PRAVDA: LENNON REMEMBERS, VERSO, NEW YORK, NEW YORK




On first glance at the cover of Lennon Remembers, a book of the Rolling Stone interviews with John Lennon by Jann S Wenner, I processed the information as a biography of Lenin the Communist leader. I often make these processing errors—mistaking the less common for the more. I suppose the error really depends on what circles you do or do not travel in. On second look I thought fleetingly, why would Rolling Stone have anything to do with a book about V I Lenin? And then the game was up and my folly over. Lennon the cover clearly read, though the bespectacled portrait of the walrus dully starring out above the name does look like a back woods American Communist just off Brook Farm.
I cannot remember first hearing the Beatles. My entire life they have held status as a permanent musical monument. However, in my mind the Beatles have always been inexplicably connected to grainy television footage from The Ed Sullivan Show and to my mother. In fact, I connect them more not with my mother exactly but with a story she tells about first hearing them. The first time my mother heard the Beatles she was in a room at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel being fitted for a Seventeen magazine photo shoot. The magazine had come to her high school looking for a local to be highlighted in they’re Hawaiian spread. So there is my mother and two relatively famous teenage models in stiff but brightly hued clothes in the process of being pulled stiffer. A small radio in the room is playing low, one radio hit becomes another as the girl closest leaps to turn up the volume. “Its the Beatles, they’re playing them here too!” she squeals to no one in particular and I Wanna Hold Your Hand fills all the space around them. I am in silent bafflement as what their sound must have made that young model or my mother for that matter feel, the world that was opened up.
Flipping through that issue of Seventeen now every outfit seems to support a body, suspend it in some unnatural but staid pose. Reading Lennon Remembers is not fodder for the teenage mania or the myth of the Beatles, but rather a deconstruction of it, and a personal one. Lennon’s memories of the Beatles are needless to say not ours. They are tales from the bowels of the Capitalist machine of Pop music, and they are haunting. Hearing the Beatles now with John Lennon’s commentary running fresh through my mind, it is a struggle to remain an innocent spectator, to enjoy a song or show when aware of the starchy facade with the engine and fray just behind.

Laurel Broughton
Brooklyn, New York
2000