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Old Sep 25, 2013, 08:27 PM   #1
Maia 66
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Default All These Years: "New" John Facts

So, excerpts and blog bytes from the long-awaited, definitive Beatles bio have finally begun flowing into cyberspace. In a few weeks' time, I'm sure most of us will have begun devouring Volume 1. I thought this could be a place to discuss newly discovered facts/trivia/minutiae about John.

Like the fact that Julia was visiting Mimi on that fateful July evening to discuss the need for John to move back to Mendips since Bobby ("Twitchy") had lost or quit his job after his drunk driving arrest.

And that Hello, Little Girl was NOT the first song John had written but it was the first one he had committed to memory. It was actually his third song.

It was also new to me that Jim McCartney actually forbade Paul from hanging out with our boy. It was known that Jim thought John was trouble and that he was a bad influence on his son, but I never knew Paul was not allowed to hang out with John unless the Quarry Men had a gig.

To "normal" people, these facts may just be insignificant details in a huge story, but I think each one of them adds a richer level of texture to our understanding of how and why they became what they did. For example, it's precisely because Jim didn't allow the boys to socialize that Paul was forced to sag off school with John to write songs together at the house on Forthlin Road. This experience not only cemented the beginning of their vaunted partnership, but it also brought Paul closer to a place John had been for quite a while before: completely committed to the notion of making a career in music, while leaving himself with no viable alternatives.

Can't wait for the rest....
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Old Oct 01, 2013, 07:53 PM   #2
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Maia, this is awesome!!!

May we take a snippet from your synopsis of what is coming up for us to uncover?

Julia was visiting Mimi on, what would become, one of the most tragic days in John's life because she wanted him to move back with her? Wow.

It makes me think about how different things would have been had John lived with Julia instead of Mimi. Maybe there would be less "doubt" of his mother's love for him, but I'm not certain how stable it would have been. In fact, I'm certain it would have been incredibly unstable in comparison to what Mimi offered him. It's a very difficult situation because we're looking at it as outsiders who have already memorized this man's life story and can see how completely sensible it was that he be raised by his devoted aunt. But if I removed myself a little and saw the story as a mother and son, I do really feel bad for both John and Julia. A mother-and-child connection is such a vital one. Mimi gave John so much, but there was a coldness there that wasn't completely her fault.

Or is coldness too harsh a word...there was something lacking. Ok, it's late and I'm typing this without much care. Someone can perhaps argue/agree with me and let's see where this goes.
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Old Oct 02, 2013, 06:42 AM   #3
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Maia, this is awesome!!!

It makes me think about how different things would have been had John lived with Julia instead of Mimi. Maybe there would be less "doubt" of his mother's love for him, but I'm not certain how stable it would have been. In fact, I'm certain it would have been incredibly unstable in comparison to what Mimi offered him. It's a very difficult situation because we're looking at it as outsiders who have already memorized this man's life story and can see how completely sensible it was that he be raised by his devoted aunt. But if I removed myself a little and saw the story as a mother and son, I do really feel bad for both John and Julia. A mother-and-child connection is such a vital one. Mimi gave John so much, but there was a coldness there that wasn't completely her fault.

Or is coldness too harsh a word...there was something lacking. Ok, it's late and I'm typing this without much care. Someone can perhaps argue/agree with me and let's see where this goes.
Interesting analysis indeed

Maybe John wouldn't have turned out to be emotionally instable, if he had had the chance to live with Julia under the same roof. Who knows, maybe it was just this "coldness" of Mimi which made John so unsure to be really loved. Living with his mom would probably have been more chaotic as with his aunt, but at least he had grown up in a more or less "normal" family with his half-sisters. But of course, we can only speculate about what "have been if".

I think the main problems in John's childhood come from the fact that he was torned between Mimi and Julia and therefore hardly knew where he actually belongs. This may also be a reason why John throughout his life never liked taking decisions and never was good in making (good) choices.

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Old Oct 04, 2013, 04:46 PM   #4
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Hmmm, I dunno. I wonder how or IF things would have been different had John been raised by Julia. I'm really hoping Lewisohn's book will give me new insights, but from what I can put together so far, I think it will only reinforce what I already feel. But I'm very interested in seeing if there's more to add to the story.

John has said that he felt rejected by Julia even before he had officially moved in with Mimi. Would re-living this rejection over and over again have been better for him than a complete separation? Who's really to say? I tend to believe that living with an unstable but very loving mother is emotionally better for a kid than a stable home in which a child doubts his mother's love, but would John have had that with Julia? Wouldn't he always have doubted his mother's love? The fact that she would go out out instead of stay home with him, that she gave away a child, that she seemed (in John's eyes) to put Bobby ahead of him... wouldn't John continually have felt rejected? In that case, I feel he was better off with Mimi. But, really, it's all just rhetorical.

