Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Remembering John Lennon

The first intimation I had that John Lennon had universal appeal, that he wasn’t just someone who spoke to me and my generation, was when some friends of my mom’s startled me one time waving a paperback in the air saying this Beatle fellow John Lennon, “he is such a wit, such a creative writer, hilarious!” They were dumbfounded and I was slightly miffed, thinking, ‘so … would you expect anything less? Have you listened to his songs at all?’

The book was ‘In His Own Write’. It’s an eclectic collection of short stories, poems, drawings, linguistic explorations and deliberate misspellings, disjointed narrative, weird and absurd imagery and dark humor … an early feast of John’s wonderfully creative mind. Here are some excerpts:
No Flies on Frank

“I carn’t not believe this incredible fact of truth about my very body which has not gained fat since mother begat me at childburn. Yea, though I wart through the valet of thy shadowy hut I will feed no norman. What grate qualmsy hath taken me thus into such a fatty hardbuckle.”

“He journeyed downstairs crestfallen and defective – a great wait on his boulders – not even his wife’s battered face could raise a smile on poor Frank’s head – who as you know had no flies on him.”

Good Dog Nigel

“Arf, Arf, he goes, a merry sight,
Our little hairy friend,
Arf, Arf, upon the lampost bright
Arfing round the bend.
Nice dog! Goo boy,
Waggie tail and beg,
Clever Nigel, jump for joy

Because we’re putting you to sleep at three of the clock, Nigel.”

The Wrestling Dog

“One upon a tom in a far off distant lad far across the sea miles away from anyway over the hills as the crow barks 39 peoble lived miles away from anywhere on a little island on a distant land.”

I Wandered

“Past grisby trees and hulky builds
Past ratters and bradder sheep
In a resus baby stooped
I wandered hairy as a dog
To get a goobites sleep.”

All Abord Speeching

“2. Sing you with long voice.
For discharge
Deep breathing is Nescafe for a dark voice, deep breeding and in haley is very impotent for broadcastle and out-lying ariels… visibility nil in Rockall and Fredastaire?
Practice daily but not if you’re debb and duff.”

I Sat Belonely

“I sat belonely down a tree,
humbled fat and small.
A little lady sing to me
I couldn’t see at all.

I’m looking up and at the sky,
To find a wonderous voice.
Puzzly puzzle, wonder why,
I hear but have no choice.”

Taken from ‘In His Own Write’ by John Lennon.

Sometime after John was murdered there was a candlelight vigil in Central Park, on the spot known as 'Strawberry Fields'. I don't remember so well now, but I think they played this, which is still my favorite of John's songs, as close to perfect as a song can be. First, a beautiful rendition of it by Allison Crowe:

Rolling Stone Magazine found the lost John Lennon tapes from his last interview given just three days before his death and never published until now. Listen to them here. It's a real treat.

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