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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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... 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 nastily, come to that. Many things seemed to do the same, of ...


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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... with excitement and enchant the world. But then saw through the corporate pantomime and, with Yoko Ono, 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 roughneck who pleaded for peace, an anti-sexist sex ...

Bidding for Yoko

Gillon Aitken, 25 July 1991

... to this later. I never met John Lennon. Within weeks of his cruel death, I did meet his widow, Yoko Ono. 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 compassionate. Perhaps by ...

Death of a Poet

Karl Miller, 22 January 1981

... I write this during the world silence which Yoko Ono 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 concentrate the thoughts and lift up the hearts of the many people who mourn him ...

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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... world’s fantasy life may no longer be film stars, but they exist and they are vulnerable. Ask Yoko Ono. 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, Miss Bergman apparently doesn’t realise that she ...

Lennon’s Confessions

Russell Davies, 5 February 1981

... 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 about people in concrete flats seemed an unnecessarily explicit ...

In which the Crocodile Snout-Butts the Glass

James Francken: David Mitchell, 7 June 2001

by David Mitchell.
Sceptre, 418 pp., £10.99, March 2001, 0 340 73976 2
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... some meaning; numerology bolstered Lennon’s sense of order: he was born on 9 October 1940, met Yoko Ono 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 Liverpool it was already the morning of the ninth.) There ...

Four Moptop Yobbos

Ian Penman, 17 June 2021

One Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time 
by Craig Brown.
Fourth Estate, 642 pp., £9.99, March, 978 0 00 834003 2
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The Beatles and Sixties Britain 
by Marcus Collins.
Cambridge, 382 pp., £90, March 2020, 978 1 108 47724 6
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The Beatles in Context 
edited by Kenneth Womack.
Cambridge, 372 pp., £74.99, January 2020, 978 1 108 41911 6
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... pieced together over the years, as if on a multi-track console. Recording ‘Let It Be’ with Yoko Ono in 1969. There’s​ a clip you can easily find of the Beatles being interviewed by a venerable BBC correspondent in the lead-up to their Royal Variety Performance in November 1963. In perfect RP, cut glass tones, apparently without irony, he asks ...


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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... Italians, Jews) updated with one African-American man, Bill Cosby, and one Asian-American woman, Yoko Ono. (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 ranter; David Roader as David Broder, the soporific ...

Full of Hell

Fatema Ahmed: James Salter, 5 February 2004

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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... as Salter describes meeting, among many others, Fellini, William Styron, Polanski, Nureyev and Yoko Ono. 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 Horowitz, although he doesn’t mention this in ...

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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... Alexander Trocchi and William Burroughs, a host to Muhammad Ali and a recipient of largesse from Yoko Ono. 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 as a ‘spy’. He was convicted and hanged in Port of ...

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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... by claiming that ‘you have stolen the rhythms of the black people you knew in Liverpool.’ Soon Yoko Ono 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 them to Beatles fans with the proceeds going to the ...


Alan Bennett: Fresh Revelations, 20 October 1994

... me from Moscow in 1987: ‘I have been standing for PEACE and MR GORBACHEV with Gregory Peck and Yoko Ono 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 like Lindsay A. in many ways, standing at the same ...


Adam Shatz: Ornette Coleman, 16 July 2015

... easily in artistic circles, and struck up friendships with Willem de Kooning, Allen Ginsberg, Yoko Ono, 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 student at Juilliard, Philip Glass. Yet his most ...
... Three Little Bigs’). If this came a long way after Tristan Tzara, it came a long way before Yoko Ono 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 got to hear about them eventually. Apparently there was ...

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