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

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.