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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Correspond via: kenwoodlennon@googlemail.com

Thursday, 30 January 2014

The Beatles: 160 Intimate Questions.

A word to the wise: though these date from early '64, and are therefore more likely to have some authentic Fabs input, fan mags were churning guff out at speed in vast quantities during the peak years of worldwide mania, often by making little or nothing go a very long way indeed. As Alan Partridge might put it, a lie is a lie.
However, there is enough authentic detail (e.g. the names of John's half-sisters) sprinkled throughout these questionnaires to allow that, give or take some translation into Americanese for the "market", ver lads did indeed respond thusly. Note, amongst other things, John's Kenwood-anticipating response to the question re. where he'd like to live, and George's description of first meeting Paul.
Download 'em for a readable view (you'll need to zoom in), and, for once, no further guff from me, thank ye very much.

The Magickal Childe: 35 West 19th Street, Manhattan, NY.

Hey Dullblog-ite Michael Gerber recently expressed the desire that someone dig a little deeper into John's NYC, getting beyond the quotidian (yer Dakotas and Bank Streets) to some of his lesser known hangouts. In so doing, he suggested a couple for starters, which (leaving Korean brothels to one side for the mo) brings me to The Magickal Childe shop on W 19th street.
According to Michael Lloyd's biography of Eddie Buczynski, this place was frequented not only by John and Yoko, but also Paul and Linda, and George too.
John's interest in the occult is fairly well documented (e.g. mentioning Crowley's Book Of Lies as a personal fave in the March '74 Crawdaddy interview, taking "destiny-altering" clockwise (or was it anti-clockwise) round the world trips etc), and Fred Seaman's book (which should, admittedly, be treated with a spoonful of sodium) has several passages on this topic, e.g. John's cynicism-tinged fascination with Theosophy and the like.
The Magickal Childe was Manhattan's main repository and purveyor of Neo-Pagan/Wiccan/etc goods, a by all accounts bizarre, claustrophobic, cluttered mish-mash of all things occult, from rare herbs and incense ingredients stored in jars along the walls, to books, apparel, ritual swords, a human skull in a case...you name it.
The shop's owner, Herman Slater, dubbed "Horrible Herman" due to his habit of shouting at irritating customers, catered for all those of an occult-minded bent from the mid-70s on. The place finally closed in 1999, a few years following Herman's death.
T'ínternet being what it is, however, some traces remain. Above, on the left, the shop frontage as John would have known it (decidedly subfusc), and a later incarnation as featured in the Nicholas Cage film Vampire's Kiss (another truly extraordinary performance by NC).
A video produced by Herman (find it on YouTube ye seekers) allows a glimpse of the interior. Those jars of incense and spell-making ingredients:

Bits and pieces (which remind one (or at least me) of the shelves in the sunroom):

The building remains, though, and it's now a tapas place called Sala One Nine:

It is intriguing that, apparently, all the ex-Fabs bar His Schnozzness were moved to investigate The Magical Childe... but then again, Crowley was probably on the cover of Pepper for a reason. So mote it be. (Or summat.)

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Kenwood: if the face fits.

Back to that "French seamstress"; regulahs will be bored to discover a name attached to these familiar photos, namely "Simone".

The jacket itself pops up again at Sotheby's NY in 1990 - John had given it to an assistant in 1970, who in turn sold it at the aforementioned auction (see above, right). Described as a "Pocket Coat", they weren't kidding, featuring as it does 10 pockets - and a lining of gold brocade, no less.

The "innaresting" thing though, is the label - "Simone//June '67". Which begs the questions, who and whither "Simone"? The catalogue is convinced that said Simone was a member of The Fool, but there was no-one of that name in the collective. There was, o' course, Simon Posthuma, and The Fool were resident at Kenwood painting John's piano when the above "fitting" photo was taken. So might the "French seamstress" actually be Marijke? No - unless everyone was joining John in swapping clothes with the gayest of abandons, then these (taken on the same day) are of two different people:

So, in conclusion, I dunno. On which note, belated Season's Gratings to all readahs.