Lennon in his own rite

Paul Kindersley pointed me at Ubucom, an avant-garde site, where I found this amazing film of John Lennon and Yoko Ono and their friends, including Ringo, Allen Ginsberg and many others who had gathered to celebrate John’s birthday on October 9, 1972. This film — made by Jonas Mekas and shot on 16mm — is the only record of the event. We hear a series of improvised songs, sung by John, Ringo, Yoko Ono, and their friends — not in a clean studio recording, but as birthday singing: relaxed, chaotic and happy.

Other sequences included in the film mean that it develops like a contemporary music video: a party for John & Yoko at Klein’s (their agent) on June 12, 1971; August 1972 at Madison Square Garden; the Central Park Vigil on the day John was shot; and some other rare footage of John and Yoko shot on different occasions. The soundtrack also includes John’s comments on his own film-making — the “home movies” he made with 8mm technology. The most catchy song, sung in an improvised manner in the film, is the Attica Blues. The drummer for the last part of the film is Dalius Naujolaitis. Amazing stuff: like a trip in a time machine.

I saw John and Yoko once in the flesh. They came to a wierd hippie event held in the Lady Mitchell Hall in Cambridge in, I think, the Autumn of 1969. The hall was packed, and a good many of those present (though not, I hasten to add, this blogger) were, er, stoned. The old adage — that if you can remember the Sixties then you probably weren’t there — is only true up to a point.

Ah, those were the days! Remind me to tell you sometime about the Boer War.