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Old Sep 11, 2005, 12:50 PM   #1
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Default Excerpts of Cynthia's Book

Hot off the presses! I cannot WAIT for this book!! (This is going to require two posts...)

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article...774227,00.html




September 11, 2005

Try to see it my way
John Lennon’s first wife, Cynthia, breaks her long silence to condemn the aunt who raised him and to reveal the violent streak and waywardness that arose from a cold childhood
NI_MPU('middle');

The late 1950s was a wonderful time to be setting out in the world. Post-war deprivation was over and the young were allowed to be youthful and unafraid. Just turned 18, I started at Liverpool College of Art in September 1957.

I came from Hoylake, a seaside village on the Wirral, and — in my twinsets and tweed skirts with permed mousy hair — I was saddled with the “over the water” posh image that Scousers had of anyone who lived across the Mersey. By my second year, however, I was growing my hair and I’d acquired some rather hip black velvet pants.

We had all taken our seats for the first lettering class of the new term when a teddy boy slouched in, wearing an old coat. He sat behind me, tapped me on the back, twisted his face into a ludicrous grimace and said, “Hi, I’m John.”

Yuck, I thought, not my type. With his DA (duck’s arse) haircut and drainpipe trousers he was not like the boys I was used to. His caustic wit was alarming. I was terrified he might turn on me, and he soon did, calling me “Miss Prim” and “Miss Powell” and taking the mickey out of my clothes and accent.

As the weeks went by, however, I began to look forward to seeing him. A friend told me that his mother had been killed in a car accident. I desperately missed my father, who had died from cancer, so I felt for him. He never mentioned it, but the knowledge that he was hiding grief behind the acerbic front made me look at him more closely.

I realised I was falling for him but didn’t think for a minute that we might actually get together. I already had a boyfriend called Barry who was the son of a window-cleaner but looked Spanish and exotic, the Romeo of Hoylake. One day Barry persuaded me to make love with him on the sofa when Mum was out. I didn’t think much of it: over in a flash and no fun. I was thinking of getting engaged to Barry, but I saw less and less of him and mooned over John.

Just before the holidays we held a party at the college. I was wearing a new baggy black cotton top over a short black and white skirt, with black tights and my best black winklepicker shoes. When John walked in, dressed in black like me, my stomach contorted as I pretended not to notice him. But he made a beeline for me and said. “D’you want to get up?” I blushed but leapt to my feet to dance with him.

John shouted, “Do you fancy going out with me?” I was so flustered that I came out with, “I’m sorry but I’m engaged to this fellow in Hoylake.”

“I didn’t ask you to f****** marry me, did I?” John shot back.

He walked off, but as the party was breaking up he and his friends asked me and my friend Phyl to the pub. We’d never been there before; we’d always headed straight home like the good girls we were.

John stayed with a couple of his cronies on the other side of the pub while Phyl and I chatted and drank black velvets — the mix of Guinness and cider that all the students drank. After two I felt wobbly and decided I’d better head for my train home. But as I made for the door he called me over, teased me about being a nun and asked me to stay. We had another couple of drinks and then he whispered, “Let’s go.”

Almost as soon as we’d left the pub John kissed me, a long, passionate, irresistible kiss. He whispered that his friend, Stuart, had a room we could go to, grabbed my hand and pulled me down the road.

Stuart’s place was a large room at the back of a shared house, with no curtains, a mattress on the floor and clothes, art materials, empty cigarette packets and books scattered around it. We couldn’t have cared less about the mess and headed for the mattress where we made love for the next hour. It was very different from my previous brief experience.

Afterwards John said, “Christ, Miss Powell, that was something else. What’s all this about being engaged, then?” I told him my romance in Hoylake was over.

John was a demanding lover who insisted that I put him before everything else. He would often insist that we bunk off college in the afternoon. When the weather was warm we’d take the ferry across the Mersey to New Brighton, where there was a funfair beside the sea. Up on the deserted sand dunes behind the beach we’d make love, braving the chill winds and the sand. We’d catch the ferry back, with sand under our clothes, horribly uncomfortable but giggling. Most people thought John was destined to be a drop-out and a bum who would never knuckle down to a decent job or make anything of himself. All they saw was the fool who clowned around in class. Those of us who loved him knew that he could go off the rails, but we also saw in him the potential for real creativity. I discovered that John’s temper could be frightening. He wanted proof, daily, that he mattered most to me. All sense of reason disappeared and his tantrums were awesome: he would batter away at me verbally until I gave in. Then he was back to his usual self, apologetic and loving. Once, however, he went too far.
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"And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in all the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual." - John Steinbeck

"When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow." - Anais Nin
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Old Sep 11, 2005, 12:51 PM   #2
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Stuart Sutcliffe was one of the three people John was closest to. Although he had plenty of cronies, he only really let down his guard with Stuart, me and Paul McCartney. Paul was still at school, but Stuart was at art college with us, and he and I got on well.

