Tittenhurst Park

This Tittenhurst Park blog is dedicated to John Lennon's home in Sunningdale, near Ascot, Berkshire between 1969 and 1971. The aim is to gather as much material relating to the estate as possible - obviously with the emphasis on the Lennon-era, but also concerning Tittenhurst Park as it was before and after John Lennon's ownership. In addition, there will be posts about and associated with the Beatles, plus any other rubbish I feel like. The blog is purely meant for the entertainment of anyone (assuming there is actually anyone) who, like me, has an unhealthy interest in one particular Georgian mansion. Those with anything interesting to contribute in the way of links, photos, scans, stories etc. please do contact me: tittenhurstlennon@gmail.com
(Legal: this blog is strictly non-commercial. All material is the property of the photographer/artist/copyright holder concerned. Any such who wishes a picture etc to be removed should contact me and I will do so. Alternatively, if someone is happy to see their photo on here, but would like a credit/link then let me know and I'll be happy to provide one).


John Lennon Remembers - Jann Wenner Interview Part 4

How did you meet Yoko?
There was a sort of underground clique in London; John Dunbar, who was married to Marianne Faithfull, had an art gallery in London called Indica, and I'd been going around to galleries a bit on me off days in between records, also to a few exhibitions in different galleries that showed sort of unknown artists or underground artists. I got the word that this amazing woman was putting on a show the next week, something about people in bags, in black bags, and it was going to be a bit of a happening and all that. So I went to a preview the night before it opened. I went in - she didn't know who I was or anything - and I was wandering around. There were a couple of artsy-type students who had been helping, lying around there in the gallery, and I was looking at it and was astounded. There was an apple on sale there for two hundred quid; I thought it was fantastic - I got the humor in her work immediately. I didn't have to have much knowledge about avant-garde or underground art, the humor got me straightaway. It was two hundred quid to watch the fresh apple decompose. But it was another piece that really decided me for or against the artist: a ladder that led to a painting, which was hung on the ceiling. It looked like a black canvas with a chain with a spyglass hanging on the end of it. I climbed the ladder, looked through the spyglass, and in tiny little letters it said, YES. So it was positive. I felt relieved. It's a great relief when you get up the ladder and you look through the spyglass and it doesn't say NO or FUCK YOU or something. I was very impressed. John Dunbar introduced us - neither of us knew who the hell each other was. She didn't know who I was; she'd only heard of Ringo; I think it means apple in Japanese. And Dunbar had sort of been hustling her, saying, "That's a good patron; you must go and talk to him or do something." Dunbar insisted she say hello to the millionaire - you know what I mean. And she came up and handed me a card that said BREATHE on it - one of her instructions - so I just went [pants]. This was our meeting. The second time I met her was at a gallery opening of Claes Oldenburg in London. We were very shy; we sort of nodded at each other - she was standing behind me. I sort of looked away because I'm very shy with people, especially chicks. We just sort of smiled and stood frozen together in this cocktail-party thing. The next thing was, she came to me to get some backing - like all the bastard underground do - for a show she was going. She gave me her Grapefruit book. I used to read it, and sometimes I'd get very annoyed by it; it would say thing like "paint until you drop dead" or "bleed." Then sometimes I'd be very enlightened by it. I went through all the changes that people go through with her work - sometimes I'd have it by the bed and I'd open it and it would say something nice and it would be all right, and then it would say something heavy and I wouldn't like it. So I gave her the money to back her show. For this whole thing, everything was in half: There was half a bed, half a room, half of everything, all beautifully cut in half and all painted white. And I said to her, "Why don't you sell the other half in bottles?" having caught on by then to what the game was. And she did that - this is still before we'd had any nuptials - and we still have the bottles from the show; it's my first. It was presented as "Yoko Plus Me" - that was our first public appearance. I didn't even go to see the show; I was too uptight.
When did you realize that you were in love with her?
