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Saturday, 1 June 2013

Judging John Lennon.

I recently read a book that collected together all the known letters that John Lennon wrote throughout his life.  It included letters to family and friends, business letters, as well as letters to fans.

One of the most obvious things to me from the early letters was that he didn’t seem to be the nicest or warmest person.  Sometimes it was just the way he phrased things, rather than what he said.

You also noticed a more spiritual and peaceful way of thought after he married Yoko and during their life together.

It got me thinking that it is strange how we think we know someone from the music they create and then get a completely different view once we learn a bit more about them. 

I also thought that it is harsh for us to read letters he wrote when an adolescent and still forming his own thoughts on the world and then judge his character on them.  I’m sure if some of our own young letters or thoughts were captured for public consumption we would feel embarrassed or even ashamed at some of our early beliefs.  Yet we find these interesting and judge celebrities and musicians by the things they wrote at all stages of their life. 

In today’s cult of celebrity where some people actively court the media I have little sympathy for those celebrities that get caught out by the things they’ve blogged or tweeted.  But for those musicians in the 60’s or in past years before the internet was invented or even those today who wish to maintain some privacy, it must be hard to live under the public glare of scrutiny when you think you are writing a letter that you believe is for private consumption which then becomes available for everyone to read.

It is strange how we form our beliefs of John Lennon from the letters he wrote throughout his life from a young age until his death, when it is obvious he was growing and developing his world view his entire life (as we all do). 

I find books about music and musicians fascinating as it gives me a deeper insight into their lives and what may have shaped the music I love so much.  But just maybe I should be more selective in what I read and remember that these musician are people who struggle with their own demons and ways of relating to the word as much as the next person.  Or maybe I should even let the music speak for itself and not delve any deeper than that.  It is something I will think more about and I wonder what your own views on this are.

1 comment:

  1. A very interesting blog and set of thoughts. I agree with what you said about judging someone's private letters and those from an early stage in their life. However, I also think that it can also give an interesting perspective on someone who is or was a very creative being. You have to read the letters with these considerations in mind though.