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.

Comments Blah: Comments are moderated. Any genuine comments are welcome. Offensive comments/advertising/trolling/other moronicisms are not, and will be rejected. Due to the aforementioned, anonymous comments are no longer enabled. Comments are the responsibility of the individual commenter, and commenters' opinions do not necessarily reflect my own. (NB: This blog revels in flagrant trivia. If that's not yer "thing", this won't be yer "thang".)

Correspond via: kenwoodlennon@googlemail.com

Friday, 25 December 2015

Shaftsbury Avenue: ...If Ye Want It.

A seasonal quickie... unt why not?
Then unt now. Funnily enough, what now abuts the "War Is Over" wall is The Japan Centre.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Lennonology: Book of the Year.

Friends, we are living through a golden age of Beatles research. Mr Lewisohn's magisterial All These Years is at the top of the heap, but there's going to have to be some room made up there because there's a new big dawgie in town: woofwoofwoofawoooooooocoughcoughsplutter ahem etc.
To be serious though for a second, Chip Madinger and Scott Raile's Lennonology Volume 1: Strange Days Indeed is a truly remarkable work. John and Yoko's lives from 1968 to 1980 are chronicled and contextualized in astonishing detail, and reading the book is such an immersive experience that it's with a kind of shock that one arrives at the section for 1980 and realizes what's coming.
Upon finishing SDI I'd learned a lot, and better understood what I thought I knew. Can't really ask for much more from a book than that.
To this end, I'm happy to take a cue from Sara over at MTBFR and name Lennonology: Strange Days Indeed the inaugural Kenwood Book of the Year.
That being so, I lobbed a few questions at Chip Madinger, and he was kind enough to respond, as follows:

KL: How did you put Strange Days Indeed together?

CM: When Eight Arms To Hold You was published in October 2000, I promptly started collating material for an update. I went through the Lennon section and made a list of people that I'd like to interview, topics that needed more research, etc... and I never got past John! I created a timeline to use as a framework, and as more information was discovered it began to take on its current form. I began to interview people, who would introduce me to others, and the project began to snowball.
About five years into the project Scott Raile came on board, and it was when we started to look at Yoko's work and John's contributions that we realized that there was an untold story there. From a research perspective, the project was started from scratch and only contemporary accounts that could be verified or were documented made it into the timeline—this was not a cut and paste affair. Rather than count on an individual's memory of forty-plus-year-old events, the interviews were then used to add color and detail to the framework.
However, there was one problem—there was too much information to include and had it been incorporated the result would have been very inconsistent. It was at that point that the whole LENNONOLOGY concept began to take shape, with the the timeline serving as Volume One and subsequent books detailing the creative process and the realization, production and promotion of John and Yoko's artistic output.

KL: Were there any stories that had to be left out for any reason (eg unverifiable source material) that you wish you'd been able to include, and is there anything that you've discovered since the book went to the printers that you'd like to have included?

CM:  As a term of their employment, members of the Lennons' staff were required to sign a letter of non-disclosure. But Strange Days Indeed is a reference book, not a biography, so I'm not sure how much "verifiable" data would have been offered by the individuals who declined the opportunity to speak about their time with the Lennons.
I would have like to have provided more information about the years with Sean, but that was clearly a private time for John and Yoko. There are countless stories about this time period, but since they could only be verified by one of the individuals present, we elected to leave this type of information for the biographies and the "kiss and tells." Perhaps some day Yoko will publish John's diaries which would clearly offer much more about this time frame than we could have hoped to discover.
That's not to say that SDI doesn't have anything to offer about this period. Through the documents we reviewed and the people we spoke with, there is a wealth of new information about 1975-1980 than the handful of frequently recycled press clippings. One exciting document we were able to review was John's passport, which permitted us to definitively document his movements during this time frame.
As for any newly discovered material, something always seems to be turning up - doesn't it? Be it a new photograph, a document or a piece of tape or film. However, I'm not terribly worried about that as I'm sure that there will be some way to weave any new data into one of the future volumes.

KL: There are so many intriguing details in the book, but to take one at random - I had no idea that plans for John's follow-up to Walls & Bridges/ Rock 'N' Roll had got as far in 1975 as booking a studio to begin sessions. Of course, due to Yoko's pregnancy, it didn't happen, but what do you think would have been on that album if sessions had proceeded as originally planned?