It was beginning to happen; I would start looking at her book, but I wasn't quite aware what was happening to me. Then she did a thing called Dance Event, where different cards kept coming through the door every day saying BREATHE and DANCE and WATCH ALL THE LIGHTS UNTIL DAWN, and they upset me or made me happy, depending. I'd get very upset about it being intellectual or all fucking avant-garde, then I'd like it, and then I wouldn't. Then I went to India with the Maharoonie and we corresponded. The letters were still formal, but they just had a little side to them. I nearly took her to India, but I still wasn't sure for what reason; I was still sort of kidding myself, with sort of artistic reasons and all that. When we got back from India, we were talking to each other on the phone. I called her over; it was the middle of the night and Cynthia [Lennon's first wife] was away, and I thought, well, now's the time if I'm gonna get to know her any more. She came to the house and I didn't know what to do, so we went upstairs to my studio and I played her all the tapes that I'd made, all this far-out stuff, some comedy stuff, and some electronic music. She was suitably impressed, and then she said, "Well, let's make one ourselves." So we made Two Virgins. It was midnight when we started; it was dawn when we finished, and then we made love at dawn. It was very beautiful.
What was it like getting married?
It was very romantic. It's all in the song "The Ballad of John and Yoko," if you want to know how it happened. Gibraltar was like a little sunny dream. I couldn't find a white suit - I had sort of off-white corduroy trousers and a white jacket. Yoko had all white on.
What was your first peace event?
The first peace event was the Amsterdam Bed Peace, after we got married.
What was that like? That was your first re-exposure to the public.
It was a nice high. We were in the Hilton, looking over Amsterdam - it was very crazy; the press came, expecting to see us fuckin' in bed. They'd all heard John and Yoko were going to fuck in front of the press for peace. So when they all walked in - about fifty or sixty reporters flew over from London, all sort of very edgy, we were just sitting in pajamas saying, "Peace, brother." That was it.
There was a point at which you decided you and Yoko would give up your private life.
No, we never decided to give up our private life. We decided that if we were going to do anything like get married, or like this film we are going to make now, that we would dedicate it to peace. And during that period, because we are what we are, it evolved that somehow we ended up being responsible to produce peace.
Why can't you be alone without Yoko?
I can be, but I don't wish to be. There is no reason on earth why I should be without her. There is nothing more important than our relationship, nothing. And we dig being together all the time. And both of us could survive apart, but what for? I'm not going to sacrifice love, real love, for any fuckin' whore, or any friend, or any business because, in the end, you're alone at night. Neither of us wants to be, and you can't fill the bed with groupies; that doesn't work. I don't want to be a swinger. Like I said in the song, I've been through it all, and nothing works better than to have somebody you love hold you.
What about Yoko's art?
We are both showing each other's experience to each other. I had to open up to hear it - I had to get out the concept of what I wanted to hear . . . I had to allow abstract art or music in. She had to do the same for rock & roll. It was an intellectual exercise, because we're all boxed in. We are all in little boxes, and somebody has to go in and rip your fuckin' head open for you to allow something else in.
What is holding people back from understanding Yoko?
She was doing all right before she met Elvis. Howard Smith announced he was going to play her music on FM and all these idiots rang up and said, "Don't you dare play it, she split the Beatles." She didn't spit the Beatles and even if she did, what does that have to do with it or her fucking record? She is a woman and she's Japanese; there is racial prejudice against her and there is female prejudice against her. It's as simple as that. Her work is far out. Yoko's bottom thing is as important as Sgt. Pepper. The real hip people know about it. There are a few people who know; there is a person in Paris who knows about her; a person in Moscow knows about her; there's a person in fucking China that knows about her. But in general, she can't be accepted, because she's too far out. It's hard to take. Her pain is such that she expresses herself in a way that hurts you - you cannot take it. That's why they couldn't take Van Gogh, it's too real, it hurts; that's why they kill you.

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