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The Groom Stripped Bare by His Suitor

Jeremy Harding: John Lennon

4 January 2001
Lennon Remembers 
by Jann Wenner.
Verso, 151 pp., £20, October 2000, 1 85984 600 9
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... John Lennon gave his famous interview to Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone magazine at the end of 1970, a few days before the release of the most important solo-Beatle record, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. Rolling Stone published the interview early the following year, with the album already in the shops. Between them, the record and the interview seemed to round off the 1960s nicely – or ...

Lennonism

David Widgery

21 February 1985
John Winston Lennon. Vol. I: 1940-1966 
by Ray Coleman.
Sidgwick, 288 pp., £9.95, June 1984, 0 283 98942 4
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John Ono​ Lennon. Vol. II: 1967-1980 
by Ray Coleman.
Sidgwick, 344 pp., £9.95, November 1984, 0 283 99082 1
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John Lennon, Summer of 1980 
by Yoko Ono.
Chatto, 111 pp., £4.95, June 1984, 0 7011 3931 5
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... yobbo, used the idiom of rock and roll to charm London into cultural submission, drive Britain half-crazy with excitement and enchant the world. But then saw through the corporate pantomime and, with YokoOno, turned the tables on his prodigious fame, discovered Art and Politics and mixed them with feminism to become, in a swift series of transmogrifications, a cynic who spoke for Utopian socialism, a ...
25 July 1991
... 27 January 1982. This is for £38.24; the payee in this case H.M. Customs and Excise. I will come back to this later. I never met John Lennon. Within weeks of his cruel death, I did meet his widow, YokoOno. We had a mutual friend. Deezia, an Englishwoman living in New York. Yoko had come to draw comfort from Deezia’s good sense and spiritualistic gifts, which were imprecise but invariably ...
22 January 1981
... I write this during the world silence which YokoOno has asked for in remembrance of her husband, John Lennon, murdered by a crazy fan. I can’t say I’m observing it, but I’m not ignoring it either. ‘The soul of Adonais, like a star’ is to ...
5 February 1981
... artist, living in beds and bags and producing minimalist packages of photographs and recorded shrieks. But that he should seem to be promising more songs on the pattern laid down by the Plastic Ono Band album, a collection which had proved morbid, hectoring and pathetic by turns – well, this represented a doomier start to the decade than we felt we deserved. Besides, the allusion to songs ...

As time goes by

Brenda Maddox

2 July 1981
Ingrid Bergman: My Story 
by Ingrid Bergman and Alan Burgess.
Joseph, 480 pp., £9.50, November 1980, 0 7181 1946 0
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... who could say no to Humphrey Bogart and go home with Paul Henreid. The people who are swept up into the world’s fantasy life may no longer be film stars, but they exist and they are vulnerable. Ask YokoOno. Nor has the demand for symbols of purity, even virginity, disappeared. Ask Lady Diana Spencer. The longing for idols does not change, nor does the pleasurable horror when they fall. Furthermore ...
7 June 2001
number9dream 
by David Mitchell.
Sceptre, 418 pp., £10.99, March 2001, 0 340 73976 2
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... is expected to fill in the cracks. The device doesn’t work. In John Lennon’s song, the number had some meaning; numerology bolstered Lennon’s sense of order: he was born on 9 October 1940, met YokoOno on 9 November 1966 and predicted that he would die on the ninth of the month. (He died in New York on 8 December 1980, but this was only a small nuisance: the five-hour time lag meant that in ...

Welcome Home

Sukhdev Sandhu: Memories of Michael X

4 February 1999
Windrush: The Irresistible Rise of Multiracial Britain 
by Mike Phillips and Trevor Phillips.
HarperCollins, 422 pp., £16.99, May 1998, 0 00 255909 9
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... entertainers such as Sammy Davis Jr and the comedian Dick Gregory. He also guilt-tripped John Lennon by claiming that ‘you have stolen the rhythms of the black people you knew in Liverpool.’ Soon YokoOno was presenting him with £10,000 in £10 notes. Malik offered Lennon a pair of Muhammad Ali’s bloodied shorts in return for a box containing locks of the singer’s hair. The plan was to sell ...

