Thursday, January 20

John Lennon, in search of the lost mother | Culture

A crowd, some 50,000 people, at the vigil for the murder of John Lennon in Central Park on December 14, 1980.
A crowd, some 50,000 people, at the vigil for the murder of John Lennon in Central Park on December 14, 1980.ARCHIVO BETTMANN

The anniversary could not be more round: 40 years since his death; 80 those that would have turned, half a century after the dissolution of The Beatles and 60 of the stay of the Fab Four —They weren’t yet— in Hamburg, the trigger for their planetary success, which inaugurated globality above blocks and creeds. All those ephemeris are celebrated this sick year, but the first, which always attracts a mass of admirers to the mosaic with the motto Imagine which presides over the Strawberry Fields in Central Park, a hill in the park renamed with the title of his song, is clouded by the pandemic and the lack of tourists, although there is always someone taking a selfie or strumming a guitar.

Not even the online auction of the album that Lennon dedicated to his murderer hours before he died has enlivened the artist’s memory and it is unknown if someone has offered more than the 400,000 dollars (about 330,000 euros) of starting in an open bid until the next Weekend. Expert evidence of the investigation, it is a copy of Double Fantasy, published just three weeks earlier, an ode to marital happiness that broke the five shots, four of them fatal, that Mark Chapman, 25, unlocked on the night of December 8 at the door of the Dakota apartment building in New York.

Inside, little seems to have changed. Yoko Ono, his widow and for many the person responsible for the dissolution of the Liverpool gang, lives locked up in the Dakota, a building that looks menacing at night, with its glue torches on the lintel and a bronze sentry box where a janitor in livery. Mark Chapman is wasting away in Wende Prison, near Buffalo, being repeatedly denied parole. This summer he received the eleventh setback, and at the hearing the assassin – after whom many wanted to see the hand of the CIA or the FBI to silence a left-wing pacifist – acknowledged that he killed Lennon to have a moment of glory, but also He was sorry for a “despicable act” for which he apologized to the widow. His intricate mind has been the subject of a myriad of interpretations, but no one has been able to explain with certainty why he was carrying a well-worn copy of The Catcher in the Rye of Salinger, when he committed the murder; why, after being disarmed by the Dakota doorman, he remained absorbed in reading until the police arrived.

John Lennon’s most vivid tribute to the seemingly calm and timid, inside a torrent of contradictions, is in the form of a biography, “but it is not a conventional biography,” its author, Lesley-Ann Jones, also an author, explains by mail. , among other titles, of Bohemian Rhapsody, the definitive biography of Freddie Mercury. “All of Lennon’s biographies have been written by old-school music critics, men, contemporaries of the band, who have a clear vision of the sixties and seventies because they were there. These books conform to a style in which facts, figures, who did what and when, and music are paramount. But none addressed John’s emotional life in a meaningful way. “

So the common thread of Who Killed John Lennon? (Dome Books) delves into the fears, frustrations and shortcomings of the soul of the beatle. In his inner emptiness, even at the height of his career, when he reached a terrified consciousness out of nowhere; of his personal abyss weighed down by the helplessness of childhood: abandoned by his father, given at the age of five by his mother to a sister, so as not to drag him into a life without direction. “I have spent my adult life among rock stars, and they have a lot in common, above all a dysfunctional personality as a result of abuse or abandonment in their childhood, which is what leads them to create music as a means of escape. It was certainly the case with John: his mother, Julia, giving him up for adoption to her older sister, Mimi; his father fleeing to the sea [era marino], Aunt Mimi’s lack of affection and her insistence that John play by the rules. Mimi’s disapproval was one of the key factors that inspired her songs. John had something to revolt against and he ended up needing something to be able to do his whole life against. “

To whom for many he was the best of the four Beatles, women are perfectly explained, says Jones. “I suspected that he might find the real John through the women in his life, and my hunch worked. Tracing his past through them proved more revealing than he had imagined. Every woman with whom he had a romantic or sentimental relationship was his ‘maternal surrogate therapy’. His mother was hit by a car right in front of the house where she lived with her aunt when he was 17 years old, and every morning when she got up the first thing she saw was the place where she died. He spent the rest of his life longing for her, through heartbreaking songs like Mother O Julia. It was a relationship that could never be resolved and a tragedy for him. “

Through the book parade the mother, the strict Aunt Mimi, her stepsister, Julia Baird; Cynthia, his first wife and mother of his son Julian – who inspired Paul McCartney the beautiful Hey Jude, to wrap him in the trance of his parents’ divorce—, and the endless number of friends and lovers, some spoiled by Ono like May Pang, to put together the puzzle that was the musician, about which it seems that there is nothing left to tell. Is everything known about Lennon, or has the effort to draw his portrait been rewarded by some discovery? “Amazingly, there are still things to tell!” Explains Jones, who summarizes the book’s most novel contributions in two: the real reason why the Lennon-Ono couple left England and settled in the United States, and “the condition pansexual ”of the musician.

The march to the United States had a lot to do with the disappearance of the daughter that Yoko Ono had with her previous husband, who kidnapped her. “The extraordinary story of how the Lennons lost Kyoko explains why they moved to America: not to flee the racist attacks on Yoko, to be blamed for having ‘broken the Beatles’, but to try to win back the girl. But they couldn’t and John didn’t see her again ”. Kyoko was reunited with her mother much later in New York, after being dragged by her father from sect to sect in the United States.

On the artist’s sexual condition, Jones reveals the erotic relationship he had with David Bowie, a friend of the writer. “I have not told it in a sensational way, but to explain aspects of his personality and his character. John openly admitted that he had ‘been afraid of the queer’ in him. But he was someone who tried things, experimented and clearly felt satisfaction in his relationships with both men and women.

A life lived between the echoes of the Cold War and free love, as a precursor and epigone of the explosion of 68; between the helpless childhood of Liverpool and a maturity of drugs and sex, at the mercy of an esoteric and naive psychedelic, good-natured that would have been said now; of retreats in India and pacifist proclamations and whims of the new rich. Lennon’s career continues to distill experiences, regardless of the noise that the bid for the album makes. By the way, it is the third time it has been auctioned, because Lennon usually returns again and again, like a messiah, from the world of legend.

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