CM: In the mid-70s John was smitten with disco music, and his plan was to go into the studio with an eye towards producing an album of that nature. He intended to use a fresh group of musicians with Billy Preston being the exception, as John liked to see "a familiar face." As will become evident in future volumes of LENNONOLOGY, John would tend to procrastinate when it came to writing, preferring to have the studio booked—a commitment as it were—before wrapping up the songwriting process. So I don't think he had a full batch of songs in order at the time, and one could only speculate which of his own compositions might have been included. John did remark that he might record some of the songs he had given away as of late—presumably, songs such as 'Incantation', 'Mucho Mungo' and 'Goodnight Vienna'.

KL:  John's last few years have sometimes been portrayed in a negative light. One of the great things about your book is that it really drives home what a legal and personal shit-storm John and Yoko had been through in the early-mid 1970's. In this light, the late 70's appear (largely) a period of calm. How would you characterize John & Yoko's relationship/ mind-set during this time?

CM: There were still a number of legal issues that were ongoing during this period: John's immigration, his battle with Morris Levy over the Rock 'N' Roll LP, the surfeit of lawsuits surrounding their business relationship with Allan Klein... I don't think that it was until this legal wrangling had been settled that the Lennons were able to truly relax and be as normal a family as their fame would permit. They were able to exist as artists without the demands of a contract or formal outlet—something I think that John had an easier time with than Yoko, who was able to channel her energies into their investments.
John mentioned on a number of occasions how liberated he felt as a result of being able to move about in public without being recognized or harassed.

KL: This is part 1 of, I believe, 3. What format will future volumes take?

CM: This is something that is still being worked out—to be honest, I'm currently enjoying the absence of the pressures present during the past fifteen years! However, I have given it a lot of thought, and the goal of the future volumes will be to provide the detail that wasn't included in SDI. The day-by-day would have been very unbalanced if in the midst of 1971 there was a thirty page chunk about the filming of Imagine, or a take-by-take analysis of John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. The future volumes will provide an outlet for that kind of information.
Many readers may find the forthcoming books to be of greater interest than SDI, but I feel that it was critical to first provide the framework, so that the artistic process could be viewed in context. There is a lot to look forward to!

Thanks to Chip for his responses. Go HERE for more information and to order a copy.
On a personal note, I'd like to wish the usual Garry Chrimble to all readahs, with some Happy New Etc. to boot.
Sporadic blog updates will continue into 2016, as, I trust, will we all.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Sunny Heights: demolition.

Sad news to report. Elmbridge Council, in their infinite wisdom, have waived through planning permission to demolish Sunny Heights. A Russian oligarch is about to flatten it in order to build the structure on the right. A contact on St George's Hill informs me that the house is still standing (it's an artist's impression above, not an actual photo), but is abandoned, awaiting destruction.
It should be stated that the new owner hasn't done anything wrong here, but at the same time, to take Russia as an example, it would be unthinkable there that someone could buy up, say, Tolstoy's house in order to destroy it.
Now, you may think that comparing Ringo to Tolstoy is ridiculous, and you'd be right - but I'd argue that it's in no way ridiculous to compare the Beatles as cultural giants in their sphere with any of the great Russian authors in theirs. The difference is that in Russia (as in many other countries) they tend to revere their culture, and want to protect places associated with the great figures of the past. Which, as in this case, is not always true here.
So that's Kinfauns and Sunny Heights gone. A shame.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Kenwood: summer, 1967.

These have been on here before, in sub-standard quality. Here they are again, much bigger unt better...

Thanks to Joe Baiardi.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Kenwood, Kinfauns & Sunny Heights: summer, 1967.

Way back in the summer o' '67, had you made your way to St George's Hill and utilised the naughty knocker at Kenwood, this might have been what shambled forth as a result - a fabulously dishevelled John, resplendent in dressing gown, talisman and norralot else.

A colour shot of the caravan from around the same time:

George outside Kinfauns, engaged in 'graphs:

Mr Starkey at the front door of dear old Sunny Heights, likewise:

I've stitched the following further Sunny ones together (each is a composite of 2 separate photos, fact fans) to provide a wider perspective. The upper floor here was home to the Den, where the Fabs did frequently hang:

No idea who took the black and white ones, but should you ever happen to read this then please do get in touch for a credit - I'd like to hear the story behind them. Thanks also to Joe Baiardi for passing on the colour caravan shot.

Monday, 21 September 2015

NYC: Q&A, 1975.