One night John went mad when someone told him Stuart and I were dancing together. As soon as I saw the look on John’s face we stopped and, as so often before, I reassured him that it was him I loved. The next day at college he followed me to the girls’ loos in the basement.

When I came out he was waiting with a dark look on his face. Before I could speak he raised his arm and hit me across the face, knocking my head into the pipes that ran down the wall behind me.

Without a word he walked away, leaving me dazed, shaky and with a sore head. I could put up with his outbursts, the jealousy and possessiveness but not violence. I knew I had to end our relationship.

It took him three months to pluck up the courage to apologise and ask me to go out with him again. I think he had been shocked to discover he had it in him to hit me. Although he was still verbally cutting and unkind, he was never again physically violent to me.

WE HAD been together for a few months when John took me home to meet his Aunt Mimi. He lived with her in a smart house called Mendips in the well-off district of Woolton. The joke was that although John called me posh, he came from a far better off family than I did. Our little semi over the water in Hoylake was half the size of Mendips.

Mimi’s manner was almost regal. She spoke without a hint of Scouse and I thought John must have adopted his working-class Liverpool accent as a rebellion against her. Mimi was something of a snob; she was middle class with upper-class aspirations and one of her favourite words was “common”. She used it to condemn most of John’s interests and friends — including, I suspect, me.

Most descriptions of Mimi that have appeared in print were based on interviews with her — she outlived John by 11 years. She loved to fuel the image of the stern but loving aunt who provided the secure backdrop to John’s success. But that wasn’t the Mimi I knew.

She constantly hounded and oppressed him. He often complained that she never left him alone and found fault with everything he did. She had been the closest thing he had to a parent, and he wanted to please her, but she made it impossible for him.

Mimi battered away at John’s self-confidence and left him angry and hurt. Years later, when he was world famous and wealthy, he was still trying to earn her approval and she was still telling him off.

No doubt the impossibility of pleasing her was at least part of John’s drive towards success. But I found it hard to forgive her carping when a little kindness or encouragement would have meant so much to him.

An early incident showed me a side of John I would see again at many crucial moments in our life together. My mother invited Mimi and John for tea. Determined to impress, she got out her best china and made sandwiches and cakes.

It started well. Then Mimi made a remark about me distracting John from his studies. Before we knew it they were arguing, Mimi telling Mum why I was wrong for John and Mum telling Mimi that John was lucky to find a girl like me. John fled from the house. I found him in tears. He couldn’t stand conflict and his reaction was invariably to escape. It was in stark contradiction to his often aggressive manner, but he was only confrontational when he had been drinking.
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"And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in all the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual." - John Steinbeck

"When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow." - Anais Nin

Last edited by HMVNipper : Sep 11, 2005 at 12:52 PM.
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Old Sep 11, 2005, 12:52 PM   #3
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It struck me early on that John had developed his hard outer shell — the cynicism, cruel wit, aggression and possessiveness — to deal with his painful childhood and the deep insecurity that had resulted from it.

As John began to trust me, he talked more about his upbringing, letting me see the hurt, lost little boy inside him. Biographers have written about his childhood, but what he told me differed from their accounts. Yes, his childhood had been enormously difficult. Yes, his father had abandoned him. But his mother was not the feckless, uncaring figure of legend; nor was Mimi his saviour.

Far from it. He was taken away from his mother by Mimi and brought up in a cold, austere home with little affection or comfort. Mimi had three cats and I’m certain she preferred them to most people.

Julia, John’s mother, was the fourth of five sisters born into a well-to-do Liverpool family. Mimi was the eldest. The daughters of an insurance investigator, they lived in a smart area close to the cathedral.

