Over the gate...

Designed in 1913 by Victorian/Edwardian/other architect Theophilus A Allen; John Lennon's house between 1964 and 1968; sunroom, attic and prisco stripe hibernice; Mellotron and caravan; Babidji and Mimi; mortar and pestle; Wubbleyoo Dubbleyoo; curios and curiosity; remnants and residue; testimonials and traces; (Cavendish Avenue, Sunny Heights and Kinfauns); Montagu Square; mock Tudor: Brown House: *KENWOOD*.

(Also available as a blog.)

Legal Blah: This blog is for historical research only, and is strictly non-commercial. All visual and audio material remains the property of the respective copyright owner, and no implication of ownership by me is intended or should be inferred. Any copyright owner who wants something removed should contact me and I will do so immediately. Alternatively, I would be delighted to provide a credit. The writing is by me, such as it is, unless otherwise stated, and this is the only Beatles related blog I am responsible for.

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Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Nothing Box: more nothing.

As a little addendum to the Nothing Boxes - more John with same, captured in 1965, by photographer Brian Duffy. Duffy recalled that John had just come back from the US, where he'd had his teeth "done", which supports the idea that he bought them (the Nothing Boxes, not his teeth - that would be ridiculous) whilst in the States. Note: in the last pic he's started doing that weird thing with his tongue that he did - possibly as a result of having his teeth fixed. See my forthcoming four volume study "The Tongue Movements Of John Lennon: A Four Volume Study". I jest (lest there be any doubt).
Duffy further recalled that John was "just like any nice, normal, intelligent person." Wot no "antics"?!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Kenwood: Nothing Boxes.

Maureen Cleave described it thusly: "In the sitting room are eight little green boxes with winking red lights; he bought them as Christmas presents but never got round to giving them away. They wink for a year; one imagines him sitting there till next Christmas, surrounded by the little winking boxes." For Peter Brown, it was this(ly): "Across one of the cabinet doors (in the sunroom) John had stuck an advertising sticker that said "Milk Is Good". On the top shelf was a set of black light boxes, twinkling silently, while on the table in the corner a green lava lamp slowly undulated."
And so it goes on... the Nothing Box is a must-have feature of any self-respecting description of Kenwood; as we've seen, John owned several, and liked them too, so the story goes, largely because on acid one can apparently think of nothing better than a box that blinks lights on and off at random until the battery runs out. Look the thing up on t'internet, and you'll be told that Magic Alex was the inventor; this was what first drew John to him, for reasons outlined above.
The question, as ever, is "How much of this is bullshit?" The answer, as ever, is "Probably a fair bit". John must have bought them (if Christmas presents they were) sometime in 1965, and possibly in (or from) the US; they were certainly on sale there, as the following advert proves:

Peter Brown (who manages to get at least two things wrong in the above quote) said that Alex invented a "light box" for the Rolling Stones stage show; I can't have been the only one to have read accounts of the Nothing Box over the years, and imagined something spectacularly psychedelic. Which it isn't. And it's clearly not suitable for drawing attention away from the prannying antics of Sir Mick Jagger. So Alex's light box and the Nothing Box are unlikely to be the same thing.
Curiously, of all the photos taken inside Kenwood, not a single one shows a Nothing Box.
Now, you're obviously thinking "Yes! I must have one!" But as far as I know, to do so you'll need to acquire a bent for at-home electronics, and then make yer own. Here's the schematic:

...and more details (and a completed one) can be found on the site of a Mr Mike Ellis HERE.
Interestingly, the Nothing Box wasn't the only such thing at Kenwood. In February 1967, John bought H. Garcia Rossi's Boite Lumineuse No. 19 (that's Light Box No. 19 to you and me, unless you are French), a canny investment:

Horacio Garcia Rossi was the key figure in the group GRAV, whose idea was to create art not for “the eyes of the cultivated, the sensitive, the intellectual, the aesthete or the connoisseur”, but rather to construct a new kind of universal art that could be appreciated by anyone with a functioning eye or two. Light was, therefore, the medium of choice. Also interestingly, if you read Hunter Davies's biography, largely constructed around at-home interviews conducted in 1967, the GRAV manifesto, applied to music (and ears), is almost exactly what the Beatles were espousing (though John, for one, had changed his tune a little by the end of the following year).
Anyway, here's one of Rossi's light boxes, though not the one John bought:

Here endeth the bullshit (for today). (PS If any of you crazy kids out there can actually make a Nothing Box (let alone a Boite Lumineuse), do write in.)

Saturday, 16 April 2011

50 Pubs Associated With The Beatles:...

No. 42: Childwall Fiveways Hotel. These days a Wetherspoons, the car park of this pub provided the venue for a famous portrait of Eppy plus "stable". The area is pretty much unchanged almost 50 years on:

The wall unhacked to bits by Japanese admirers, thus far:

I have it on good authority that these pics weren't taken in November '63, as is sometimes claimed, but rather on the morning of June 18th, ie Paul's birthday, and the day John took a shovel to Bob Wooler. Licensing laws back then restricted opening hours to 12 noon–2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.–9:30 p.m. It's possible that a pint or two had already been sunk when these pics were taken, and equally possible that so it continued. John was a notoriously bad drunk after more than a couple, and would lay into people verbally, and occasionally physically, as Bob could attest (though he never did). Still, it was all fun and games at this point:

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Kenwood: summer, 1967.

I said there would be more of these:

... and so there are. Speaking of the sunroom, which I wasn't, the virtual one is almost complete. I've had a preview, and, to use the parlance, it blew my (admittedly ravaged) mind. Check out the Beatles In 3D blog (link under Friends & Neighbours) for some updates, and watch this space.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Kenwood: more video - 2010.

The latest from Joe Baiardi, showing the state of play at Kenwood towards the end of last year. Nothing internal, but plenty oot. The bits of most interest are (probably) at around 13.30 (a glimpse of the hitherto unseen area round the former garage side) and 14.30 (those steps are owld). The sounds, as regular "readahs" will know, are those of John (plus an occasional Richie) arsing around in the attic circa '66/7.
The new swimming pool is clearly a bit of a footsore, and the new windows are a poor idea. But I've said all this before, to no purpose beyond bleating into the wind.
Many thanks to Joe, as ever.