Here's another "new" fact from All These Years: Apparently, Alf was NOT planning on taking John to New Zealand! Can't wait to find out what the real story was about the trip to Blackpool....
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Old Oct 05, 2013, 01:46 PM   #5
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I think Maia has a point, several points actually. Living with lenient Julia and an endless stream of 'daddies' v. stern Mimi and the one father figure in her husband George? I'm afraid that left to Julia's haphazard care John might've got 'lost'. At least with Mimi he learnt that what's important has to be worked for and got some kind of grounding. When Julia died John was already seventeen. Doubt it would've made any difference to how his life turned out if he'd gone to live with her then. To lose George, whom was as close to a real father as John ever had, at the tender age of fourteen probably had more of an impact on John than a move from Mimi to Julia three years later. Too little, too late to really influence what he became. is my take.

As to the Australia emigration story, where does it origin from, anyone know?
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Old Oct 06, 2013, 10:38 AM   #6
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As to the Australia emigration story, where does it origin from, anyone know?
I'd have to double check, but I think it came from Alf/Freddie's book, the one his wife wrote. But it could just as easily come out of Mimi's mouth. I'll check the old sources... or maybe wait for All These Years and see if Lewisohn addresses it.
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Old Oct 07, 2013, 10:48 AM   #7
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Would re-living this rejection over and over again have been better for him than a complete separation? Who's really to say? I tend to believe that living with an unstable but very loving mother is emotionally better for a kid than a stable home in which a child doubts his mother's love, but would John have had that with Julia? Wouldn't he always have doubted his mother's love? The fact that she would go out out instead of stay home with him, that she gave away a child, that she seemed (in John's eyes) to put Bobby ahead of him... wouldn't John continually have felt rejected? In that case, I feel he was better off with Mimi.
I tend to think that John was raised in the best possible environment given his particularly unique circumstances. His mother, in my opinion, was probably not only physically unstable but she was emotionally and (possibly) not mentally unstable as well. I just feel that, for the kind of child John was, he needed a more calm/stable life to help fuel so much of his sharp/intellectual mind. If he had to deal with the stress of a mother who was...well, the way Julia was...I don't know if he'd be the John we know and love so. He would have still been brilliant and a genius, but I don't know if all his talents would have manifested themselves in such a positive route. Mimi made so much of what John was able to do possible. She was harsh and strict, sure, but she was also supportive despite her complaints. And he had that resentment and doubt about his mother, which was really a muse for him.

You can agree with me there, Maia! Julia may have been John's greatest muse, eh?
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Old Oct 07, 2013, 10:54 AM   #8
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Interesting analysis indeed


I think the main problems in John's childhood come from the fact that he was torned between Mimi and Julia and therefore hardly knew where he actually belongs. This may also be a reason why John throughout his life never liked taking decisions and never was good in making (good) choices.

Snoopy
It could have factored in subconsciously, good point Snoopy. I think John had a lot of battles in his life and most of them were internal. How he was able to channel so much of his pain into something so beautiful/positive soooo many times is just an example of how gifted he really was.
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Old Oct 16, 2013, 09:39 PM   #9
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When Julia died John was already seventeen. Doubt it would've made any difference to how his life turned out if he'd gone to live with her then
... then again, had she lived, she might have been the only person John would have listened to, even later on, when getting a bit "too full of himself", letting Yoko control him... she may even have told her what she thought of him wanting out of The Beatles ect...
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Old Nov 02, 2013, 04:18 PM   #10
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Haven't read the book yet, but I've seen a couple of the reviews. What was really striking is that according to Hall,
Freddie had no real desire to take John away with him at all and was actually quite relieved when Julia and Bobby showed up to take John home; he wasn't upset when Julia and Dykins left with the boy. Nor did Hall's parents particularly want John, either. This certainly counters Norman's argument that TOO MANY people wanted John, including Hall's parents. As to the "being forced to choose between Daddy and Mummy," according to Hall, he was pretty sure that didn't happen --although he wasn't in the room. Hall's pretty sure Alf invented that whole scenario to get in good with John when the "I'm a poor dishwasher while my kid lives in splendor" didn't go over so well with the son.

Evidently Child Protective Service (or its 1950 British equivalent) DID take John away from Julia at one point, because he didn't have a separate bed from Mummy and Dykins, who disported themselves as lovers will--while the 5 year old child shared the bed with them!

This story gets more and more complicated, but one thing is definitely clear to me--both Alf and Julia were incredibly irresponsible at that point in John's life and had no business being parents.
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Old Nov 17, 2013, 10:10 AM   #11
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I'm deep into Lewisohn at the moment. Although I have been reading Volume 1 rather gingerly because I'm waiting for the "author's cut" to arrive from across the Atlantic right after Thanksgiving, I am just completely engrossed in the amount of detail and clarity he brings to the story.

He uses reason and facts (not to mention good ol' common sense) as he jackhammers through so much of the trite old anti-Lennon BS that flies around forums, blogs, and comments sections all over the 'net. (Are ya listenin', Scruffie?! ) Actually, he debunks many Beatles myths in general–large and small–focusing a giant spotlight of truth where it's so desperately needed.