Julia was the prettiest. She was only 14 when she met Alf Lennon, a good-looking 15-year-old fresh out of an orphanage. Soon after they met he went to sea, but in December 1938 — for “a laugh” — they married. They spent their honeymoon at the cinema. Afterwards she went back to her parents’ house and Alf went back to sea. Every now and then he came home and after one visit Julia found she was pregnant. John was born on October 9, 1940.

He was about 18 months old when Julia was told that Alf had jumped ship and disappeared. She had had enough of waiting for him: after an affair with a young soldier she became pregnant again. Her father insisted that the baby, a girl, was adopted.

When Julia moved in with a hotel manager called Bobby Dykins — taking five-year-old John with her — Mimi intervened, telling her she was unfit to be his mother. Mimi wanted to bring him up herself.

Julia and Bobby refused to hand him over, but Mimi told social services that they weren’t married and demanded that John be given to her. At first the social worker came down on Julia’s side: there were no grounds for John to be taken away from a loving home.


Mimi was a determined woman. When she discovered that John didn’t have his own room in their tiny flat and shared a bed with Julia and Bobby, she called in social services again. This time she won: they said John must live with Mimi until Julia and Bobby had found a bigger flat.

It’s hard to see why Mimi wanted John, since she had always said she didn’t want children of her own. Although she undoubtedly cared for him, she was not a woman for cuddles and praise like his mother. She insisted on rigid rules and absolute order. If he tried to put his arms round her, she shrugged him off, saying, “Get away, go on with you.”

His saving grace was Mimi’s husband, Uncle George, a tall, kindly dairyman who was never angry and gave John the “squeakers” — kisses — that Mimi could not.

Shortly after John went to live with Mimi, his father reappeared and took him on holiday to Blackpool. Julia pursued them. She found them in a boarding-house, where Alf admitted that he had planned to take John to live in New Zealand. He asked Julia to go, too, to try to repair their marriage, but she refused.

Alf called John into the room and asked him to choose between his parents. John, faced with a heartbreaking decision no five-year-old should ever have to make, chose his father. In tears, Julia agreed to let him go. But as she left John jumped up, sobbing, and ran after her. She took him back to Liverpool where he returned to Mimi’s.

In time Julia and Bobby found a bigger home, but it was decided that John had settled and should not be disrupted again. Had anyone asked John, he would undoubtedly have chosen to live with his mother. He told me that as a little boy he often dreamt of running away from Mimi to his mother, but in those days no one considered asking a child what he wanted.

Julia and Bobby went on to have two daughters and stayed together, unmarried but stable, until Julia’s death. When John was small he saw his mother only on her regular visits to Mimi’s; but at 11 or 12 he started going to Julia’s house on his own, which opened up a new world.

John adored his mother. Her high spirits and love of life were so different from Mimi’s strictness and rigidity. John grew up bouncing between these two very different women: Mimi, the firm “mother”, and Julia, the more playful “aunt”.

With Mimi he was expected to be neatly groomed, dutiful and obedient. She wouldn’t allow him to play the guitar in the house. With Julia he could laugh, play and fool around. She introduced him to rock’n’roll, and played Elvis records at top volume, grabbing John’s hand to jive round the kitchen. One of John’s sisters, also called Julia, told me that as a little girl she would lie in bed and listen to John and their mother chatting, playing music and dancing.

When John started a skiffle group, Julia was delighted. She allowed them to practise for hours in her bathroom — where the acoustics were best — and often joined in, playing washboard. She was there at their first gig, when they performed as Johnny and the Rainbows from the back of a lorry on Empire Day in 1956.

John’s teenage years were punctuated by tragic losses. First his Uncle George, Mimi’s husband, collapsed and died from a liver haemorrhage. To John, who was 14 and had looked on George as a father, it was a terrible shock. The tatty old overcoat he wore at college had been George’s.

His mother’s death, three years later, also came suddenly. One July evening she went round to Mimi’s for a cup of tea and a chat. When she left to catch her bus home, Mimi waved her off. Seconds later Julia was hit by a car as she crossed the road.

After Julia’s funeral John bottled up his grief and didn’t talk about it to anyone. Mimi wasn’t the kind of person who discussed things, she simply carried on with her life, and John tried to do the same.

He couldn’t even share the loss with his little sisters. Their aunts would not let anyone tell the girls that their mother was dead. Julia became a taboo subject.

The family dealt with pain by keeping it under wraps. If a subject was difficult, it was not aired. It was an attitude that hurt John, but which he often adopted as an adult. He had an astonishing ability to ignore anything that distressed him. He ignored our son for several years after our divorce.


