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And now for something, completely different. . .

I have had to correct myself, some more. I thought yesterday was the 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbour. I discovered I was mistaken. It was the 71st.

But today is the 32nd anniversary of the murder of John Lennon. I used my calculator, very carefully.

“  In New York, it was now just after midnight. The assassin and his victim had each been taken into custody. People were already massing, in an atmosphere of stunned quiet, opposite the big, old, neo-Gothic archway into the Dakota building. Britain, five hours ahead over the time zones, still knew nothing. In Britain, only dozing security guards and pre-dawn travellers heard, via the BBC Overseas Service, an announcement which even the clipped, old-fashioned newsreader’s voice could barely authenticate. John Lennon had been shot outside his New York apartment. John Lennon was dead.
    The shock, when Britain awoke to it, had an eerie quality, as of time cut suddenly from underfoot. It was the dubious achievement of the Seventies to turn sudden, senseless murder into a commonplace, scarcely noticeable event. Yet here was an emotion, vast and simultaneous, felt in one kindred flow of horror by all for whom John Lennon’s music, and the Beatles’, had become a release — a refuge even — from the brutal recent decade. Strangers talked; old friends broke telephone silence to remind themselves when last they had felt at one like this. Not since Kennedy was killed, they said. Not since the murder of Martin Luther King. Not since a day back in 1967, that summer drenched in heat and acid sparkle, when a million heads swam together at the behest of Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”

(From: Shout – The True Story of the Beatles, by Philip Norman)

Yeah.. Yeah, it was kinda like that…  But re-reading it now, 32 years later, I feel somewhat like Gandalf-the-White, returned from death: “Gandalf?… Gandalf?… Yes… yes, that was the name. I was Gandalf…”

How time flies, when you’re having fun… 32 years went by, in the blink of an eye, and let me tell you.. It’s been a wild, wild ride… 

What do I remember in bits and pieces from December, 1980? Well, getting up about 8:00 in the morning, getting my shit together to head off for another wasted day in University, thinking I was accomplishing something.. My heavens, I was naive, even for a 20-year-old.. And my Mom, telling me she’d just heard on the News, that someone had shot John Lennon…

Well, that pretty much trashed my day…

About a week later driving along University Avenue between LeMarchant and Vernon Streets in our beat-off old Volvo with my sister and the flakes of snow were coming down — great big flakes, and heavy, the kind Nova Scotia seemed to specialize in — and listening to CBC — Only decent AM station in the city, I’d discovered 6 years earlier… And what should be on.. But the last interview John ever gave, with Yoko…

And he sounded… So happy…

“Well yeah, who wouldn’t be with that kind of money!” I imagine my Dad would have snorted — Lennon left an estate of $250,000,000 I read somewhere. Not bad, especially when you’re having fun doing it — and, true enough.. But this was a different kind of happy.

The sort of happiness of spiritual contentment.. The kind you have where money’s neither here nor there.. which in fact, money can’t begin to buy.

All gone in an instant. Mark David Chapman apparently emptied his revolver.. Or maybe it was just a couple of shots, who cares?

And then sat down on the curb, pulled out a copy of The Catcher in the Rye and read it until the police came.

So I read somewhere.

Another handgun. Another nut, acting on his own. It was always some nut, acting on his own.

Lennon had just released his latest album, Double Fantasy.. it hadn’t attracted much attention on its release November 17.. December 8, and sales shot through the roof.. of course I bought one..

“Man.. what a piece of shit!” said my friend Ronald.

And so it seemed to me also, after having listened to I think one side of it, and giving it to him for his Olympian Pronouncement at the age of 19.

Now tho’? I’m not so sure.. It’s no masterpiece like Sgt. Peppers.. But what does ring through, loud and clear, was the contentment — a peace of mind that.. not too many of us ever manage to achieve..


Posted December 8, 2012 by Capt. Roy Harkness in Uncategorized

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