#80 Dream

John Lennon would have been eighty today. Can you imagine that? The founder of The Beatles being an octogenarian. He’s now been dead for the same number of years that he lived, and there’s always a sadness in that. It’s hard to consider the life without the tragic end. But we must try.

The other morning I downloaded this and listened to it over a coffee in McDonald’s.

A two-parter, it features both Sean and Julian Lennon for the first time speaking publicly about their father. Sean also interviews his Godfather, Elton John, and also Lennon’s songwriting partner Paul McCartney.

Speaking to the latter, Sean mentioned how Love Me Do was written before The Beatles existed as the group we all know, and asked if there were other such early songs? Paul confirmed that there were, for example One After 909 and I Saw Her Standing There. Commenting that they were such strong songs that still stand today, Sean asked did they ever write any bad songs or did they always strike gold straight away?

When Paul replied that there were bad ones, the reaction was along the lines of Oh, thank Christ for that!

I guess that gives hope to we mere mortals, scribbling along in the sand.

Sean also asked about Paul’s first meeting with his father, which I guess every fan knows took place on the 6th July 1957, when John’s skiffle band The Quarry Men were performing at a church fete.

What I didn’t know was that Paul had seen John around a few times before this, but that he didn’t know him. A couple of times he’d caught Paul’s eye when on the same bus, when John would have been travelling to see his mother. Paul had thought that Lennon had looked cool, sporting the rebellious, Teddy Boy look of the time. Then another time he saw him in the queue at a chippy, thinking hey, that’s the guy from the bus. But at this point they’d still never spoke to each other.

That all changed when mutual friend Ivan Vaughan took Paul so see John playing at the fete, and the penny dropped that his friend’s friend was the same guy he’d been noticing around the neighbourhood.

This is artist Eric Cash’s conception of John and Paul’s introductory meeting in the church hall after the performance.

Sometimes in life it seems like the paths of certain individuals keep crossing. The universe has a way of bringing together people who are meant to meet.

Just this morning I saw this image posted, announcing the birth of a young son to Julia and Alfred Lennon.

Who could have had any idea at the time, when skimming the announcements in the local newspaper, the impact that that boy would have on the world?

I wonder about those other babies, too, for example the Looney daughter stated immediately below the Lennon son. What life did she go on to lead? Did she ever know the brief illustrious company that she once shared in her origin? Did she go on to impact the world in some other, less celebrated way?

Eighty years on, I was draining the last of my coffee as Sean finished the show with:

Here’s wishing a Happy Birthday to my Dad. People may grow old, but great music never does.

And that’s true. All art is nailed at the time in a form that lasts forever, untouched by shifting context and the changing mores.

Where In The Tree Is Vivien?

My favourite actress would have been 105 years old today.

City Jackdaw

I recently finished reading a biography about possibly my country’s greatest actress: Vivien Leigh. Triumphant and tragic, always lovely, ever fragile, her most difficult part was that of her own life.


My post on an old movies site on Facebook provoked a conversation about her being England’s greatest actress. I was asked what it was about her that made me of this opinion, and how she faired in comparison to the likes of Dame Judi Dench and Dame Helen Mirren. (The question was asked in all innocence, purely out of curiosity, as it was posed by a fan of Vivien’s who was curious as to why I hold her in such similar esteem.)

I replied that both Judi Dench and Helen Mirren are fine actresses, (Elizabeth Taylor too), but to me there seems a certain gravitas in both Leigh’s performances and in her attitude towards her craft. Most of her…

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Blow Down The Chimney And Make A Wish

I was recently going to do a post, but it seems the WordPress Gods are working against me.

I sat at my pc the other morning, as the much heralded first storm of Winter hit, and began with the line:

I love windy days

I never even got to apply the full stop when I heard a low, rumbling noise that turned into a loud crash. At first I thought it was the furniture blowing across the decking, then realised that we haven’t got any. Dur!

I looked out of the back window to see two young gardeners who were working in a neighbour’s garden peering over my fence. On seeing me they beckoned me to go outside, and told me that a chimney had just been blown off one of the roofs. Whose? My mum’s next door.

It had collapsed and fallen down on both sides of the house, along with the tv aerial, taking many roof tiles with it. I went in my mum’s-she hadn’t even heard it!

I had to go in once at 4.00am to switch her burglar alarm off as she slept through it. She has one good ear, and if she is lay on it neither megaphone   nor medium can contact her. I just re-set it and came out, with all the bedroom lights on in the flats opposite as my mum slept on in darkness.

“Mam, you know that little run of bad luck you are going through at the moment, with your boiler and your washing machine? Well your chimney has just come down.” 

She heard that one alright. It could have been worse, there could have been someone coming up the path at the time and been hurt, and she is insured. After preventing anybody coming to the door, above which many loose bricks were precariously balanced on the edge of the roof, and dealing with the over-stretched insurers, I returned back to my house. That last sentence was still there, hanging unfinished on the screen:

I love windy days

Irony is cool isn’t it?

I deleted it and then typed

I love lottery wins

I will keep you posted. No pun intended.

So I abandoned my post for that day. And today?

Well it’s my birthday, so I will take the day off. I will see you again soon though.

Weather and WordPress Gods allowing.