MUSIC had been an important part of John’s relationship with his mother and he used it to blot out the pain and anger he felt over her death. By the time he and I got together, he talked, ate and breathed music. Almost every lunchtime he met Paul McCartney and George Harrison to rehearse.

It was John who thought up their name. He loved Buddy Holly and the Crickets, and came up with Beetles but changed it to Beatles because he said if you turned it round it was “les beat”, which sounded French and cool.

In August 1960 they were offered a six-week stint playing in a nightclub in Hamburg. Mimi had forbidden John to play in a group, so she was shocked to discover he was not only in one but that it had got far enough to be invited to play abroad. She did everything she could think of to stop John going.

By contrast, George’s mum and dad were a lovely couple who, although he was only 17, wanted him to follow his dream. His mum sent him off with clean clothes and a tin of home-made scones.

John sent back some of his first earnings from Germany to Mimi, proud that he could help her at last. He also saw all kinds of fantastic leather clothes there and when he returned he wanted me to have a leather coat. We headed for C&A Modes in the centre of town, where we chose a gorgeous three-quarter-length chocolate brown one for £17. It was my first present from him and I felt so gorgeous in it that I couldn’t wait to show it off.

We decided to visit Mimi. There was a delicatessen called Cooper’s next door to C&A, so we bought her a cooked chicken for tea and set off, full of high spirits. But if we thought we could share our happiness with her we were wrong.

When she saw the coat and heard John had bought it for me she hit the roof. She screamed at John that he’d spent his money on a “gangster’s moll” and hurled first the chicken, which she grabbed from me, then a hand mirror at John.

“Do you think you can butter me up with a chicken when you’ve spent all your money on this?” she screamed. “Get out.”

“What the f***’s the matter with you? Are you totally crazy?” he shouted.

John pushed past his aunt, grabbed my arm and dragged me through the back door. “Come on, let’s get out of this madwoman’s house,” he muttered. We ran to the bus stop.

He put his arm round me and apologised for her. It wasn’t the first time Mimi had attacked him violently, but it was the first time in front of someone else, and he was ashamed as well as angry.

“All she cares about is f****** money and cats,” he said.

© Cynthia Lennon 2005
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"And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in all the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual." - John Steinbeck

"When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow." - Anais Nin
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Old Sep 11, 2005, 12:56 PM   #4
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And more...

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article...773993,00.html



September 11, 2005

Epstein let us stay in his love nest, and the whispers of a gay affair with John began
There was no gay affair with his manager, says Cynthia: he was ‘horrified’ by homosexuality
NI_MPU('middle');

It was just after I sat my finals at art college in 1962 that a series of momentous events occurred.

First, the boys’ breakthrough arrived. Brian Epstein, their manager, organised an audition with George Martin, the record producer. When the news came that George wanted them to sign a contract, John kept shouting, “This is it, Cyn, we’re going to be making records, we’re famous!” I had only half an eye on what was happening, however. I had discovered that I was pregnant.

Amazing as it sounds now, John and I had never used contraception. No one had ever said anything to us about it. Schools and parents wouldn’t have dreamt of discussing such matters with us. Of course we knew how babies were made and that pregnancy could be prevented, but we honestly thought it would never happen to us. Until it did.

I knew I couldn’t face an abortion, which, in any case, would have been hard to come by and dangerous. I was going to face the consequences and bring up the baby on my own if I had to, although that would have made me a social outcast.

After several days I plucked up my courage to tell John. As the news sank in he went pale and I saw the fear in his eyes. For a couple of minutes we were both silent. I watched him as I waited for a response. Would he walk out on me? Then he spoke: “There’s only one thing for it, Cyn. We’ll have to get married.”

I asked him whether he meant it. I told him he didn’t have to marry me, but he was insistent. “Neither of us planned to have a baby, Cyn, but I love you and I’m not going to leave you now.”

Aunt Mimi was furious. She screamed, raged and threatened never to speak to him again if he went ahead. Julia, John’s sister, told me he stood up to Mimi: “You don’t understand. I love Cyn. I want to marry her.”

Mimi accused me of planning the whole thing to trap John and made it clear that she wanted nothing to do with the wedding.

Many commentators on John’s life have said that he would never have married me if I hadn’t been pregnant. In the film Backbeat I was portrayed as a clingy, dim little girlfriend in a headscarf. Totally wrong. Quite apart from anything else I never wore a headscarf.

