When I missed seeing John Lennon

The new documentary The Vietnam War by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, which I am watching, though not in real time, reminded me of the time I might have seen John Lennon but did not.

I have noted that I participated in a number of antiwar demonstrations between 1968 and 1974. (In 1967, it would not have occurred to me.) A few were in my hometown of Binghamton, NY, which got bigger and bigger as the war dragged on.

But most took place while I was a student in New Paltz, NY, starting in 1971. A handful took place in town or around the area (Kingston, Poughkeepsie). But most were in New York City, with a fair number in Washington, DC.

It was at one of the New York City rallies – there were so many, I no longer remember when – that a bunch of us took a charter bus to New York City to stand up against what was the latest incursion. And after we rallied for a couple hours, we got the bus home.

Someone was listening to the rally on the radio – I’m guessing WBAI-FM, which makes sense, given its history. An organizer at the announced John Lennon and Yoko Ono, only ten minutes after we had reboarded the bus. We were still in Manhattan, but, of course, there was a schedule to keep.

I don’t what he said specifically that day – it was probably similar to the ideas expressed here – but we were all disappointed to miss it first-hand.

John Lennon’s struggle against war I thought was brave, not because he had been a Beatle, but because he was facing deportation from the United States because of what was likely was a bogus drug possession arrest and conviction in the UK a couple of years earlier.

Hmm – interesting how what would have been the the 77th birthday of John Lennon converges with the now-controversial celebration of Columbus Day, given the often xenophobic polices of the current regime.

Listen to:
Give Peace a Chance – Plastic Ono Band here or here.

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Book review: The Gospel According to the Beatles

gospel according to beatlesIn March 2015, the youth director of our church is putting on a musical review based on The Gospel According to the Beatles, which will feature The Daughter. This compelled me to buy and read the book. Author Steve Turner, as the book sleeve, informs me, has been writing about pop music for over three decades. This is, and I don’t want it to come off as a pejorative, a scholarly book, well-researched Continue reading

I am the eggman

Sometimes, librarians get distracted by non-work-related stuff.

One of our librarians wanted to help a colleague who operates a trivia night competition periodically. He was working on a variation on a question he heard in a Trivial Pursuit edition, something along the lines of “Which two 1960s classic songs, released within a year of each other, both use the phrase ‘koo kook a choo'”.

Librarian that he is, he wanted to know how to “spell” the “koo koo”. Continue reading

L is for Lennon: John and Yoko

JohnandYokoJohn Lennon met Yoko Ono at an art gallery in November 1966. Very soon, the thing that would really bug Paul, George, and Ringo was that SHE was in the studio with John and them; this had been the Beatles’ nexus, but now he’s bringing in his girlfriend?

Her vocals would eventually show up on Beatles songs, notably Revolution 9 from the white album, and the very strange song What’s The New Mary Jane [LISTEN, if you want] which actually never made it onto a legitimate record until the third Beatles Anthology album, released in the 1990s.

They did a number of albums together, including a couple avant garde albums called Unfinished Music. Two Virgins had the infamous nude cover; the CD release added the Yoko song Remember Love [LISTEN], the B-side to the Plastic Ono Band single Continue reading

I IMAGINE we’ve gotten it wrong, John, so far

“Imagine all the people living life in peace,” some guy who died in 1980 said. And this is supposed to be this period where we talk about “peace on earth.” Of course, I’m also reminded of Jeremiah 6, which reads: “For from the least of them even to the greatest of them, Everyone is greedy for gain, And from the prophet even to the priest Everyone deals falsely. They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace. Were they ashamed because of the abomination they have done? They were not even ashamed at all; They did not even know how to blush.”

I think we humans will always disagree, but must we, as the saying goes, be disagreeable? This post by Dustbury reminded me of this; a simple a fast food encounter where the patron’s job, it seems, was to be be a schmuck.
Continue reading

I’m SO Tired

For reasons I mostly don’t understand, for the last couple weeks, I have been going to sleep, waking up anywhere between three and four and a half hours later, and then am unable to go back to sleep. I stay in bed for as long as an hour, then finally get up and check my e-mail, or, rarely, watch TV for a hour, then go back to bed, pretty much in time for the alarm clock. I usually DO fall asleep in that brief time between when my wife wakes up and when she returns from the shower; I know this because I am likely to have quite vivid dreams.

The annoying thing is that I’m often too unfocused to write a comprehensible blog post, to even start one. Yet the IDEAS are still there, which is actually worse.

I’ve experienced this condition before, for a day or two, and I can operate OK in the short term. But in this extended bout, not so much. Continue reading

The Beatles reunion, and our Christmas tree

More questions from western New York’s finest blogger, Jaquandor:

If Lennon hadn’t been shot in 1980, do you think there would eventually have been a Beatles reunion? If so, what form? A one-shot performance at something like Live-Aid? A new album?

John and Yoko’s album Double Fantasy comes out in the fall of 1980. It does all right [not as well as it did in response to Lennon’s death]. They put out Milk and Honey a year later; ditto. They tour for a few months.

Around 1982, George, whose career was in a bit of a downturn – no All Those Years Ago hit single – plays on a John and Yoko album. John and George play on Ringo’s comeback album.
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“War Against Christmas” Is OVER (If You Want It)

(Dateline: Albany, NY) Roger Green, founder and president the organization Christmas Or Other Labels (COOL), has declared the war on Christmas in the United States to be officially over. People celebrating the holiday religiously, those celebrating it socially, and those not celebrating it at all were all declared victors in emotional celebrations across the country.

The Christian folks have decided that, while it IS approaching Christmas in December, there ARE people who practice other religions, or no religions at all, and they are determined to be COOL about it. Continue reading

Sean Lennon’s birthday; and it would have been his father’s

One of those signs that you are getting older is when you start saying things such as “I remember [him or her] when [he or she] was X years old [some age the person hasn’t been for a VERY long time].” And that’s how it was with Sean Lennon. I didn’t know him personally, but, to me, he was frozen in time at five years old, his age when his father was killed. Continue reading

How Do You Sleep QUESTIONS


Looking at all the Beatles and John Lennon songs, I’m reminded of the fact that Lennon mentioned the topic of sleep a few times. I’m Only Sleeping was on the Beatles’ Revolver album, though I first heard it on the US LP called Yesterday and Today. It starts off:
When I wake up early in the morning,
Lift my head, I’m still yawning
When I’m in the middle of a dream
Stay in bed, float up stream

Then, for the Beatles white album, Lennon writes:
I’m so tired, I haven’t slept a wink
I’m so tired, my mind is on the blink
Continue reading