all-nighter; and ending up somewhere between a child and a superstar. The arrangement, the production, and the musicianship on this track are as perfect and professional as you’re likely to hear on any national radio station today… and the song itself is probably superior to the majority of songs they’ll be playing for you.
Luna Keller could be a household name someday!
‘I can’t believe that!’ said Alice.
‘Can’t you?’ the Queen said in a pitying tone.
‘Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.’
‘Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.’