Both John and I believed we’d marry one day, and so did most people who knew us then. My pregnancy changed our plans, but not our intentions or feelings for each other. I respected him enormously for standing by me when he knew it might ruin his career, just as he was on the brink of success. He had a streak of fundamental decency that went far beyond simply observing the convention of the day and I loved him for it.

Brian had a surprise for us after the wedding: he had a flat we could live in. We later realised it was his bolthole. He lived at home with his parents and needed somewhere he could take partners or enjoy a little privacy.

It hadn’t occurred to us at first that Brian was gay. Life must have been difficult for him. In the Sixties if you were gay you kept it secret. Gays were called “queers” and were disliked and distrusted by many — there was a huge amount of prejudice against them.

Love Me Do, the boys’ first record, was creeping up the charts to number 17. George Martin had a song lined up for their second single, but the boys balked at it. They suggested their own song, Please Please Me. Reluctantly, he agreed. “God, I hope it works,” John told me. “We’ll look like idiots if it doesn’t.” None of us knew what an astounding difference a year would make. At the start of 1963 the Beatles were hugely popular in Liverpool but still virtually unknown anywhere else. Please Please Me was released in mid-January and reached number one in the charts on February 16. By the end of the year the entire country was Beatle-mad.
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"And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in all the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual." - John Steinbeck

"When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow." - Anais Nin
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Old Sep 11, 2005, 12:57 PM   #5
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Our son Julian was born on the morning of Monday April 8. John was touring and couldn’t get away to see me for three days. He came into the hospital like a whirlwind, racing through the doors. He kissed me then looked at his son with tears in his eyes: “Cyn, he’s bloody marvellous! He’s fantastic . . . Who’s going to be a famous little rocker like his dad, then?” Word got round that John was there, and dozens of patients and staff gathered. He hugged me and signed dozens of autographs on his way out.

When Julian was three weeks old Brian invited John to go to Spain with him. It was a holiday John came to regret because it sparked off a string of rumours about their relationship. He had to put up with sly digs, winks and innuendo that he was secretly gay. It infuriated him.

A few weeks after they got back, Paul had his 21st birthday party in his aunt’s back garden. By then the Beatles had released a third single, From Me to You, which went straight to number one. At the party the boys’ old friend Bob Wooler, MC at the Cavern club, made a crack to John about his holiday.

John, who’d had plenty to drink, exploded. He leapt on Bob and by the time he was dragged off Bob had a black eye and badly bruised ribs. I took John home as fast as I could, and Brian drove Bob to hospital.

I was appalled that John had lashed out again. I’d thought those days were over. But John was still livid, muttering that Bob had called him a queer. A day or two later when he had cooled down he was ashamed. He kept repeating, “Oh, God, Cyn, what have I done?” He sent Bob a telegram saying, “Really sorry Bob stop terribly worried to realise what I had done stop what more can I say John Lennon”.

Claims have been made since that Brian and John did have a gay relationship. Nothing could be further from the truth. John was 100% heterosexual and, like most lads at that time, horrified by the idea of homosexuality.

Some accounts also claim that Brian was in love with John. I don’t believe this for a second.

The bond between them was one of mutual respect and friendship. Brian could see John’s intelligence and distinctive talent. John appreciated Brian’s business ability and his ambition for the group. They both wanted the Beatles to be the biggest thing since Elvis and were hell bent on making it happen.
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"And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in all the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual." - John Steinbeck

"When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow." - Anais Nin
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Old Sep 11, 2005, 12:58 PM   #6
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And Julian's comments:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article...773994,00.html


September 11, 2005

Julian Lennon writes the poignant testimony of a neglected son





Growing up as John Lennon’s son has been a rocky path. All my life I’ve had people coming up to me saying, “I loved your dad.”

I always have very mixed feelings when I hear this. I know that Dad was an idol to millions who grew up loving his music and his ideals. But to me he wasn’t a musician or a peace icon, he was the father I loved and who let me down in so many ways.

After the age of five, when my parents separated, I saw him only a handful of times, and when I did he was often remote and intimidating. I grew up longing for more contact with him but felt rejected and unimportant in his life.

Dad was a great talent, a remarkable man who stood for peace and love in the world. But at the same time he found it very hard to show any peace and love to his first family — my mother and me.

