Ballad of Yoko and John

Who is the real Yoko Ono? Over the years, Yoko has been demonised as an opportunistic businesswoman who broke up The Beatles and prevented their rapprochement, and dominated John Lennon and hijacked his legacy. On the other hand, she has played an instrumental role in the completion of the Lennon Anthology and Beatles Anthology projects, and has been spreading John's message of love and peace around the world.

Yoko was already an established avant-garde artist when John met her at London's Indica Gallery in 1966. In about a couple of years, the pair had become virtually inseparable and started receiving flak not only from Beatles-fans and media (not all of which was free of racism), but also from the band members. As the couple embarked on their bed-in peace movement, the world media came around to ridicule them, a complete reversal from the early 1960s when earnest questions from the Press were met with dead-pan humour by the Fab Four. However, as John conceded in his 1980 interview with Playboy magazine, he was very satisfied with the impact of their commercial for peace: "We're putting the word Peace on the front page of the paper next to all the words about war."

The extensive 237-page interview by David Sheff that concluded two months before Lennon's murder should be required reading for every Beatles-fan, and is guaranteed to bring a lump to the throat or a tear to the eye. When compared with his angry persona in the Rolling Stone interview from a decade earlier, the side of Lennon that leaps out from the pages of this book is more relaxed, optimistic ("I am going to be forty, and life begins at forty") and even vulnerable, although just as passionate. His views on politics and religion are as powerful, and he has no hesitation in declaring that "the idea of leadership is a false god" since "when the good news comes, they worship the messenger and they don't listen to the message."

In the interview (and the companion "Heartplay" LP of unfinished dialogues), John and Yoko come across as modern-day shamans, almost like Richard Bach and Leslie Parrish. Their words are fraught with religious and cultural references that require an occasional browsing of Wikipedia to appreciate (John refers to Yoko's influence on him as similar to the role of Carlos Castaneda's Don Juan Matus, a Yaqui Indian teacher). The discussions range from Mahatma Gandhi, pacifism and ways to counter the war lobby (John and Yoko's "War is Over, If You Want It" campaign was meant to be taken in the spirit of self-prophesying wish-fulfillment, an attitude that may yet prove useful today), to his house-husband phase with their son Sean and his support for women's empowerment. Through all this, his wit remains razor sharp, as when he instantly counters Yoko's statement that "people picture God as an old man with a beard" with "They don't know it's an old woman with a beard"!

While John Lennon's views on war and peace remain as relevant today, we must also bow to his opinion of Yoko Ono, instead of wasting print judging her. John, and only John, should be allowed to have the last word: "If somebody is going to impress me, whether it be a Maharishi or a Yoko Ono, there comes a point when the emperor has no clothes. So for all you folks out there who think that I'm having the wool pulled over my eyes-- well, that's an insult to me. Not that you think less of Yoko, because that's your problem; what I think of her is what counts! But if you think you know me or you own some part of me because of the music I've made, and then you think I'm being controlled like a dog on a leash because I do things with her, then screw you. Anybody who claims to have some interest in me as an individual artist, or even as part of The Beatles, has absolutely misunderstood everything I ever said if they can't see why I'm with Yoko."

Wonsaponatime there was two Balloons called Jock and Yono. They were strictly in love-bound to happen in a million years. They were together man. Unfotunatimetable they both seemed to have previous experience-- which kept calling them one way oranother (you know howitis). But they battled on against overwhelming oddities, includo some of their beast friends. Being in love they cloong even the more together man-- but some of the poisonessmonster of outrated buslodedshithrowers did stick slightly and they occasionally had to resort to the drycleaners. Luckily this did not kill them and they weren't banned from the Olympic Games. They lived hopefully ever after, and who could blame them?
John Lennon, Jock and Yono

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