Monday, October 10, 2005

This Is Not Here



Yesterday marked what would have been the 65th birthday of John Lennon.

That's a little mind-blowing for me somehow. It shouldn't be, but it is.

It's strange to think that he never made it past 40. And strange to think that he's been gone for 25 years now.

It was just always nice to know he was around, someone that smart and quick, who'd let you know what he thought about something.

We've managed, I suppose. We always do.

But we could have used him these past 25 years. Like a tonic.

So many timid and sad voices dominate our lives now. So many people lionized for their stupidity and cruelty.

I was watching some of this new reality show that's on now starring former Partridge Danny Bonaduce and his wife. I guess she was. I couldn't tell, really.

For anyone even mildly annoyed by reality shows, this show would be guaranteed slow torture.

Bonaduce, who never got over having once been famous and who has made a career out of debasing himself for money and fame, outdoes himself on this program.

He desperately parades his own manic depression, suicide attempts, and steroid and alcohol abuse in front of the cameras in the hope that some of this will keep us talking about him and make him some money along the way.

He's got nothing left to sell.

When he begs his wife to love him, it's crystal clear that he isn't talking to her at all. He's talking to us. He wants all of us to love him again.

The desperation on the show is palpable. He's like walking flop sweat.

I had to think about John for a moment, who had all the celebrity one person could possibly want, saw it for the narcotic it was, and rejected it for real life.

People had difficulty understanding that decision. I didn't, though.

When he and Yoko were in Philadelphia to tape a week's worth of Mike Douglas shows, I watched as a small group of people gathered into a mob as it followed them from the studio to their hotel a half block away.

They waited for an elevator, pinned to the doors by the crowd, while people yelled out things like "I love you, John!" and "I grew up with ya, John!"

John Lennon looked scared to death.

In the end, of course, hiding out from them didn't save him. It only made them want a piece of him all the more.

We're still pinning him to the elevator door.

Former local news anchor Larry Kane, who has milked the fact that he once interviewed The Beatles in 1964 beyond respectability, has come out with a new book about John that somehow parlays his brief moments with the Fabs into what is now his second Beatle-related effort.

Lennon Revealed, complete with the appropriately gauzy cover shot, is a sad book that, contrary to the promise of its title, has nothing to say but lots of room to say it in. Its purpose is to take your money. And yet it's littered with quotes from various Breakfast With The Beatles jocks from around the country (every city has one, apparently) telling you how essential it is. With admirable restraint, Publishers Weekly observed, "A final chapter of letters written by Lennon fans, however, feels tacked on." Hey, the man had pages to fill! You can't expect him to write the whole thing!

Seems Larry didn't get the memo that the best way to honor Lennon's memory might not be to milk his corpse until it's dry. Perhaps his next offering will be one of those empty diary books with John's face slapped on it.

That way the reader can write the whole thing this time around and probably do a much better job.

And that way, Kane can devote that much more time and energy to Bonaduce Revealed, a post-mortem whose time should be arriving any day now.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Cleetus Santana said...

Larry should had named the book- Ticket to Ride Part Deux. At least Mr. Kane's first tome had some merit as an insiders view of the first Beatles tours across the US.

I never understood the God-like worship of any musical icon by some folks. The few times I met any famous musician, it was always respectful, sincere and never over the top.

John was blessed with an amazing gift for songwriting as well as social commentary (He had his demons too). A terrible loss that he was cut down at 40....just when he seemed ready to produce some more brilliant music. Tomorrow Never Knows...

Monday, October 10, 2005 9:14:00 PM  
Blogger Count Screwloose said...

Point taken, Cleetus. I don't begrudge the man one Beatle book, after all, he did have some personal experience with the subject. It's when they start to make a career out of it that I get annoyed. From what I understand, some of that first book gets recycled here.

There's just something creepy and stale about it, like living in a house with the blinds drawn. Chances are if you keep your eyes focused on the past, you're going to miss what's going on now.

Your level-headed approach to expressing your appreciation sounds like the healthiest way to go, but I can't claim I always managed it myself. And I know more than a couple of people who were inevitably disappointed when they got too close to the objects of their adoration. How could they not be?

It was particularly wrenching to lose him just as he was coming back, as you say. The wife still can't listen to (Just Like) Starting Over. Too many painful memories.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005 1:32:00 AM  

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