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Don’t Come Around Here No More

November 29, 2009
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Unlike my other Music Video Blog, White Rabbit, I didn’t find a need to write the lyrics for this song. The importance of this song to The Alice Project is just the video itself, and the fact that “Alice” appears in many unexpected places. Sure, the title, “Don’t Come Around Here No More,” could be thought of as a message to Alice, warning her of Wonderland. Although a children’s story, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has death as a constant theme, whether it be the Queen cutting off her subject’s heads, or Alice joking about surviving after “Free Fallin’.” To the man who wrote the song, the title is referring to his dad, whom he hated throughout his childhood.

What is quickly apparent is that the girl playing Alice in the video is actually a woman. If the character in the story we read was older, how would we react? Would our thoughts about her actions be different? This is also something to consider involving the upcoming Tim Burton movie, where Alice is also a bit older than Carroll would have intended. We’d think that grown-up Alice would think her actions through more than if she was younger. We wouldn’t question the whereabouts of her family, because she might have already moved out and become independent. She might not have drank the potion at the start of the tale, or to begin with, even chased that rabbit. But turning that thought around, one might guess that if grown-up Alice found herself in Wonderland, the characters there might confuse her more than it would a child. The older Alice would probably be stupefied at how different and strange Wonderland works; a child would imagine that anything is possible.

The video has Petty’s guitarist playing the part of the Hookah smoking Caterpillar. Alice approaches the mushroom he is seated upon, and takes a bite of it. The fact that she is changing size, or that the singers startled her, sends her off the mushroom and through a set of doors. Alice’s curiosity brought her toward the HookahPillar, but she is turned away. In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Alice has to realize that although anything can happen in Wonderland, she shouldn’t be disappointed when nothing does. The HookahPillar waved Alice toward him, but didn’t give her any advice that would actually benefit her, aside from the mushroom.

Alice winds up in the checkerboard room, which is from Through the Looking Glass. Inside the room, Alice finds the Mad Tea Party, which shouldn’t really be part of that scene. Tom Petty is sitting at the head of the table, dressed as the Mad Hatter. What isn’t there is the March Hare and the Dormouse. Alice is startled at just how “crazy” everything is in the room. The director of the video thought about Carroll’s writings on logic and proportion by not only having a huge tea-cup, but also the Mad Hatter changing size rapidly. Even another denizen of Wonderland shakes his head as he gives Alice her cup; he knows she doesn’t belong there. In the Queen’s Croquet Ground, flamingos were used as mallets. In the video they’re used as the violinist’s bows; the living animals are being used as miscellaneous objects. Also making an appearance in the video are the cakes that make her shrink or grow, only this time she doesn’t get the chance to have one. The people in the room are apparently mad, so why does she want the same food they eat? Like in the story, Alice doesn’t get an opportunity to eat or drink anything at the Mad Tea Party, mainly because she’s rotating seats too quickly.

For some reason, the baby from “Pig and Pepper” chapter also appears. In the video, instead of it being and baby boy, it is Alice herself becoming the pig. In The Annotated Alice we read that Carroll made the boy become a pig because he didn’t like boys. Maybe in this case the people in Wonderland are telling Alice they don’t like her? The video starts getting weird(er) at this point… Although telling Alice not to “come around here no more,” the Hatter is chasing her. The importance of this could be that Alice can’t escape Wonderland, that she can’t escape her dreams. Another theme Carroll was hinting to throughout the story was the loss of childhood innocence, which my classmates are probably familiar with. The Mad Hatter could have been chasing Alice in a rape attempt. Who Knows?

The ending is just really creepy. I didn’t see the point to it, other than the guitarist needed an action scene for his solo. One could guess that it’s all the people of Wonderland eating Alice, but would that matter? They are part of her dream, so they’re actually apart of her… It gets especially confusing when it seems like the Mad Hatter was the one waking up from the dream. Finally I noticed that, just like the book, this song ended abruptly. The story was built up and up, and then the audience was let down. Although, the Mad Hatter seemed satisfied…

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Vance L. permalink
    December 3, 2009 2:03 am


    Interesting, creepy, and just plain different…

    Between you and Adam, all the plot relation has been covered.

    I think Tom Petty here is keeping us guessing on the real meaning of the video. It is not particularly clear what the meaning of it is in relation to Alice except for summary of the plot. I think the song climaxing in the eating of the Alice-Cake gives it a little more cement. “Dont come around here no more” is pretty much the only line in the song and I think they conveyed the message to Alice when they cut her up and ate her.

  2. Adam K permalink
    December 2, 2009 2:55 am

    This video is pretty weird and interesting at the same time. Tom petty probably thought his song could have something to do with Alice, So he made a video about it. From what I watched and heard, the song seemed to have nothing to do with Alice except for it being a video symbolizing her journey in a weird way. It could be that the song is telling Alice not to come back to her dream world of wonderland. The part where the people are eating Alice is very weird and doesn’t seem to do with the story. Over all the video and music has to do with Alice by representing her journey a strange way and possibly telling her not to come to wonderland.

  3. Emma L. permalink
    December 2, 2009 1:36 am

    Wow another Alice-like music video!

    You never know how much a subject or topic is referenced until you go out and look for it. This video reminded me of Tim Burton and the way he finds the quirky/creepyness of a children’s story and uses it in an adult like setting. I agree with you that the title probably is referencing that Alice should not return to Wonderland either because she will probably go mad or there isn’t a reason for her to go so she shouldn’t.

    It is interesting that the video starts with the Caterpillar. Perhaps the Music video director saw this as the most important part of the beginning of the story. Also the ending is the creepest of all. They are practically ripping her to shreads. Possibly demonstrating that Wonderland gives and takes away parts of you that one might not notice?

    I think you would find my Louis Vuitton’s Wonderland Collection to be very interesting! You can check it out here if you want to.

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