Must have been about seven years old when I first saw the movie Help! with The Beatles. That humor and even better their music immediately appealed to me. And I can remember afterwards stealing the LP of the same name from my brother’s room, and then turning it gray.
More LPs followed. More videos. Every show where The Beatles appeared in, if only for a few minutes, I recorded and watched back, without ever getting bored. I was therefore the only one who used the home stereo and video (yes, the good ol ‘VHS) so much, to wear and tear, in accordance with my mother’s somewhat derisive memory.
Incidentally, I can’t remember calling one of The Beatles an absolute favorite. I thought all of them, the four men, were equally funny, cool and wonderful. Although George had the prettiest smile, Paul the cheekiest look, John was the intellectual of the bunch, and Ringo was always and still is the funniest drummer ever.
This must have led to a peak, because all my savings went to the LPs and posters. Everywhere, in my bedroom, every piece of wallpaper was adorned for years with beautiful snapshots of the group of musicians who have never seen such a match in terms of humor and musicality. With no other pop or rock star.
Across the Universe, by The Beatles
Words are flowing out
Like endless rain into a paper cup
They slither wildly as they slip away across the universe
And then suddenly it was Tuesday, December 9, 1980. In the meantime I went to high school, the Trinity Lyceum, like a freshman, that morning. And while we waited for the teacher to open the classroom, my best friend said as she passed that she had heard that John Lennon had been murdered the night before. In disbelief, I started a wild discussion about that shitty press who simply “made up” stories like that. I did not speak to her for the rest of that day. Until I got home from school and the news was confirmed.
I cannot tell you how endlessly deep the depression into which I sank then was. After all, these heroes would never meet again. What remained for us was merely (and thankfully) their almost endless repertoire: the music.
But nothing could prevent that great pride and glorious hope from being drilled like a lightning strike to the ground, my soil.
Could even get over my head when it turned out that John Lennon’s killer, whom I still prefer not to mention by name, was once again given the time and space to give an interview. And apparently the space to launch his clinical picture into the world. That feeling – albeit to a lesser extent these days – still prevails a little with me.
Today is John Lennon’s birthday, if he’d been around. He would have turned 80 years old. It was 40 years ago that he was killed in cold blood, right in front of his home. In the presence of his wife, and almost in front of the rest of the world.
I can remember personally finding it quite awful and morbid that someone who was so committed to peace and so outspoken against war had to be killed by the trigger of a gun from an essentially sick spirit.
Not much has changed in those forty years. Still, any sick mind can get hold of a firearm and cause unbelievable suffering. Have we learned nothing from all this?