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*.

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Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Quarry Bank: September, 1952.

Ex hoc metallo virtutem, indeed. Above, Form 1R, featuring the infamous Shennon and Lotton, top left. Regulah readahs of this drivel will know of the fondness round 'ese parts for Pete Shotton's autobiography, so I was especially pleased to stumble upon this pic the other evening, as it puts faces to at least a couple of names in the aforementioned tome.
Apparently John, as a youth, would invariably push people to see what he could get away with; the trick, as always, was to push back and Pete, to his credit, didn't put up with any shit from young Master Lennon.
The book recounts a couple of occasions when John took the piss once too often, both times being rewarded with a blow, meted out by the aggrieved Shotton, to his not inconsiderable schnozz...and thus was a friendship cemented. Ahh, schoolboy violence.
Anyway, it's all in the bewk, but following the second such outrage, Pete remained in a state of high dudgeon, such that for a couple of weeks he ignored John and took up with another classmate, David Jones. To wit, circled:

This stalemate was brought to an end by the time honoured remedy of John nicking the unfortunate Jones' bicycle, and appearing before Pete astride the contraband with a cheeky grin. The scamp... and thus was a friendship cemented. Ahh, schoolboy petty larceny.
The most memorable anecdote regarding the Quarry Bank era concerns Pete finding a stash of old dinner tickets, worth a shilling each, which he and John wasted no time in selling to classmates at half price, a lucrative ruse brought to an end only when the school started to get suspicious, and staff began noting down the numbers of any tickets used.
John and Pete managed to buy back all the unused tickets from their classmates in time - except for one, owned by a Donald Beattie, who refused to return the offending item to the pair, and proceeded to use it to obtain lunch.
Our titular miscreants were, naturally, convinced they were about to go to prison, particularly when Beattie was summoned to the Head's office the next day to explain how he had come to use an old ticket. Master Beattie, circled:

As it turned out, Beattie was a bigger wind-up merchant than John, and had only refused to sell it back in order to put the shits up them (to coin a phrase), something in which he succeeded spectacularly. He fobbed the Head off with a story about having had an old ticket left from a prior occasion when he'd skipped lunch, and was rewarded with a suitable display of gratitude from John and Pete...and thus was a friendship etc. Ah, etc.
Pete has rather gone to ground these days. Last sighted living in Paphos, Cyprus, he is apparently badly afflicted by arthritis. Impossible not to feel a deal of affection for him, fanks to the bewk wot he writ, so one hopes he is enjoying his dotage, and still managing to get up to at least a small amount of mischief, despite the maladies of old age.


  1. this is interesting! i didn't know he had written a book. must look for it.

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  3. Jesus! You have to get hold of a copy. John Lennon - In My Life by Pete Shotton and Nicholas Schaffner. My all time favourite Beatles book (though it may well be superseded by Mr Lewisohn's forthcoming tomes).

  4. i will definitely look for it then!

  5. I recall the book at the time (early 80s) among the other books that seemed to come out all at once — I'm guessing it's long out of print by now?

  6. It is long gone, but you can find copies fairly easily on eBay. Pete was with John all the way from the age of 5 up to around 30. He even lived at Kenwood for much of the period 1966-1968. Anyone who is interested enough to "read" this blog from time to time really should try to track a copy down.

  7. 'Tis my most well-loved Beatles tome as well. They changed the title in the last printing to The Beatles, Lennon, and Me (for some reason), and it's easily purchased on Amazon. Anecdotes aplenty indeed! A Scouser youth well spent.