The following is an interview with Yoko that appeared in "Q" Magazine. Readers sent in questions that she answered. I think it's fascinating. Enjoy!
You sought advice about sex on the first date and whether she had Sir Paul busted. In turn, the former Mrs Lennon despaired of your shonky calligraphy but talked about curing Hitler and "pulling" John. Instant karma's gonna get you, Yoko Ono...
As rock'n'roll addresses go, it's the rock fan's equivalent of 10 Downing Street. No 1, West 72nd street, aka as the Dakota Building, was home to John Lennon and wife during the ex-Beatle's "New York years" and, of course, also the scene of his murder on 8 December 1980. In Yoko Ono's gleaming, open-plan kitchen, only a Beatles 1
wastepaper bin and the tangy odour of a lone joss stick hints at the presence of the
avant-garde performance artist/musician/celebrity widow. A barefoot Yoko sits at the table peering over purple-lensed sunglasses at a sheaf of dog-eared letters. "You're not going to ask me these questions are you?" she finally chirps. "The handwriting is terrible." Unbelievably, Yoko Ono is 68. She's incredibly youthful, titchy and - this just in - curiously sexy. She's full of life, too, promoting a new record, Blueprint For A Sunrise (her first in five years), and a forthcoming benefit gig in New York. But right now, the first female ever admitted to study philosophy at japan's Gakushuin University (in 1952) admits to pre-interview jitters. Still, when an over-zealous factotum tries to wrap things up, she waves him away, announcing, "These are very difficult questions..." well, naturally...
I know it's art and everything, but the Two Virgins cover - do you ever think, "Oo-er, everyone's seen my boobies?"
Jerry Trevthick, Launceton.
Oh dear. OK, look, I was a very artsy person in an ivory tower of the art world, and i wasn't aware that in the outside world it would look different. We wanted to say, "We are what we are." Some people said, "You didn't have to do it that way" - and at the time I was three months pregnant. Whenever they say, "Oh how ugly they are", or "Paul and Linda would've been better", it's very embarrassing.
I am a younger Beatles fan, so excuse my ignorance, but why were you so derided?
Alex Ziff via email
I don't know. Well, I do know in a way because it was explained to me. There's an element of male chauvinism but it's not just that. John was an icon. He was the white hero. Then here comes this yellow chick and she's beside him. Side by side. And that upset people. If I had walked three steps behind him people would've thought,That's right. But it didn't work that way. But I couldn't have sat side by side with him unless he wanted me to. We were in love and we wanted to be together.
After John, who's your favourite Beatle?
Dan Noblett, Clitheroe
Paul... no, just joking. I have a warm feeling for all three of them. They are very talented people - and also very human.
You once claimed that you could've cured Hitler by spending 10 days in bed with him. Explain, please?
Yolanda Bivins, Atlanta
I was attacked a lot because of that remark. But understandably so. [Rueful aside] Of course that wasn't the only remark I made that was attacked. I think that with love, anybody can channel their violence into something else. It just takes time. Er... I don't know if I could actually have done it or not.
How did growing up in Japan during WWII - in particular the dropping of two atomic
bombs on your country - affect you?
Alan Kerr; Bidford-on-Avon
This is just after the World Trade Center thing and everybody's body has been shaking -in New York at least. But even though I was frightened and angry, my body was not shaking. This is because my body was shaking when i was a little girl in Tokyo. I was nine when the war started. The city was bombed almost every night. I never forget those sounds. I was not in Hiroshima, of course, but there was a strong guilt feeling that some people were unlucky and we were lucky. If I have any strength it was because of that. Later, John's passing was traumatic. I could've gone down or stayed up. I stayed up.
Is it true that you "pulled" John Lennon by peeling and dissecting an apple while explaining the apple's relationship to the meaning of life?
James West, via e-mail
The owner of the Indica Gallery where I had an exhibition said to John, "Hey, come along tonight because this chick is going to do a real happening." So he was expecting a real erotic thing. When he came in, I was holding a card saying, "Breathe", and I said to him, "This is today's event". He looked at it and went, "Snnnnifffff';, and I said, "Yes". He spotted an apple on a pedestal and he grabbed it and bit into it. And I thought, How dare you do that, this is an art piece! He just giggled and put the apple back on the pedestal.
Do you still think sending John off to have an affair with May Pang [John and Yoko's
secretary] was a good idea?
John Parsons, via e-mail
After John's passing, I realised that maybe I was naive suggesting John go to LA and have a good time. The time we had afterwards was real quality time. When I think of it now I am very happy he had some fun - although he actually said it wasn't that much fun after all.
The Wedding Album's Don't Worry, Kyoko (Mummy's Only Looking..) rocks.
What do you remember of its recording?
Jim Pelt, Johannesburg
What I remember most is I was separated from my daughter, Kyoko Chan, because she went to live with her father [second husband US jazz musician / film producer Anthony Cox]. I was missing her and hoped that she missed me too. But also I was wondering perhaps it's better if she forgets about me. I thought if I wrote a song maybe the message would get to her somehow. I didn't even know her phone number. About four years ago she came out here and said hello to me. And now we are good friends.
Playing gigs with Sean: do you ever have to do the "bandleader" stuff, dressing him
down over bum notes etc?
Tony Stone, Hull
It's a delicate question, isn't it? Because it's going to get back to my son. There are times that the members of the band make mistakes, but because it was their first album they were all very proud so they kept asking to do it again, to make it perfect.
When did you last speak to Paul McCartney and about what?
Mr M Solan, County Durham
We spoke very recently, actually, because we were in the same, ah, meeting. It's a famous thing that I wasn't invited to Linda's funeral. But, Paul and I go through a lot of things, not talking to each other intentionally, other times we talk. But the last time we spoke it was in a very friendly situation.
