Saturday, October 03, 2015

Imagine that

John Lennon's song Imagine was voted in 1999 as having Britain's favourite lyrics. Which is a sad thing as the lyrics are so awful.

We are invited in the song to imagine that there is no heaven; that people live only for today; that there are no countries; no religion; no possessions; and one global culture.

It is an anthem for a denatured individualism. So I was interested to read that a new book by Dominic Sandbrook has concluded that Lennon was not a peace-loving visionary but selfishly individualistic and a hypocrite.

According to Sandbrook Lennon's "driving thought was only ever: 'Me, me, me'" and that his career was marked by an "astonishing degree of self-absorption." Sandbrook notes that "Even his most admiring biographers struggle to justify his cruel streak."

And the hypocrisy is mind-boggling. Lennon dreamed of a world without possessions. Yet he chose to indulge in a millionaire lifestyle on a magnificent country estate in England. When living in New York, his partner Yoko Ono had a refrigerated room built in their luxury apartment to store her collection of fur coats. This inspired Elton John to send Lennon the following ditty:

'Imagine six apartments / It isn't hard to do / One is full of fur coats / The other's full of shoes.'

He seems to have been one of those men whom the poet Sir Walter Scott criticised as being "concentrated all in self".


  1. When Bob Dylan converted to Christianity in 1979, he wrote an excellent song called "Serve Somebody"(the theme of which was that one had the choice of either serving God or Satan and that there was no neutral ground). In response, Lennon wrote "Serve Yourself", the theme of which ought to be quite obvious. Not very long after, one Mark David Chapman served himself.

  2. Lennon was really a loathsome person. He beat women and acted like a prick. His son Julian hated him. From Wiki -

    "Following his father's murder, Lennon voiced anger and resentment toward him, saying

    I've never really wanted to know the truth about how dad was with me. There was some very negative stuff talked about me ... like when he said I'd come out of a whiskey bottle on a Saturday night. Stuff like that. You think, where's the love in that? Paul and I used to hang about quite a bit ... more than Dad and I did. We had a great friendship going and there seems to be far more pictures of me and Paul playing together at that age than there are pictures of me and my dad.

    Lennon was also irked by hearing his father's peace-loving stance perpetually celebrated. He told the London Telegraph, "I have to say that, from my point of view, I felt he was a hypocrite", he said, "Dad could talk about peace and love out loud to the world but he could never show it to the people who supposedly meant the most to him: his wife and son. How can you talk about peace and love and have a family in bits and pieces—no communication, adultery, divorce? You can't do it, not if you're being true and honest with yourself."""

    That song from Elton is a classic.

    Celebrities are almost all bad, they are truly the epitome of our age. The question isn't whether one is bad, but whether you wish to trawl through the internet to find evidence of it.

    I prefer to just go with the assumption.