Thursday, July 20, 2006

Professional widow

Yoko Ono was married to John Lennon from 1969 until his death in 1980. Those eleven years are far outpaced by the nearly twenty-six years since his murder. Yoko has had a successful career as grieving widow, mother, and keeper of the flame that has always seemed to puzzle her.

John at Mendips Mendips sitting room

This evening, I watched a program about Yoko's determination to restore Mendips—Lennon's childhood home on Menlove Avenue in Woolton, Liverpool—and have it looked after by the National Trust.


The whole scene was at once uptight and ordinary; ordinary, ordinary, ORDINARY. Yoko was interviewed in the home where John was raised by his Aunt Mimi, as if Yoko would know anything about it. John's first wife Cynthia would have been the one to ask, but alas, she has been written out of the story.


Mendips has been curated; John's tidy little bedroom is sparsely decorated with small posters of Elvis Presley and Brigitte Bardot (according to knowing fans, the wrong posters). The program showed ordinary Brits filing into the shrine, putting their best "isn't this amazing" faces forward.


The fans' underwhelmed yet cheerful demeanor was contrasted with the earnest seriousness of the trustees. One woman spoke of some detail about which Yoko had been pleased, and a brief expression of smugness flashed across her face, with all the warmth of a colonoscopy.

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