In many accounts of Dad’s life, Mum and I are either dismissed or at best treated as insignificant bit players in his life, which sadly is something that continues to this day. Yet Mum was his first real love and she was with him for half his adult life, from art college to the genesis of the Beatles to their overwhelming worldwide success.

For far too long now Mum has put up with being relegated to a puff of smoke in Dad’s life. Now it’s time to set the record straight. There’s so much that has never been said, so many tales that have never been told. If there is to be a balanced picture of Dad’s life, then Mum’s side of the story is long overdue.

I’m immensely proud of her. She was the one who kept it all together, taught me what matters in life and stayed strong when our world was crumbling. While Dad was fast becoming one of the wealthiest men in his field, Mum and I had very little and she was going out to work to support us. I love her honesty and her courage, and I know it’s taken a great deal of both for her to write her story. That’s why I recommend it to anyone who wants to know the truth about Dad’s life.
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"And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in all the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual." - John Steinbeck

"When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow." - Anais Nin
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Old Sep 11, 2005, 06:21 PM   #7
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Talking john



thanks for posting the mini-excerpt, susan! fascinating, i look forward to

getting the book. i have to admit this does shed a different light on

mimi! good grief! on the one hand, she didn't want children, then

fights like hell to get john, only to treat him the way she did.....?

i guess you'd have to be a shrink to understand that!

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Old Sep 11, 2005, 06:37 PM   #8
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I am also looking forward to this book- wow! I was waiting for some sort of excerpts to come out eventually and I'm already hooked! I have a feeling that this book will be the book that I can never ever put down
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Old Sep 11, 2005, 06:49 PM   #9
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Thanks for the post, Susan. I think this book is going to shed some new lights on things...I can't wait for it!
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Old Sep 11, 2005, 06:55 PM   #10
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so excited for this book! i can't wait to get a copy
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Old Sep 11, 2005, 09:43 PM   #11
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Nice posts! Thank you very much!
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Old Sep 12, 2005, 03:55 AM   #12
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I'll tell you -- I am very much looking forward to this book. However...and I say this with caution...I am always a bit wary of people who wait until all the people who could possibly contradict their side of a story are dead to publish a "tell-all" book. On the one hand, I am glad that Cyn is finally REALLY telling her story (unlike the sanitized version in "A Twist of Lennon"). On the other, I am sure there are at least SOME ulterior motives here...even from her.

Don't get me wrong...I think it's about damn time that this story was told. Yoko keeps wanting to whitewash Cyn and Julian out of John's life, and that's neither fair nor realistic. And Cyn clearly still has some axes to grind with more than a few of the other people in John's life, some of them quite justified. I would like to hope that this book is more than a gripefest, though. At least, it appears to me, it does come through that she is STILL in love with John...she's just more prepared now to divulge things she has kept close to her heart until now.

Can't wait for the whole book!
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Old Sep 12, 2005, 08:56 AM   #13
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Yeah, I was kind of thinking the same thing. As long as this one doesn't overtly contradict anything in "A Twist of Lennon," I'm sure it's closer to what actually happened. She sure doesn't seem to think much of Mimi- and if Mimi was really that cold, it's no wonder John had some problems later on in life. A child can't be properly raised in such a sterile-to-negative environment.
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Old Sep 12, 2005, 11:09 AM   #14
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Yeah, that is really kind of sad. I have always gotten the impression that Mimi could be kind of cold, though -- they haven't overtly said so in any of the books (yet), but they have made it clear that Uncle George was the one who gave John overt gestures of love. I do believe that Mimi loved John, in her way, but I also don't think she was a very warm maternal figure.

Then again, think about it. John was clearly an exceptional child right from the beginning -- brilliant, articulate, verbal, precocious, and quite a handful. It is very difficult to raise a genius child under the best of circumstances -- and here was Mimi, raising her sister's child, at a time when it was widely believed that you could only rise as high as your parents' station in life allowed you and no further, no matter how exceptional you were. The system demanded conformity -- and someone like John, even as a little kid, was not one to conform. He was miles ahead of the other kids, miles ahead of the teachers. He was BORED, that's why he became the class clown and a notorious troublemaker, to amuse himself. NO ONE had any clue what to do with a child like that. Today, we'd put such a kid in a special school or a program for gifted and talented children...but in 1940s Liverpool, there was no such thing. It cannot have been easy for Mimi either.