Who are the people you've buried up to their necks on the cover of Feeling The Space? Is it May Pang and Phil Spector?
Gary Harman, Brayton
I don't know who they were. There was no ill intention. Oh, I remember, it was an assistant engineer and the other's a drummer.
Lying in bed In Studio 1, Abbey Road, during the making of the White
Album. Describe the scene...
Kerry Wilson, Evesham
This was after the car accident in Scotland. My backbone was cracked a little so it was very important for me to be lying down. So John said, "You have to come to the studio with me, don't worry because we'll have a bed there." I'm sure a lot of people were thinking, "Wow, what was that all about?" But we just wanted to be together.
Whats your opinion on Courtney Love?
Alastair Bowden, Aberdeen
She's been through some hardship, too. I like the way she's standing up for herself. She's the kind of woman who makes judgements by her heart, which is the right thing to do.
You and John had lunch with Salvador Dali during your honeymoon in 1969. What the hell was he like?
CT Wildman, via e-mail
I thought he was a bit chauvinistic. He said, "I'll give you some advice about marriage. Don't be jealous." He thought he was being kind - guys do stray around and women do get jealous - but I think it goes the other way too. At the time I thought, Why don't you tell him [Lennon] about that? I respected his talent, but I was glad I wasn't married to him, let's put it that way.
I saw the Imagine video the other day and once again found myself wondering, "Where did you put all the furniture?"
Derek Griffiths, Penge West
Our Ascot house was pretty empty, wasn't it? We liked the minimalism. I get bothered when there's too many things clogging the room, it's like clogging your mind
What evidence do you have that the FBI were stalking John and yourself?
Bill Krilly, Cork
I am sure they were. It was not paranoia. There was a car just slowly following us when we were walking. Our phones were tapped. The engineer came to fix it once, picked up the receiver, turned pale and said, "I'm not doing this one", and left. This was around '78. Those things were happening.
How do you feel John's life would've been different if he hadn't met you?
Mike Tivnen, Teddington
He was feeling more violent before he met me. He was getting ngrier and angrier about his particular situation, so in a way I think I cooled him down.
Is it right to have sex on the first date?
Kathleen Menzies, Glasgow
I've never done it. It depends on the person, I suppose. I am willing.
Albert Goldman: rotting in Hell, relaxing elsewhere, or do you care?
Tim Johnston, via e-mail
If everyone who was nasty to us rotted in Hell, it would be very crowded. I could either keep on being angry about the traumatic things that happened to me, but the punishment is I wouldn't have time out to do anything else. I like to do something better with my life.
Did your attitude to love and peace change following John's shooting?
Karl Steward, via e-mail
Not really. When you go through an experience like that you become more sympathetic to others. I don't want a violent world for my son, my daughter, my friends...
How would you describe the effectiveness of primal scream therapy?
Kath Ogden, Brecon
That was pretty good actually, especially for John. There was a social attitude that crying was bad. He was allowed to cry and he got into bringing out his emotions without fear. I think it helped him.
Were you honoured by the naming of "John Lennon Airport"? Or, like me, did you ask yourself, "How long has Liverpool had an effing airport?"
Mark Hayes, Crawley
I was surprised there was an airport in Liverpool I must say, but I was extremely happy that they honoured John's name. I was there for the opening and to get my honorary degree. Do I ever call myself a doctor? of law? I don't know anything. Maybe I should start learning.
What's your favourite John Lennon song?
Claire Belshaw, Scarborough
That's a difficult one. Walls And Bridges just came to my mind. I do like that album because I think he's really baring his soul.
What kind of relationship do you have with Julian Lennon now?
William Head, South Carolina
I think he's trying to resolve the situation with his father and me. He was very honest about how he felt about his father last year, saying he was very hurt. Being honest is good.
Is there a current Mr Yoko? May I apply for the position?
Ken Baines, Tottenham
There is no Mr Yoko, no.
Is it true you sent babyclothes to Liam Gallagher and Patsy Kensit when their son Lennon was born?
Fran Grimshaw, York
Yes, yes. I have a warm feeling for Oasis. They were very into The Beatles' music. Especially John's. They were very good about it. I hope the name is good for the child. Maybe he'll get kidded a bit.
Can you fit your whole fist in your mouth?
Toby Young, Stoke Newington
[Baffled] No, I don't think so. I've never tried.
Can you reveal where John's ashes were scattered?
Do you regret selling Instant Karma for use in an advert, given their alleged abuses of workers' rights?
Jason Broadstock, London
Not at all. I stipulated that they could not change the lyrics. We don't want advertising something dangerous for kids - but Nike shoes? Fine. People have a different take on sweatshops in this cultured and civilised society. If I lived in the third world I'd be happy someone is giving me a job. Sometimes children have to work - if they don't they might be starving.
How amused were you by the accusation that you had Japanese customs tipped when Paul was busted for drugs in 1982?
Fowzy, New York
I don't think Japanese customs like me neither. None of us are loved by the authorities.
My ex-father-in-law Bob Perrin covered the Bed-in for BBC News. He told me you had "an unusual and unearthly beauty". Do you still still feel unusual and unearthly?
David Dunne, London
[Amused] Hahaha! Well, thank you. I think I have a tendency of thinking things abstract and surrealistic way. But I hope I am down to earth now. I'm trying my best.
(END OF ARTICLE)
Rooftop Sessions - The Finest In Beatles-Related Fiction. October 2001 Issue up now! About.com BEST OF THE NET, April 2001! www.rooftopsessions.com
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