This is great. John in the Dakota, ca. autumn/winter 1975, sharing his thoughts about NYC for local radio station WNEW. The programme this was intended for never made it to air, but, in the way of these things, the tape has now surfaced. And here 'tis.
Thanks to Lizzie Bravo for the link.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Lennonology: Volume 1.

If you are interested enough to occasionally peruse these pages, then ye will no doubt already be aware of Chip Madinger and Scott Raile's forthcoming tome Lennonology, volume 1 of a 3 or possibly 4 part work, which should be the definitive guide to John and Yoko's joint lives and art. This first volume takes the form of a diary, beginning in 1966 (for obvious reasons) and running up to 1980 (ditto).

What you may not know is that the entire first three chapters are now up on the Lennonology site, and freely available to preview; '66 and '67 are fairly short (given that the focus is on John and Yoko together), but '68 is a huge and hugely informative piece of research (some of the fruit of 15 years' worth) in which, regardless of how much you know, you'll learn something new with every few entries, and also come away with a much clearer understanding of what happened when, where and why.

To take one example: the date and chronology of the Two Virgins night has never been satisfactorily explained. Previous attempts haven't made much sense even on their own terms, but the new order of events given by Madinger and Raile does (though we'll have to wait for the publication of the notes to see how they arrived at this conclusion).

The book is being privately published by them, in a strictly limited edition, so it's not cheap, but if you can afford it (or can manage to lay off the beer for a while to save for it) then it's clearly going to be a major contribution to all this (whatever this is) and one for the ages. Go HERE for the previewed chapters, and HERE for the Lennonology home page, where clicking through will take you to the order form.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Pepper: dolls.

Apologies for the lack of activity round these parts of late; it's surprisingly time consuming to get even a scrap of this rubbish together, and free time is in short supply these days. Anyway, there's no shortage of stuff to post, as and when, so... gerronwithit.
I hadn't seen these pics before. I'm sure no red arrows are needed to recognise the basket's contents, but nevertheless:

There are also another couple of dolls (or toys) in there:

Various photos showing the construction of the Pepper sleeve reveal lots of other stuff that didn't make the final cut, and there are a few such things evident in this splendid pic o' Mal:

Ye can waste yer own time identifying them, but here's one for starters - a small collection of figures:

And whither the doll? As is often the case... I dunno. PS Note luggage tag (haha)(it couldn't be, could it?).

Monday, 22 June 2015

Apple: Inside Crazy World Thereof.

In June 1969, august organ the TV Times (of all things) published a 3-part eye witness snapshot of goings on inside 3 Savile Row. Much of interest, and so, without the usual level of ado, here 'tis:

As ever, click and zoom to read. Huge thanks to Andy Neill for PDF and pint.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Kew: 79 Mortlake Road.

Freddie Lennon stayed at Kenwood for a time in late 1967, before deciding that he'd be better off somewhere a bit less isolated. To this end, a ground floor flat was found for him in nearby Kew, at 79 Mortlake Road (above). John came here at least once, after Fred had happened upon Cynthia in a local club and drunkenly admonished her. Cue cussing, as John hammered on the door here and allegedly advised Alf that, "If you can't keep your bloody mouth shut, the feud between us will be on again and we'll see what Fleet Street makes of that."
Now, those who feel, with some reason, that the flagrantly trivial is taken to self-parodic depths round these parts may wish to avert their eyes at this point, but amongst Dot Jarlett's clippings was a folder of related ephemera; for example, a luggage tag with the word "Beatles" scrawled on it, a postcard of Hoylake, some fan-related stuff from Japan, and then several items that are less obviously connected, including the following sheet from esteemed local bakers o' cake Cook & Butler, headed Christmas 1967:

The aforementioned Yule was unique in being the only Chrimble that John, as an adult, spent with his father. Fred joined the celebrations at Kenwood, and, though pure conjecture on my part, I bet that Dot was asked to look after Christmas dinner and get the cake in, and thus kept this sheet as a memento:

Edible nonsense. My thanks to Mr Mark Lewisohn for the Kew pic, and for sleuthing the address.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Kenwood: "mad, mad pad."

I've been after this for a long time, so was pleased to find it amongst Dot Jarlett's clippings; from the Evening News, March 1969, a guided tour of Kenwood, then being used as little more than storage by John and Yoko:

Note the last Kenwood sighting of the Fool piano, which has for some reason migrated to the "library":

These have all been scanned hi-res, so download and zoom in to read.