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Tuesday, 24 March 2009

24 hours: Alexandra Palace & Dorinish, April 29/30, 1967.








On 29 April, 1967, John and partner-in-tea John Dunbar were in the sunroom at Kenwood watching television. A programme came on BBC2 mentioning the 14 Hour Technicolour Dream, being held that evening at the Ally Pally as it's known. The two Johns had been up for several days drinking tea, and decided to jump in the psychedelic Roller and attend. This they did, though they didn't stay for long. Accounts differ as to whether John knew that Yoko was also there that evening, managing one of her Cut Piece events. The following day, the two Johns headed off to view Dorinish (see previous posts), which John, of course, later bought. Here are drawings, one of them made by John, the other by an architect commissioned by him, of the structure that John planned to have built there. He visited Dorinish again in 1968, accompanied by Yoko, Pete Shotton and Ronan O'Rahilly, founder of Radio Caroline. John later donated the island to a hippie commune, who did actually attempt to live there for a couple of years, before establishing a similar community in Wales. John's famous quote about living off the coast of Ireland, looking at his and Yoko's "scrapbook of madness" when they were 64 was inspired by Dorinish. Apparently, he never forgot about the island and was talking about re-visiting it and finally building a house there shortly before his death.(Still no idea what happened to the caravan, mind you).

7 comments:

  1. I remember reading about the Beatles wanting to build some kind of futuristic living/studio complex on that GREEK island they wanted to buy.
    Something about living quarters on the beach and a studio in the middle, all connected by tubes or such. So I wonder if these paintings served a double purpose (or one of the island stories is wrong).

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  2. The Beatles had several plans to live communally - including, once, at Tittenhurst Park. Long before John bought it, they went up to have a look with a view to turning it into a commune. Obviously, by the time John did actually buy the place, any thoughts of communal living were long dead. The drawings here were sold at auction as relating to Dorinish (which doesn't mean that's what they are, of course!). I thought the plan in Greece was to have a group of islands: one each, and then a communal central island. John definitely had plans for a home on Dorinish himself, though. Yet again, who really knows?

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  3. As far as I know the island they were checking out in greece did not feature several smaller islands off shore, though it would have featured several beaches.
    This is the first time I heard of the Tittenhurst visit/plan - where did you pick up that one?
    But I just read in the new Lennon bio that they thought of doing a commune somewhere in Great Britain (not at the sea) with a group of houses like a little village.

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  4. There were various communal plans over the years, I believe. Brian Epstein is usually credited with the first - he had the idea of a 'Beatle village' in Surrey, with the four of them living walking distance away from him. It never came to pass....Then there were the Greek/Tittenhurst ideas.

    Just wondering...the footage of 24 hour that you can find on Youtube: were they professionally filmed? And, if so, what programme did they form a part of?

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  5. Yes - the Tittenhurst idea. They all went and saw it in, I think, 1967. But where is the source for this? I've read it - but now I can't find it. Who was it? I'd be grateful if you could let me know where that information comes from.
    I'm not sure what you mean by 24 hour? Do you mean the footage of John and Yoko from 1969? That would be from 24 Hours: The World Of John And Yoko, presented by none other than David Dimbleby (this name will mean nada to anyone not from the UK). There was also concurrent documentary footage being shot for ATV's Man Of The Decade.

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  6. The article mentions July 24 as the day the caravan was delivered...and the roller the next day. But there are pictures of John & Julian with the car taken at the end of June. Any thoughts?

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  7. The Roller arrived on 25th May, apparently.

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