Love is all there is
I see it as a letter to John himself. How else can a young poet arrive? He creates his own platform and lampoons the establishment. The art, the satire and the oblique religious interest are all there. The Spike Milligan bizarreness is apparent (Spike created the radio show called The Goon Show, which John heard, of course), the toadstool, the early genius for uncovering hypocrisy. It’s all there; so young, yet so wise.
Our hidden camera reveals that John was a very good writer who wanted to sell a newspaper and who knew the vicar was a tart. And design was important too.
Back to the future and Yoko writes a Thanksgiving note – or is it John typing the text? “On this day of Thanksgiving we are thinking of you. We wish you a happy life.” Perhaps there were no emails in the New York Lennon kitchen back in 1980.
Mimi and Julia
Flash forward to the past, to Christmas 1951. John writes in joined-up handwriting to his Auntie Harriet: “Thank you for the book you sent to me for Christmas and for the towel with my name on it, and I think it is the best towel I’ve ever seen. The book that you sent me is a very interesting one. I am at the bottom of page 18 at the moment. The story is famous ships, it’s all about a man called Captain Kidd the pirate.”
Of course, John’s mother is absent and his Aunt Mimi is Mum. So what? John and I in India in 1968 on that famous Beatles/ Donovan meditation trip, explored his “no mum” status in his song Julia.
John asked me to help him write a song about the childhood he never had. But this is not sad. Because in ancient Irish culture children were “fostered” to aunts, mainly to protect them, often from a violent death. So to me it seems John was protected by “fosterage”.
Then flash backwards to the future; one letter that Hunter Davies finds shows that John is in touch with his foster parent just before leaving the planet. Hunter writes that “John is dutifully trying to ring Aunt Mimi most days. Presumably Mimi had been telling him as ever what he really ought to do.” The end of the letter is all that survives: “Love, Your nephew in America, Love John PS one cannot have ones BACK TEETH CAPPED!!!” And letters to her and his relatives in “The Pool” promise that he is coming soon to see them. Perhaps a cry for contact. Prior to exit.
Of course I cannot review every letter John wrote, but remember this, a kiss is just a kiss, and John loved Cynthia and John loved Yoko. And of course the clear and crystal truth that shines through all the darkness in that wonder-filled line . . . “Love is all there is”.
Open this book carefully. Maybe your dreams are here. And remember what John taught us all:only the bold are free. Buy or steal this book – it’s worth the risk.