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).


Oh! Calcutta!

Oh! Calcutta!

1972 also saw the release of the film version of Oh Calcutta, Kenneth Tynan's controversial and irreverent sex revue, which contained full frontal nudity and four-letter words. The movie was 100 minutes long and was directed by Jacques Levy. John had originally written a sketch for the 1969 stage version of the show at the invitation of Tynan, and this was included in the film. His sketch "Four in hand" concerned group masturbation and was based on Lennon's own teenage experiences. Tynan decided not to follow John's suggestion that the actors should actually masturbate on stage!
This notorious stage play by Kenneth Tynan featured full-frontal nudity by both sexes and sexually explicit dialogue. Tynan, who was born in 1927, was one of Britain’s most influential theatre critics and at one time was the literary manager of the National Theatre. His name became associated with controversy in the sixties when he became the first person ever to use the word “fuck” live on British television. Tynan died in 1980.

Oh! Calcutta! proved just as shocking to the public, who considered it another example of the permissive sixties. Tynan asked a number of celebrities, including John Lennon, to contribute a small sketch to the play. John wrote a skit about masturbation, based on a time in his boyhood when he would masturbate in the company of friends, during which they’d call out the name of movie actresses.

Pete Shotton also mentions the group masturbation in his book, John Lennon In My Life:

“During our first year at Quarry Bank, John and I got into the habit of tossing off in the bushes on the way home from school. We also enlisted our entire gang in a few mutual masturbation sessions, giving us all the opportunity to compare sizes and shapes. Lest any reader get the wrong impression, our fantasies, at least, were strictly heterosexual. ‘Right, boys,’ someone would venture. ‘Who should we do it to today?’ Whereupon we’d all take turns calling out the names of well-known sex goddesses, each name spurring us on to new heights of ecstasy as we furiously pommeled our hard-ons. John’s choice was almost invariably Brigitte Bardot, except on one memorable occasion when he shouted out ‘Winston Churchill,’ instantly sending us into a fit of hysterics, which in turn rather deflated the proceedings.”
Oh! Calcutta! premiered at the Eden Theatre in New York City on June 17, 1969, after thirty-nine preview performances. It began to run as revival productions in 1974 and is still performed today, making it one of the longest running plays in the history of the theatre. Still considered controversial for its nudity over thirty years after its debut in the late sixties, Oh! Calcutta! serves as a reminder of just how far the creative artists of that time were pushing the envelope in regard to morality and pervading cultural values.

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