Urban Messthetics

John Mullan: Black and Asian writers in London

18 November 2004
London Calling: How Black and Asian Writers Imagined a City 
by Sukhdev Sandhu.
Harper Perennial, 498 pp., £9.99, November 2004, 0 00 653214 4
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... of the Racial Adjustment Action Society. Through this Black Power organisation he became a friend of Alexander Trocchi and William Burroughs, a host to Muhammad Ali and a recipient of largesse from YokoOno. The story of his rise and rise reads like satirical fiction. Eventually, having fled to Trinidad under the threat of prosecution in London, he had the English lover of one of his cronies killed ...

Full of Hell

Fatema Ahmed: James Salter

5 February 2004
Cassada 
by James Salter.
Harvill, 208 pp., £10.99, August 2003, 1 86046 925 6
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Light Years 
by James Salter.
Vintage, 320 pp., £6.99, August 2003, 0 09 945022 4
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... him, Paris. He calls Europe his ‘education’. The second half of his memoir is full of famous names as Salter describes meeting, among many others, Fellini, William Styron, Polanski, Nureyev and YokoOno. Of less interest are the minor European aristocrats he finds so fascinating: a German countess, ‘a barbiturate ruin’, represents for him ‘the real crop of Europe’. Salter was born James ...

Diary

Adam Shatz: Ornette Coleman

15 July 2015
... each other, were true.’After settling in New York, Coleman became a leading figure downtown. He moved easily in artistic circles, and struck up friendships with Willem de Kooning, Allen Ginsberg, YokoOno, Robert Frank and the great figurative painter Bob Thompson, who shared his love of jazz. He was a pivotal influence on a student at Syracuse, Lou Reed; another close listener was a composition ...

Naderland

Jackson Lears: Ralph Nader’s novel

8 April 2010
Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! 
by Ralph Nader.
Seven Stories, 733 pp., $27.50, September 2009, 978 1 58322 903 3
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... Diller (mass media) and Bill Gates Sr (corporate law). It is a New Deal coalition (Irishmen, Anglos, Italians, Jews) updated with one African-American man, Bill Cosby, and one Asian-American woman, YokoOno. (The supporting cast includes a host of awkwardly renamed figures from American public life: Brovar Dortwist as Grover Norquist, the anti-tax ideologue; Bush Bimbaugh as Rush Limbaugh, the radio ...
30 October 1997
Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection 
by Norman Rosenthal.
Thames and Hudson, 222 pp., £29.95, September 1997, 0 500 23752 2
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... he briskly dismisses. In fact, the most interesting examples of billboard art come from the immediate aftermath of Conceptual Art, in the late Sixties and on into the Seventies, when John Lennon and YokoOno, Victor Burgin, Les Levine and others used billboards for work which blended fine art with political propaganda. By dethroning painting, Conceptual Art opened the gates to a range of other media ...
6 October 1983
... canvas empty except for three tiny newspaper clippings of the word ‘big’ centrally arranged (‘The Three Little Bigs’). If this came a long way after Tristan Tzara, it came a long way before YokoOno and was much funnier than either, but more prophetic was his knack for street theatre. Still a schoolboy in Sydney, I heard about these daring adventures only later, but everybody in Australia ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: Fresh Revelations

20 October 1994
... recognisable postcards with their capitals, underlinings and exclamation marks, like the one he sent me from Moscow in 1987: ‘I have been standing for PEACE and MR GORBACHEV with Gregory Peck and YokoOno and Gore Vidal and Fay Weldon. Where were you?!’ 26 September. And as I am correcting the proofs of this piece comes the death of my next-door neighbour, the publisher Colin Haycraft. He was ...

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