Wednesday, March 6, 2013

"More popular than Jesus"

John's infamous claim about The Beatles' popularity relative to Jesus Christ's was first published 47 years ago on Monday. It was part of an article written by Maureen Cleave for the London Evening Standard entitled, "How does a Beatle live? John Lennon lives like this." Perhaps a better headline would have been, "John Lennon owns too much stuff." Cleave paints John as a somewhat befuddled megastar steeped in superfluous possessions and disconnected from reality. It's an interesting piece. You can tell that Cleave very much likes John on a personal level - she was a friend of The Beatles' - but the way she describes him at times is far from flattering. She's sympathetic but not uncritical, charmed but bemused.
Read the entire article here.
He is much the same as he was before. He still peers down his nose, arrogant as an eagle, although contact lenses have righted the short sight that originally caused the expression. He looks more like Henry VIII than ever now that his face has filled out - he is just as imperious, just as unpredictable, indolent, disorganised, childish, vague, charming and quick-witted. He is still easy-going, still tough as hell. 'You never asked after Fred Lennon,' he said, disappointed. (Fred is his father; he emerged after they got famous.) 'He was here a few weeks ago. It was only the second time in my life I'd seen him - I showed him the door.' He went on cheerfully: 'I wasn't having him in the house.'
. . .
One feels that his possessions - to which he adds daily - have got the upper hand; all the tape recorders, the five television sets, the cars, the telephones of which he knows not a single number. The moment he approaches a switch it fuses; six of the winking boxes, guaranteed to last till next Christmas, have gone funny already. His cars - the Rolls, the Mini-Cooper (black wheels, black windows), the Ferrari (being painted black) - puzzle him. Then there's the swimming pool, the trees sloping away beneath it. 'Nothing like what I ordered,' he said resignedly. He wanted the bottom to be a mirror. 'It's an amazing household,' he said. 'None of my gadgets really work except the gorilla suit - that's the only suit that fits me.'

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