Another new "John fact": John apparently adored his art school buddy Jeff Mahomed, looking on him as a sort of father figure. "He found his feet courtesy of Jeff," one of his art school colleagues observed. Mahomed was quite the original character, and I think it's quite revealing that John looked up to him so.
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Old Nov 17, 2013, 10:15 AM   #12
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I'm deep into Lewisohn at the moment. Although I have been reading Volume 1 rather gingerly because I'm waiting for the "author's cut" to arrive from across the Atlantic right after Thanksgiving, I am just completely engrossed in the amount of detail and clarity he brings to the story.

He uses reason and facts (not to mention good ol' common sense) as he jackhammers through so much of the trite old anti-Lennon BS that flies around forums, blogs, and comments sections all over the 'net. (Are ya listenin', Scruffie?! ) Actually, he debunks many Beatles myths in general–large and small–focusing a giant spotlight of truth where it's so desperately needed.

Another new "John fact": John apparently adored his art school buddy Jeff Mahomed, looking on him as a sort of father figure. "He found his feet courtesy of Jeff," one of his art school colleagues observed. Mahomed was quite the original character, and I think it's quite revealing that John looked up to him so.
Ok. I need to buy this book. I honestly have been slacking with my purchases but this sounds interesting!
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Old Nov 17, 2013, 10:15 AM   #13
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It was also new to me that Jim McCartney actually forbade Paul from hanging out with our boy.
[EDIT: After reading the book, I learned that Jim never actually forbade Paul from seeing John. The excerpt I had read when I originally wrote this post made it seem as if he had.]
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Old Nov 17, 2013, 10:21 AM   #14
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Ok. I need to buy this book. I honestly have been slacking with my purchases but this sounds interesting!
OMG, Scruffie... you have to read it! And you too, wilde! There's so much to discuss.
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Old Nov 18, 2013, 10:12 AM   #15
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I'm going to order it! I want an actual book purchase. I really want to read this!!!
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Old Nov 18, 2013, 11:40 AM   #16
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Just got the e-book version. To be honest I wasn't that interested in getting yet another Beatles book, but it's Mark Lewisohn. Not to say that he can't do no wrong, but still he is well respected and has put a lot of time and research into it. So this volume and his upcoming ones will hopefully put an end to the need of buying more Beatle books.

I was not so sure about wanting to read that much about the early, pre Beatles years. But having seen "Nowewhere Boy" on t.v., and again on dvd last weekend (the recorder didn't program the whole movie, hence the need to buy the dvd afterall), I became interested again. Was it really true that John had to choose between his mother and father, like what could be seen in the "Nowhere Boy" film. Not so according to Lewisohn. Things like that, which was also addressed in this topic, triggered my interest. I may pick up a real paper edition at some point, but the e-book is enough to get me started.

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Old Nov 24, 2013, 09:57 AM   #17
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Just got the e-book version. To be honest I wasn't that interested in getting yet another Beatles book, but it's Mark Lewisohn. Not to say that he can't do no wrong, but still he is well respected and has put a lot of time and research into it. So this volume and his upcoming ones will hopefully put an end to the need of buying more Beatle books.
As a Beatles fan who also loves reading about history, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and was constantly amazed at Lewisohn's skillfulness in telling this huge story. Now to attack the "author's cut"...
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Old Nov 24, 2013, 10:21 AM   #18
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Default Musical Influences

Okay, peeps. I know many of you have not yet read this bewk, but one of the aspects I most enjoy is how much it discusses their musical influences, mentioning the titles of the very songs that the boys loved the most.

A truly pivotal point in their musical development, which I highlighted in my e-book (not even touching the real book, which is autographed), talks about when John first discovered the Miracles in a record shop bin.

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“Who’s Loving You” (and its A-side, “Shop Around,” which John also thought great) defines the moment when a new musical playground opened up for John Lennon, and for the Beatles. A soulful singer and his supporting vocalists deliver a romantic song of melody and rhythm, a lyric that doesn’t just say “I love you” but wraps the feeling inside a storyline, one that reached the tender core of a Lennon few saw.
I don't think I ever realized just how pivotal the whole Tamla/Motown sound really was in the development of the Beatles' own sound—most especially, John's songwriting. I guess I find this so interesting because I am also a huge Motown fan, and have always loved Smokey in particular.

Love this description of John's songwriting style (in bold)... think it encapsulates his earlier stuff and explains his general way of approaching music.
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Old Dec 08, 2013, 02:19 PM   #19
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This is one of my favorite bits from the book. Never before realized that "the wink" was such a huge part of his stage act.

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Lennon’s big wink was a new instrument in his stage armory, transmitting maximum sarcasm and provocation in one move. It was a music -hall wink, a wink with built-in windup, with attitude, accompanied always by a sideways chasm in the mouth, a great gaping oval. It was seldom impotent, and if a fight wasn’t already in the air, this could kick one off— inciting tempests that to John, as blind as a bat, were but a violent blur.
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Old Dec 08, 2013, 02:28 PM   #20
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Here's an interesting quote from Bob Wooler:

"The Beatles were terrible when they ganged up on you —all of them, Pete Best as well. Their tongues could be savage."

Goes to show that John wasn't the only Beatle who had a bite... even though, as we well know, he's often the only one criticized for it by Scruffie's Public Enemies #1 (the Tumblr blog commenters).
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