He wasn’t exactly a model husband or model father. Many years ago I felt the unruly need to ignore my school work to read Cynthia Lennon’s autobiography.

He definitely wasn’t nice to his first born son Julian. He had no idea how to be a father. He said some pretty awful things to him and ignored him most of the time. He was astonished when Paul McCartney built a better relationship with Julian than he could. ‘Hey Jude’ is actually a song by Paul to cheer up Julian. For melodic reasons Julian was changed into Jude.

This has always tainted my perception of Lennon.

The first poster on the walls of my bedroom was a poster of John Lennon.

Maybe I didn’t realize it at the time, but I could look at his image for so long because he has a strange resemblance to my father and – even stranger – my grandmother. No wonder my grandmother kept repeating how handsome she thought John Lennon was. We’re all fucking narcissists.

Yeah, he was a peace icon alright. As conspiracy theories tend to go that’s why the CIA had him murdered. I have never dug into that story myself, but there is certainly something very fishy about his murderer, Mark David Chapman. One of my friends who is very open to conspiracy theories would most likely see a classic case of a programmed CIA assassin in mister Chapman. Am not too interested in exploring this path. For those willing there is plenty interesting stuff to read online.

John Lennon got abandoned by his father. His father only turned up after John got rich and famous. His mother got killed by a reckless driver just when the two were finally bonding. He was raised by his aunt. She was strict and at one time took his guitar away. A lot of his songs deal with a sense of abandonment. Psychiatrist Gabor Maté includes the song ‘I call your name’ in his lectures on trauma and addiction.

John Lennon – apart from his music – is memorable to me in several ways.

My father once yelled at me: ‘Do not turn him into a genius!’ He said it with such vehemence that I have never again considered someone to be a genius.

In the movie Backbeat – about the early years of the Beatles- a girl tells John: I have never met anyone who is so angry.

That resonated with me because personally I have never met anyone angrier than myself though almost nobody outside of myself experiences me as an angry person.

I don’t think am a shitty father. Not in any direct way at least. If am a shitty father it’s only because am not happy and my head is a negativity factory.

I envy John’s musical ability.

To write – even when done right – is only ever the castrated version of a great song. I don’t envy him in the way that I would kill him. The official motive of Mark David Chapman. I envy him in the way that I do not want to live myself, because I lack the tools to express myself in the way I would want to. I don’t understand killing someone who hasn’t attacked you or anyone else.

As a kid I thought music had ended some time around the split of the Beatles. Later I thought music died when Kurt Cobain died. Later I thought music had probably continued but that I had died.

One of the many incomprensible things about this world is that those who talk of peace are much more likely to be killed than those who spoil for war.

I don’t have John Lennon’s musical abilities, but I do share his insatiable appetites, his anger (although I fail to express it) and his curiosity.

Every year on the 8th of December I think about his death and every year it saddens me.

Anyway, am going to watch the movie Backbeat. Which may very well be the the best movie made about the Beatles so far.


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