Still, it pains me to think that anyone raising a child could be so cold towards said child. I mean, all children start out as loving, trusting little humans...it's only when or if life keeps slapping them in the face that they start to doubt their self-worth. I think John suffered from that complex his entire life -- in his head, he knew he was brilliant and successful and talented, but in his HEART, I don't know that he ever really believed it. It almost seems to me that he was always waiting for the other shoe to drop, for yet another thing to come along and crush him as it had so many times before, even at his most successful, because his self-worth had been compromised so many, many times. I think he probably had trouble believing that anyone who said they loved him really, truly did, or that he was at all loveable, which is sad.

I'm sorry, I probably sound like I'm over-analyzing John, and I don't mean to be resorting to psychobabble. He was such a complicated, complex and endlessly fascinating person...and if he were here, I know that I would want very much to tell him that he WAS (and IS) loved, very, very much, by very many people. I know I love him, anyway...even with all his faults, unconditionally.
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"When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow." - Anais Nin
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Old Sep 12, 2005, 01:11 PM   #15
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I have no probelms admitting John Lennon was fault ridden as most people are but something about this book puts me off.

I probably won't buy it.
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Old Sep 12, 2005, 02:08 PM   #16
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From what we've read there, there really isn't anything "new," although Aunt Mimi is more fleshed out according to these excerps. I also didn't think she'd have been that cold. I do remember a story I read awhile ago (in Pete's book) where John "threatened" to run away (to his mother's house) and when he returned to Aunt Mimi's, his dog, Sally, was gone. Aunt Mimi told him that if he did indeed run away, then there would be no one here to take care of Sally, so since John was gone, she gave the dog away. John got so upset and cried. Yes, that was very mean and cold of her to do. I had an idea she was strict and cold, but not as cold as Cynthia says. Well, she was there, we were not.
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Old Sep 12, 2005, 02:40 PM   #17
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I look at it this way. Yes, Cynthia was there, and she'd probably know a lot more about the events in her book than any of us ever could. But what she's writing about are her impressions, which may or may not be the way it really was.

Cynthia might have written Aunt Mimi a certain way because that's the way Cyn perceived her to be. It's pretty well documented that Mimi didn't like Cyn too much, so this may be the only side of her that Cyn ever got to see. Another person might have perceived Mimi completely differently. So would either one of these people be wrong? Of course not. That's why I think you need more than one person's perspective to form your own picture of things. (Just a what-if scenario, FYI--I don't know if any of this is the case.)

I'm looking forward to this book...I'd like to hear things from Cyn's perspective and she certainly has a right to be heard. But I'm treating this like I treat all the other books about John--it's not the gospel truth. Just another piece in the puzzle that makes up the man.
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Old Sep 13, 2005, 07:00 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adayinthelife
I have no probelms admitting John Lennon was fault ridden as most people are but something about this book puts me off.

I probably won't buy it.
That's how I see it as well. I believe she's in her right to write if she so wishes, but I probably won't buy the book. I do respect her, and her right to tell the story from her viewpoint, but something does put me off somewhat...

One thing that bothers me, though - and I would like to ask you if it bothers you as well - is the way the press is selling the book, only focusing on John's violence. I mean, a Lennon fan with access to information knows that John had a mean streak (by lack of better definition)...so what is new about it?

Just my two cents on the subject...
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Old Sep 13, 2005, 07:42 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrazilianFlag
One thing that bothers me, though - and I would like to ask you if it bothers you as well - is the way the press is selling the book, only focusing on John's violence. I mean, a Lennon fan with access to information knows that John had a mean streak (by lack of better definition)...so what is new about it?

Just my two cents on the subject...
Well, of course...that sells papers and that sells books. I agree, if you're a knowledgeable Lennon fan, this is no shock...but the press, particularly the tabloid press, takes great pleasure in knocking icons off their pedestals. John's been sanctified so much since his death (which, IMO, is ridiculous, but that's neither here nor there), this is just juicy stuff, proving that the saint was no saint. (Of course, we knew this already -- but so many more casual fans don't.)
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Old Sep 13, 2005, 08:46 PM   #20
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I agree with all Susan has said. Short version, no pedastals and no tar and feathers for John or anybody else. I admit I'm looking forward to reading this book and I feel that there are many perspectives to consider.

That's a sad story about Sally, the dog. What kind of a dog was she?
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