If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Imagine No Possessions

It's been 30 years since John Lennon was murdered, and there's a big buzz about the anniversary. I suppose I ought to add my bit ...

Imagine is possibly the worst song ever written. It is shallow, it is empty, it is tedious and it is self-indulgent. It only takes two of those lumpen piano chords (he loved that right-left-right-left
vamping, didn't he?) to send me screaming for a soundproof room.

Worse than that, it is so nauseatingly hypocritical that it turns my stomach. "Imagine no possessions" from a millionaire; "Imagine all the pee-pull living life in peace" from a wife-beater.

Peter Risdon has an anecdote which sums it up for me:
"It’s only a fucking song."

I came across this somewhere recently. Lennon was, apparently, being visited in New York by a friend from Liverpool. Seeing Yoko Ono’s walk-in chiller for storing fur coats, the friend said, “Imagine no possessions, eh, John?”

John replied as above.
This, from a "Working-Class Hero".


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Hear bloody hear. The man was an utter knut. 'Cripples Neil' he used to say to his bodyguard when the proles got to close. Also that Vietsploitation dirge 'war is over'. And so this is Christmas (royalties). Tell it to the Vietnamese. And the Cambodians.

  3. Anonymous 12:17 - sorry, post removed for irrelevance.

  4. Don't be rude about my friend Knut. He was a Good King, all told, and has been badly misrepresented by history. We all think he was the dude who tried to turn the waves back, but in fact he was demonstrating to his obsequious supporters that he had no such power, and that their fawning obsequiousness was misplaced. An early example of English irony failure.

  5. Wrong Knut. I was referring to Knut Hamsun, the Norwegian Nobel laureate for literature (funny how many Scandihooligans win that prize) and Nazi collaborator.

  6. Also a bit thick that he sang about there being no countries while skeedaddling for the nearest favourable tax regime. I doubt a skinflint like Macca cheerfully pays every tax penny he can - and there's nothing wrong with tax avoidance - but at least he stayed put and paid something in Blightly.

    I suppose it is like Tom Jones getting a gong for living in the US while Brucie, who spends half the year here furiously giving it the old the routine, gets nothing.

    I hope the old hoofer gets a mention this New Year; he has earned it.

  7. @Jim: Silly me, of course.

    @WOAR: Indeed - there seems to be no justice in these things. I admire Bruce Forsyth, too. I can't stand that kind of 'entertainment', to be honest (the Hughie Green/Bob Monkhouse-style dreck), but I stand in awe of his professionalism and his stamina. Good for him, and I hope he gets something too. I'd wish him Tess Daly, but I wonder if he would appreciate her fully these days.

  8. I am a knut hamsun fan too. read most of them. As for Lennon, you see that my homage was not entirely gushy, and I agree about Imagine - it is more emetic than drinking fairy liquid mixed with someone else's bogies. Been there, done that, been sick too.

  9. Don't be hard on the man, he rode a Honda monkey bike!

  10. You weren't gushy at all. There is a lot to like about his early stuff - things like "Twist and Shout" still make the hairs stand up, and some of the White Album is excellent, with Revolver and Rubber Soul (which I always think of as dominated by Lennon) in between. Just sad that he went all hippified and in my opinion lost his way. I blame that Ono Sideboards woman.

  11. @Nikos: Really? Not all bad, then :)

  12. I was never much of a Beatles fan, and Lennon without the rest of them rates somewhat lower than comparing Phil Collins solo to early Genesis, in my book.

    "Imagine" is perhaps the dreariest song it's ever been my displeasure to listen to, dripping as it is with that nauseatingly faux-naive sentimental tosh. But I don't actually consider it to be too much worse than most of the rest of the self-indulgent bollocks he was responsible for...

    On a slightly related theme, don't think I much fancy a pint in WW's local, by the sounds of it!

  13. I can remember being in North John St Liverpool watching a white Rolls Royce going past and people and I were booing Lennon and his piece of fluff who were both in the car,he had just split up from wife and was showing his new piece of fluff around Liverpool centre and people were not pleased,his music lost it's appeal,Macca's mum and dad used to live about a mile away,Lower Heswall not too far from his brother lilly the nasty (pink),yes the Cavern did exist and I was a member, the pretend one is on the other side of Mathew st,the original is now a tunnel ventilation shaft,we danced the Cavern "stomp",ooooh memories,John Lennon airport is a name just for the visitors.

  14. I don't object to Lennon, Macca and the rest making money. They were very good at what they did and they deserved it. It's the hypocrisy of trying to tell the rest of us that possessions are evil that gets me. Geldof and Bono are doing it today - over money - and activists like Franny Armstrong over flights to climate change events. One thing I demand of someone if I am to respect them is consistency, and these people have none.

    Agreed about the airport - purely for the sentimental 'heritage'. What was wrong with Speke?

    Actually, don't answer that.

  15. Richard, they were just songs,they were a way of writing crap poetry nothing else,they made money because people seen something they liked in the music or were told to like what others liked in the music,they hit on a moneymaker, good for them,sadly some nutter seen a lot more in Lennons songs and decided Lennon needed to be on a higher plane and provided a ticket for him.
    Geldof and Bono who are they, never heard of them or listened to the garbage they call music,if people take notice of them,who am I to argue.

  16. I think you're being too negative about the Beatles. When they burst on the scene, they were instantly in a different league (if you look at the bands they were up against, there was really no contest until the Rolling stones). Even my Mum recognised that this was different from mere 'pop' music. I still maintain that some of the Beatles' stuff - Eleanor Rigby and Yesterday come to mind - stand as brilliant songs in any context, and will remain part of the pop canon for many years.

    Anyone who reads the news must be aware of Geldof and Bono, although I can truthfully say that I can only name one song by the former, and I have never consciously listened to anything by the latter.


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