Thursday, December 09, 2010

RIP John

Sport Boy was away on a school camp at Queenscliff for the first three days of this week. Today he's at home with a very bad sore throat. Any connection? Maybe.
He can now stand up on a surf board though so there was some good to come out of the experience.
I don't start till 10 past 3 today so am getting stuck into a piece of art that has been formulating in my mind for a long time.
Mrs Holt Press is in Geelong visiting her Dad.

John Lennon, 1940-1980

Yesterday was the 30th anniversary of the death of John Lennon, Dec 8, 1980.
I will never forget that day. It still counts as one of the worst days of my life. I was working at a menswear store in Cairns when the news came on the radio, first that Lennon had been shot and sghortly after that confirming that he was dead. I was stunned. I couldn't stay at work and told the boss I was taking the rest of the day off. I went and bought a copy of Double Fantasy, the album he had just released and spent the rest of the day listening to it and trying to comprehend the terrible news.
I love The Beatles. I grew up in the 60's but really fell in love with their music as a teenager in the 70's. I was surprised to realise that I knew all the words to their songs. I suspect I absorbed them sub-consciously through hearing Alan, aka Big Brother the Accountant play their records constantly. Sgt Pepper was the first album I ever bought. My favourite songs were/are Paperback Writer, Come Together and Get Back. I watched The Beatles Cartoon show on TV and the opening bars of Hard Day's Night always bring it to mind.
I didn't have a favourite Beatle, they were all great in my eyes. I always hoped that some day they would get back together but John's death put paid to that ever happening.
Rock stars have a tendency towards self-destruction and many have died prematurely as a result of their own actions but John had emerged intact from that lifestyle and was living an idyllic domestic life with Yoko and their son Sean in New York. He had campaigned for peace and been pursued and persecuted by J. Edgar Hoover and Nixon who tried to have him kicked out of America. He had survived the crazy life of turmoil, mega-fame, adulation, the madness of Beatlemania, the drugs and parties and all of the excesses that went with being a Beatle, only to be gunned down on the streets of New York, shot in the back outside his apartment building by a demented "fan". It was a dreadful way to die and a sad and tragic waste of a life that shone brighter than most. Thankfully we have his music as a permanent reminder of his talent. John's music post-The Beatles was the best ot the four of them and Paul in particular seemed to lose the edge and brilliance he had had when co-writing and collaborating with John in the band.
A lot of people have been critical and cruel about Yoko Ono and her influence on John and the break-up of The Beatles. I prefer to think that they found true love, that they were kindred spirits, artists and lovers who were good for one another. If John was happy with Yoko that was good enough for me: who was I to judge someone else's choice of partner.

When George became the second Beatle to die, of cancer, many years later, I felt sad but it had nowhere near the impact that John's death did. Perhaps John's death signalled the end of an era, the end of The Beatles and the end of the dream, the end of childhood and innocence. I had never met him, never seen him in person, but it felt personal, like a family memeber had been killed. I've probably had worse days since but not many and none of them stand out so clearly in my memory as that dark day in December 1980.


Peter said...

I never cried for Elvis but I shed a tear for Slim!!!

Marcus said...

What, a King worth no tear?