Thursday, October 09, 2008

John Lennon in His Own Words

by Michael Heatley

When I was about twelve I used to think I must be a genius, but nobody's noticed. If there is such a thing as a genius I am one, and if there isn't I don't care.

From the earliest days in Liverpool, George and I on the one hand and Paul on the other had different musical tastes.

A Hard Day's Night I was on pills that's bigger drugs than pot. Started on pills when... I was 17, since I became a musician. That's the only way to survive in Hamburg.

The Beatles tours were like the Fellini film Satyricon. We had that image.

We reckoned we could make it because there were four of us. None of us would have made it alone, because Paul wasn't quite strong enough, I didn't have enough girl appeal, George was too quiet and Ringo was the drummer.

The Beatles broke up after Brian (Epstein) died.

With Yoko I really knew love for the first time. Our first attraction was a mental one, but it happened physically too.

'Imagine' was a sincere statement. It was 'Working Class Hero' with chocolate on. I was trying to think of it in terms of children.

What worries me is that one day a loony will come up and God knows what will happen then... you never know in America. They're always running around with guns like a lot of cowboys. They think guns are extensions of their arms.

I hope I die before Yoko because if Yoko died I wouldn't know how to survive. I couldn't carry on.

Excerpt: 1945.

John went to Dovedale Primary School: I fought my way through Dovedale. I learned lots of dirty jokes very young. There was this girl who told me them. The gang I led went in for shoplifting and pulling girls' knickers down. Other boys' parents hated me. Most of the masters hated me.

I soon forgot my father. But I did see my mother now and again. I often thought about her, though I never realized for a long time that she was living no more than five or ten miles away.

Childhood: Strawberry Fields is a real place. After I stopped living at Penny Lane, I moved in with my auntie who lived in the suburbs in a nice semidetached place with a small garden and doctors and lawyers and that ilk living around -- not the poor slummy kind of image that was projected in all the Beatles stories. In the class system, it was about half a class higher than Paul, George and Ringo, who lived in government-subsidized housing. We owned our house and had a garden. They didn't have anything like that. Near that home was Strawberry Fields, a house near a boys' reformatory where I used to go to garden parties as a kid with my friends Nigel and Pete. We would go there and hang out and sell lemonade bottles for a penny. We always had fun at Strawberry Fields. So that's where I got the name. But I used it as an image. Strawberry Fields forever.

Living is easy -- With eyes closed. Misunderstanding all you see. It still goes, doesn't it? Aren't I saying exactly the same thing now? The awareness apparently trying to be expressed is -- let's say in one way I was always hip. I was hip in kindergarten. I was different from the others. I was different all my life. The second verse goes, "No one I think is in my tree." Well, I was too shy and self-doubting. Nobody seems to be as hip as me is what I was saying. Therefore, I must be crazy or a genius -- "I mean it must be high or low," the next line. There was something wrong with me, I thought, because I seemed to see things other people didn't see. I thought I was crazy or an egomaniac for claiming to see things other people didn't see. As a child, I would say, But this is going on! and everybody would look at me as if I was crazy. I always was so psychic or intuitive or poetic or whatever you want to call it, that I was always seeing things in a hallucinatory way.

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