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Monday, 6 May 2013

Audio books - John Lennon - In his own words - BBC

Star rating 8/10

This is a fascinating collection of radio and TV interviews with John Lennon spanning the period from 1965 to December 1980.

He comes across as an extremely articulate and intelligent man, although amusingly rejecting establishment notions of what that means. He is amazed at his interviewer's use of the word onomatopoeia to discuss his prose, never having heard the term before.  On discussing his books, the second of which was published in 1965, he describes himself as not a disciplined writer but spontaneous - seldom editing anything out after the writing process itself. Although his writing is evidence of his social conscience, he is plain about his role in protest movements in 1965 'I'm not a do-gooder. I won't go on marches.' As a young man of 25 in the first of the interviews, there is a stark reminder of his relative youth as he considers himself to be 'too near to school to read Dickens and Shakespeare.'

In a later piece from 1969 he is talking about his honeymoon with Yoko Ono, which at the time he is spending at the Amsterdam Hilton with their famous Bed-In for Peace. And by 1970, when speculation about the future of the Beatles is reaching fever pitch, he refuses to be pinned down on the subject, and merely says he is concentrating on John Lennon, not Yoko Ono, or the Beatles. 

The last interviews from 1980 are the most poignant, recorded just days before his tragic death at the hands of lone gunman Mark Chapman. He is talking about their recently released Double Fantasy LP, and their plans for two more albums. We learn of his love for Fawlty Towers - 'a masterpiece' - and for the original sound of Madness. Like David Bowie, he had settled in New York as he appreciated the private life and sense of security it gave him when compared to England. We sadly know the rest.

This is a really interesting and captivating reminder of the greatness and originality of the man.

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